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  • Writer's pictureErin Bailey Lake

Reading this article will improve your presentation skills by 13 percent!

An absurd claim? Of course it is. I can’t prove it. And you can’t measure it.

Yet we’re bombarded daily by equally outlandish claims from every corner of the marketing universe:

  • Save 15% on your life insurance.

  • Gets your whites 3x whiter.

  • 15% less sugar than the leading brand.

Using data in a confusing way can compromise your presentation. Using data to intentionally mislead can backfire. To support a claim, or drive home a benefit, make your data relevant and easy to understand.

Example: Personal computer marketers used to routinely say stuff like:

5x faster processing and up to 50bps download speeds.

Then along came Steve Jobs and the introduction of the iPod. His data explanation consisted of one simple line: “1,000 songs in your pocket.”

Jobs understood that most consumers couldn’t relate to 2gb of RAM or a 4.0 GHz processor. So he found a way to present data in a way the user could grasp. So can you! Example: “Download The Irishman in under two minutes.”

But, what if your BUSINESS presentation is data intensive – with a series of graphs and charts? Here’s how to help your audience understand a visual with complex data:

  1. First, explain the chart itself: the x-axis represents the number of procedures. The y-axis represents the success rate.

  2. Second, explain what it says: For the past three years, we have doubled the number of procedures vs the previous year. But the success rate has stayed constant at 92 percent. 

  3. Third, explain what the chart means: This data suggests that we can continue to perform substantially more procedures without compromising patient outcomes.

I’ll close with my own personal example: nine out of 10 audience members are persuaded NOT by what you say, but HOW you say it.  Even the best content demands powerful delivery, if you want to convince your audience to act or think differently.  

Back to my headline…I can’t actually promise that you’ll be 13 percent better. But I can promise you’ll be more confident – and more effective. Plus, you’ll be loved and adored by your audience and praised by your boss…most of the time. 

So if you want to be loved or promoted or paid more, let’s work on your presentation skills. Contact us at

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