This is a guest post by Dot Lyon.
Many presenters recite numbers in their speeches to convey important information and emphasize their points. A few facts sprinkled throughout the presentation can add perspective and inspiration. However, large amounts of data and statistics become hard to visualize for the audience. When facts are recited one after the other, the relationship between the numbers becomes harder to follow and all the data blends together. Soon the audience is confused, and the presenter’s message is lost.
Traditionally, presenters who want to boost audience comprehension include PowerPoint images and other props in their presentations. Their graphs, charts and photos work OK, but humans think in moving pictures. Our minds translate words into mental animated videos. To mimic our ways of thinking, there are now state-of-the-art tools that can create interactive graphics. Presenters can move data points and icons to more effectively demonstrate trends and make the data come alive.
Hans Rosling, a medical doctor, statistician and public speaker, co-founded the Gapminder Foundation which developed the Trendalyzer software system. With this data tool, Rosling translates development statistics about populations, economics and health into animated graphs and charts with interactive capabilities. His interesting visuals and delivery make potentially confusing information much easier to understand. Google acquired Trendalyzer in 2007 and two years later made the software available through Public Data Explorer.
Take 10 minutes to watch Hans Rosling in action:
Observe how he engages his audiences with moving graphics, casual props, effective photos and heart-warming stories. His charismatic delivery captures the audience and transforms boring data into meaningful messages.
How do you plan on incorporating some of Hans Rosling’s techniques into your next presentation?
About the author: Dot Lyon is a freelance writer for organizations including Briefings Media Group. She previously wrote and edited for the Center for Chemistry Education at Miami University.