PowerPoint for data science is similar to PowerPoint for consultants. Complicated ideas need to be simplified on the slide. There are lots of ways to do this if you follow the three techniques in this PowerPoint tutorial for data science below.
Descriptive Slide Titles
One of the best ways to simplify the message is to use descriptive slide titles.
Descriptive slide titles are the easiest and biggest impact thing to change if you want to improve at PowerPoint. No more titles like “status update”, instead use titles that say the main message you are trying to get across.
Imagine this scenario: you are presenting current quarter performance with a senior exec and you have two slide title choices. One says “Status update, Q1 2019” and the other says “Product 1 sales lagged expectations due to competitive pressure.”
Which one do you think she remembers the key conclusion from? Which one of those is more likely to be mis-interpreted? Which of those stands on its own when that executive gives their copy to other executives when they ask about product one sales?
That is why it is so important to switch to descriptive titles. It makes sure your message is not mis-interpreted and allows your slides to stand on their own when you are not in the room presenting them.
PowerPoint Structure – The Pyramid Principle
After you have embraced descriptive titles on your slides, you need to ensure there is a structure to your presentation. There are several different ways to structure a PowerPoint presentation, but if you are trying to convince someone with data you are best off with the pyramid principle.
The pyramid can feel rather robotic; state the conclusion, give the supporting points and evidence for those points, and then repeat the conclusion. Not that different from how you learned to write essays in middle school, is it?
Well, like the saying goes, “if it aint broke, don’t fix it.” Utilizing the pyramid principle has been tested over and over again and is the most effective at convincing others.
A PowerPoint without structure feels like arguing with a 4 year old. Have you ever argued with a four year old? Not exactly the way you want to come across to a senior exec or client, is it?
If you are worried about the trade-off between sounding like a robot vs a four year old…choose the robot. It is way easier to smooth the edges of something overly structured than it is to add structure to rambling.
Graphs And Charts That Don’t Suck
When using data in PowerPoint, a quality graph is paramount to properly making your case. Yet I do not see many people who understand how to do it well.
All the time I get requests from co-workers and colleagues to “make this pretty” but instead I’d rather teach you how to do it. Here is my list:
1. Use descriptive titles on the graph also (see my video on slide descriptive titles for more info)
2. Use the appropriate type of graph
3. Use relevant colors to your advantage…the stock PPT color scheme sucks. If you are not changing them, you are wrong.
4. Label your axes and usually your data too
5. Get rid of gridlines if your data is labeled
6. Outline any bars to make them stand out