Our world revolves around data. In our daily lives, we’re constantly creating and absorbing data. In the workspace, big data rules decisions. From marketing campaigns to customer retention, we turn to data to make decisions and report to our bosses, coworkers, and clients. Unfortunately, reporting is a thorn in the side of thousands of marketers, finance professionals, and salespeople alike.
Unfortunately, big data is often hard for people to understand. The human brain can only consume so much information- and everyone’s threshold for data consumption is different. To conquer this challenge, smart professionals use data visualization to help communicate their ideas. Creative data visualization tells a story to the reader that helps them draw conclusions to make actionable decisions.
Where to Use Data Visualization
To see how this can impact your career and reporting process, here are a few examples of how you can leverage data visualization.
- In finance meetings to show new sales, overall revenue, month over month growth, and much more.
- In marketing campaigns to display results to clients.
- In board meetings to tell the story of employee growth.
- To show the results of a change made on the website.
- The amount of sales calls your team is taking
These are just a few examples. In fact, you can create a visualization for nearly everything- even outside of the reporting realm. You may choose to use data visualization in the form of videos, animations, or slide shows to illustrate a course of events to upper management.
The Importance of Having Clear Visuals
The human brain takes in what it sees faster than what it hears. If you have ever played brain games, a common game features a color written in another color. For example, a card made to have the word ‘yellow’ in blue writing. Until the brain is trained to do otherwise, the first detail it absorbs about the card is the color blue. If your data visualizations are not clear and concise, you’re going to do more harm then good.
When taking your data sets to the visualization process, make sure that you are optimizing your visuals to display the data clearly- rather than simply displaying it. For example, using a column chart probably isn’t a good idea when you have a ton of different variables to label and display. In that case, you may be better off with a stacked bar chart.
Conclusion: Say it With Charts
Instead of asking those around you to absorb dozens of excel sheets, think about where you can leverage visuals and still get the same conclusion across. For an accountant, this may be using a line graph to show the revenue trend line. For marketers, this may be a bar graph that displays the success of different marketing channels.
By using visuals to communicate key information, you will be able to prove your efforts to executives and clients alike. More importantly, it will be easier for you to communicate details with people on a larger