When displaying data in a presentation, clarity matters above all else. Your audience has to get meaning from your numbers before you click away. This means you need to pick the right chart for the job. The most common charts in business are pies, bars, matrixes, and line graphs, which will serve different purposes depending on the data:
• Use a line graph instead of a bar chart if the shape of the line will draw attention to your most important point.
• Use a matrix instead of multiple pie charts if you want to show relationships between the data points.
• Call out a number. Sometimes the best chart is no chart at all. If a certain figure conveys your key message most clearly on its own, show just that number — huge — on the slide.
Today’s Management Tip was adapted from the HBR Guide to Persuasive Presentations.