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Help People Understand Your Data by Making It Relatable

 

Here is another valuable Management Tip of the Day from Harvard Business Review. To sign up for a free subscription to any/all HBR newsletters, please click here.

People can’t use data to make decisions if they don’t understand what the numbers mean. To help colleagues wrap their heads around a data point — how big or tiny it is, how important it should seem — compare it with something concrete and relatable.

o When you’re talking about lengths of time, frame your data in terms of flights between cities, TV episodes, or how long it takes to microwave a bag of popcorn — whatever your audience will know.

o When you’re talking about size, use places and things that are familiar to listeners. For instance, if you were trying to show a San Francisco audience what 1 million users really looks like, you might mention the San Francisco Giants baseball field, which has 41,915 seats: “Our users would fill the stadium almost 24 times.”

Articulating figures this way can keep the narrative from getting lost in the numbers.

This tip is adapted from 3 Ways to Help People Understand What Your Data Means,” by Nancy Duarte

Here’s a direct link to dozens of other Management Tips.

 

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