Free resource guide: A data presentation in six acts

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Data analytics is iterative like the sky is blue… what does that actually mean?

I get the sense from many new analysts that they’ve spent a decent amount of time looking through the data and trying different things, and they get that things aren’t linear, but they still want some endpoint to work toward to gain traction.

In particular, they’re hoping to product some audience-ready asset like a notebook or slide deck to share with employers, but don’t know how to construct it.

To help there, I’ve put together the following resource guide, explaining a “data presentation in six acts.” This formula could work in either written or verbal communication and is most suitable to descriptive and diagnostic analytics.

The six steps, respectively, are:

  1. Introduction
  2. Hypotheses
  3. Data
  4. Methods
  5. Results
  6. Discussion/Recommendations
  7. Bonus! Appendix

Some takeaways from the guide:

  • Methods are not stories. It’s typical for analysts to go way to deep into the tactics of their data work and not the strategy of how it relates to the business. The ins and outs of data wrangling and data methods are important stuff (and great to keep in an appendix), but that doesn’t mean they make it to the presentation for the same reason the untold hours of footage doesn’t all make it into a movie.

    Keep the focus on what the audience needs to know so they can do what comes next, rather than all the methods you took to get to that knowledge.

  • Hook the reader. I know this is data, but there’s still got to be some human interest (because I’m guessing your audience is human). Learn the rules not of storytelling with data, but just plain storytelling (and Pixar has some good ones). Crack an unsolved mystery; bust myths; slay urban legends. Yes, that can all be done with data.

    Dive into the audience’s world, then pull apart at something they’ve taken for granted to be true — and explain what happens if it’s not.

  • Don’t ditch a step. The nice thing about this framework is that each step builds off the last. Data analysis is tricky business; think how lost you got at times doing the work. You want to walk the audience through the process without boring them.

Ready to dominate your next presentation in six acts? I hope this guide helps you “begin with the end in mind” on your analysis and gets you unstuck from data exploration ad infinitum.

Download the resource guide here 👇

If you are already subscribed to the newsletter… you can find this download in the white-papers subfolder of the resource library.

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Thanks for reading and be sure to peruse the other great content on the blog and in my resource library.

If you want to learn more about data exploration, confirmation and communication, check out my book Advancing into Analytics: From Excel to Python and R. More information about the book including how to read for free is available here.

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