Stephanie Evergreen, Speaker, Designer, Researcher

Scaling Up Serivices - Stephanie Evergreen

Stephanie Evergreen, Speaker, Designer, Researcher

Dr. Stephanie Evergreen is an internationally-recognized speaker, designer, and researcher. She is best known for bringing a research-based approach to helping researchers better communicate their work through more effective graphs, slides, and reports. A Fulbright scholar, she holds a PhD from Western Michigan University in interdisciplinary evaluation, which included a dissertation on the extent of graphic design use in written research reporting. Dr. Evergreen has trained researchers worldwide through keynote presentations and workshops, for clients including Mastercard, Verizon, Head Start, American Institutes for Research, Rockefeller Foundation, Brookings Institute, and the United Nations. She is the 2015 recipient of the American Evaluation Association’s Guttentag award, given for notable accomplishments early in a career and the 2017 recipient of the Myrdal award for impacts on practice. Dr. Evergreen is co-editor and co-author of two issues of New Directions for Evaluation on data visualization. She writes a popular blog on data presentation at Her two books on designing high-impact graphs, slideshows, and reports both hit #1 on Amazon bestseller lists weeks before they were even released. This Spring Dr. Evergreen is publishing the second edition of one of those bestsellers and a brand new sketchbook with templates for making infographics and dashboards.


[00:00:01] You're listening to Scaling Up Services where we speak with entrepreneurs authors business experts and thought leaders to give you the knowledge and insights you need to scale your service based business faster and easier. And now here is your host Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt.

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[00:00:57] Welcome, everyone. This is Scaling Up Services. I'm Bruce Eckfeldt. I'm your host. And our guest today is Stephanie Evergreen. And she is a recognized speaker, designer and researcher. She's also a Ph.D. So she technically is Dr. Stephanie Evergreen. But we're gonna talk a little bit about her background in that. She's also an author, so she's written two books, effective data visualization and presenting data effectively.

[00:01:18] And I'm excited to vote for this because I think that so much of business in general, but certainly service based businesses, when we're communicating with people, communicating with staff, with clients, with prospects, is about how do we visually represent the ideas and the data representing. So I'm excited about this. I think we're going to learn a lot and it's going to be a fun conversation, a topic that I love. So with that, Stephanie, welcome to the program.

[00:01:40] Thanks for having me here. So why don't we talk a little bit about your background first, just kind of give a give everyone a sense of how you got into this space of data visualization. What was a professional background?

[00:01:51] And then we'll talk a little bit about the work you're doing.

[00:01:54] Sure. So I started out at the university as a data nerd doing research projects full time with people. We were running lots of surveys, you know, just being really good at collecting data, analyzing data. And then we would write really, really boring reports. I mean, like like I was bored writing it and I was the one most invested in it. So I just knew like, this is gonna suck. So. So I started playing around like I started like making my pie charts 3D, right? Like, Oh, I'm going to get this really jazzy and spice it up. And and then I thought I was having more fun, but I was really only making things worse. So anyway, I came. It came time for me to have to do a dissertation and I didn't know what I was going to study. So I went to a conference. And this is probably a lot of people do when they're going to a conference, you look at the program ahead of time and you circle all these interesting sessions.

[00:02:51] I was like, oh, I'm gonna find my passion. And I would go to these sessions. And I was so incredibly bored. I just couldn't even force myself, like with toothpicks in my cups of coffee.

[00:03:03] Right.

[00:03:04] And I realized it's because of the way people present this stuff.

[00:03:08] It's like all these bullet points and no one can pay attention even when you want to. You can't pay attention to all these bullet points. So I decided that was going to be my dissertation time. Tyler, I like how we can present this stuff. And that's when you get the opportunity to become like the smartest person in the room on a topic. So anyway, I really fell in love with it then and started talking about those ideas, the stuff I was finding in the research and everything took off from there.

[00:03:31] Yeah. So. So you brought up, I think, the phrase that everyone loves the use of the bullet point, the infamous presentation bullet point.

[00:03:38] So guess what? When we think about I guess let's kind of put a scope around this or figure out what we're talking about is this.

[00:03:45] I'm standing in front of a group with a projecting big projection. And, you know, this is what is on that screen or where do you kind of what is the area that you focus on? Are you the area that you think that we really need to think about when we talk about visualization of data and visualization of these ideas?

[00:04:01] It's all of the above. I think it matters more in big presentation rooms than we're in small presentation rooms, just having a meeting with people. It's really it's so funny to me that if we're having a meeting with three people, why we got to have slides like why doesn't bother. Just just talk.

[00:04:16] Just talk to draw it. I love I love it when people are good at making it. Take a blank whiteboard and they say, okay, here's what I'm talking about. And they can actually start drawing the things they're talking about. That's powerful for me.

[00:04:25] Yeah, totally. And it matters like me. We see the same principles apply. If it's a newspaper article or a long reporter or something you're reading on your phone, you know, the same good best practices apply everywhere.

[00:04:36] Yeah. So let's talk about some of the best practices and then we can kind of talk about the different, you know, when they manifest themselves in different contexts and how they get adjusted and stuff. But what do you think or or what do you see as being the important things we need to keep in mind when we're engaged? We're trying to figure out how to represent these things or visualize these.

[00:04:53] Sure. You know, it's interesting to me because I got here because of my interest in the visual. But what I have found in all of my work is that everything hinges on our message. So it's really about the the words that we use and the visuals follow whatever the words are that we decide are important. And so I always make people start with your point.

[00:05:16] What is your point? What are you trying to say? And just just say it.

[00:05:21] Point like in a way that your grandma would understand what do about it, and I think that's ridiculously hard for people to do sometimes because the more you know about something, the harder it is to say in a plain language kind of way. You know what, I can so we wrap our lives up in like all these internal jargon and acronyms and stuff like that, and we kind of bury the lead.

[00:05:44] Did I choose this?

[00:05:45] I mean, I guess this is sort of the fundamental problem at some level is that we're often using visualization to try to avoid the fact that we haven't quite figured out what we're trying to say.

[00:05:54] This happens a lot. Actually, that's the hard work, right?

[00:05:57] When I when I talk about this with people, they're like, oh, so we actually have to spend more time understanding our data. And I'm like, yeah. That's why you're employed is still like, I understand your data, other people, the insights that you have discovered in it. So, yeah, it is it's hard work, but that's really why we have the job is to do that hard work. Yeah.

[00:06:19] So you're gonna rule. Rule number one is really make sure you understand your data and figure out what is it you really want to say. What are what are your insights?

[00:06:26] I think it's another one, too.

[00:06:27] Is that I guess, how much do you feel that people end up sort of presenting just sort of representing raw data vs. actually doing some kind of analysis and takeaway saying, OK, well, see, here's the trend and here are the three correlations. But okay. What does that tell me like. Yes. Is that. I certainly see that.

[00:06:45] So I'm curious in your research, if you've if you've seen that being a problem, definitely sell where we're just going to show the data. And I think that the whole motivation to just show the data comes from a couple of different things. First of all, that's how you're taught in academia. You're taught you need to just show the data and that your audience is going to look at it and analyze it in their heads and come up with their own insights. And that if you tell them insights, you're somehow biasing them, you know. So but it's ridiculous to think that in the real world, when you're talking to your CEO, she's gonna want to study in your spreadsheet that you paste onto your side and somehow like figure out the point that's not happening.

[00:07:19] Well, in fact, it's almost that's I mean, one of the reasons you have, you know, sort of CEO surround themselves with people who are incredibly smart and these are some areas is to actually do the analysis, get it done. I got to looked at the data like I need your insight to actually come up with a conclusion. What does this mean exactly?

[00:07:36] And I think the other piece of it, too, is a little tiny bit of imposter syndrome. Yeah. Like if we don't show people how smart we are, all the analysis that we ran and all the correlations and stuff that they won't believe us. Yeah. And I think that we have to remind ourselves that that's why we got the job in the first place is because they already believe that we're smart, like we have passed that test. Now we can just stop trying to prove ourselves and just do our jobs well and tell people what we know.

[00:07:59] This year, I'm just curious on that one and this may be a little off topic for you, but I think you mentioned sort of the imposter syndrome.

[00:08:05] I think the other one is I certainly see a lot is when presenting an idea or presenting a prediction or anything that's kind of future based or risk based is there's often this feeling that I have to say, all right, well, it's 32 as opposed to saying, well, look, you know, best case scenario or most likely scenario is 32. But, you know, based on the uncertainty here, we could be anywhere from twenty eight to 36. And this is my kind of confidence interval. I do exercises with folks where we do this confidence interval. And I always say, look, any any future or predictive piece of a statement or data needs to come with this second part of it, which is what? How confident am I of that? And I think a lot of times people get caught up in what they've got to show the data, because I don't want to, but I want to have. That's a more complicated discussion of what are the ranges and what are the possibility. And we have uncertainty. But let's quantify the uncertainty so we can have a meaningful discussion of our planning around it. I think that's one that comes up a lot for me. I don't know if you see that.

[00:09:01] Absolutely. Yeah. And the more academic, the smarter the people are that I work with, the more they feel like they've got to have all these error bars and confidence intervals and stuff. But we have research that shows when we present that sort of data to the public, who's not that not that data savvy, they just feel stupid because they don't know how to interpret it. And making your boss feel stupid is not going to get you a promotion. Right. So I think, as I always say, it's okay to talk about that stuff. If you can say in a plain language, if you can say something like this is the future, we can't be precise, but we feel like we're going to be somewhere in this range. You're going to be fine as long as you can word it like that. I think it's going to be OK.

[00:09:36] Interesting. So let's talk about the actual what we put when we create visuals.

[00:09:40] What do we think about when we create visuals? What do we what do we want to do? What do we we don't want to do? What have you seen that's that are good for a good best practices and strategies for that?

[00:09:48] Yeah. So let me tell you the story. So I was in Orlando doing a workshop with the Fortune 500. They had gathered there like rising leadership, the management stars, high potential, high potential team because they were gathering in this conference center for a weeklong training and we were just like one day of it. So I go in to set up in the CFO is already there in the room. I thought I was in the wrong place because they had started to like 7:00 a.m. with their with their workshopping and the CEO was there. So I got to witness this really incredible conversation where he was sort of like. Setting the stage for the day for the workshop that we were about to do. And he said what I want to see from you in our decision making meetings and our weekly operational review meetings. I want to see your side that says your claim, like your insight, whatever. And then the visual evidence that supports that claim. And I was like, that's gold right there. That is what every boss wants to see every time we're presenting something, even if it's just like a figure that's in a newspaper column that someone's reading on The Wall Street Journal. What they want to see is the insight and the visual evidence that supports that insight. It's such a simple formula. But we feel like we've got to wrap it all up in a bunch of bullet points that are hard to read and all kinds of extra stuff that's unnecessary when really the visual needs to stand on its own. So we need to have like a full sentence at the top there that frames the interpretation and then the evidence that supports it.

[00:11:09] Yeah. And what's your thought in terms of I mean, I certainly struggle with this and I see a lot of folks struggle with this as this well.

[00:11:15] Is this a tool that I'm using to present? Is this a tool I'm using to present or is this a standalone piece that's gonna get e-mailed around?

[00:11:23] And we create two different versions, you know, one where it's more just visual and I'm talking through the points and another one where we put the points on the slide and somehow or in the notes or something.

[00:11:33] What what's your. Should there be one thing that everyone's using? Do you split it? If you're presenting it versus if it's standalone, what's your strategy?

[00:11:41] Yeah, I think there are a couple of different solutions to those. But I see this this happens so often where we're trying to get like a PowerPoint to do double duty. It's supposed to be this read a lot, read long that happens before or more likely after. And it's supposed to be the presentation that we show in the room on a slide on a screen that's like 40 feedback. Right. And everybody loses when that's the case because in the presentation room, they're they're reading. And when we write on slides, it's so weird. We collectively have adopted this very weird bullet point language where like, you know, when you're ready for a bullet point, it's never a full sentence.

[00:12:14] It's not user friendly. It's not you drop a phrase and phrase or something like that. Yeah.

[00:12:20] And no one can make sense of that later. Right. So when they're reading it before or after, they can't make sense of it. Plus it's like in front of their face font size like 20s, ridiculously uncomfortable for reading later and then it's on the site. It's too small. And it's like they're reading while you're presenting it. So it's a lose lose situation to do that, right?

[00:12:38] I call it that. I call that the futon problem to so my comfortable bed and a somewhere comfortable. But it really doesn't work very well for either. So I love that. I want to quote you, I.

[00:12:50] So I encourage people to let slides be slides. That's what they're built for. They're built to be our visual support. And that's what people really want later is the more helpful, condensed, concise handout.

[00:13:01] So how do you do the handout? What do you do? Is it the slide with copy? Do you create new slides?

[00:13:05] What do you do? I mean, I make my PowerPoint honestly, because it's just I know how to use it really well. But I'll just put it in my main points as full sentences. And it's just like, you know, narrative on a one pager like one page and back at most. That's what is gonna be helpful for people later and more readable. It's more friendly. Another strategy that I have used, I mean, sometimes people are just like, no, they're gonna demand the slides. So I'll encourage people to use the notes, but not with which type down. There can't be the notes for you as the presenter needs to be like the actual wording you want your audience to read. Yeah. And then we can go in and format the notes pages like all of that stuff can be laid out and and designed beautifully so that it's engaging and then it looks like a nice sexy handout. In addition to being awesome slides. Yeah.

[00:13:56] The other one I do now, I started doing more this last year is I'll I'll do a quick screen video of me giving the PowerPoint or me going to walk talking through the slides that I'll include as well. So I like that even if they don't, even if I have to kind of send it out, they also have me kind of walking through it. Now I don't have the interaction with them as much, but I can usually go through.

[00:14:17] I mean, I can, you know, say in our presentation that I'm going to do in-person. I can walk through in a screen video in 10 minutes, more or less. I mean, it's it's sort of speeded up. And I hit the main points, but at least they have something some some me talking over the slides rather than just them trying to figure out, well, what would he be saying at this point?

[00:14:36] Yeah, I love that idea. Yeah. Talk to me about the slides themselves when we're thinking about kind of what we actually put on a slide and how.

[00:14:44] Like are there kind of dos and don'ts in terms of actually visualizing these?

[00:14:49] I don't know if this is tough enough in an audio only part, but what you see on the screen.

[00:14:54] But give us some rules or give us some ideas, things to think about as we're actually constructing some of these slides.

[00:14:58] Yes. So I think probably the first universal rule is no 3D. It's hard to have many universal rules because, you know, you can always imagine a situation where something would be applicable. But I think no 3D is pretty much the one that will apply everywhere. Because people have a hard time interpreting it in the first place. Like we had the research that shows people's brains just can't process volume very mild. It can't compare volume. But in addition to that, like it's actually distorts the data. If you make a 3D graph in like, let's say, Microsoft Excel, it'll look like the data is a different quantity than it actually is like it. It almost is an unethical way of showing your data. So no 3D ever. Another good rule to keep in mind is one point per slide. One point at a time because people get overloaded really quickly. Our brains really can't process a whole lot of working pieces at one time. So we got to break it down for people and kind of spoon feed our information to them one bit at a time. And that freaks people out because they're like, well, then I'm gonna have a hundred sides. And I'm like, so what? No one's gonna care if you have a lot of size. The only time people care that you have a lot of sides is if they're all boring bullet points, then they're like. Then they look at this slide number at the bottom and they're like, oh, my God, we're on 10 out of 100. This is going to be painful. But if they're gorgeous and they're engaging and you're walking people through everything, then they don't really care how many there are. It's not extra time talking. It's just more clicking to your slide to the next one.

[00:16:26] Yeah, well, give me that. We made this maybe a little sort of digging into a little too much detail or sort of more detail. But give me a sense, I'd like these these build slides, animations, things like that. Like I see people struggle with this. Well, I both see people struggle and then I see people fail miserably when things flying around the screen.

[00:16:47] You know, like 15 slides building up like, you know, in pieces, adding each step, you know.

[00:16:52] What's your kind of rule of thumb or where do you guide people on the whole animation, build stuff like that?

[00:16:57] But I do think that I do think the animation can help us achieve the one point at a time philosophy, because it'll help us bring in one piece as we're ready to talk about it. And I like that strategy because it gives us some control over the conversation in the room. The worst thing to happen in the meeting is when like you're not ready to talk about that thing yet, but people are already jump in there and asking about it because they cause a it that's up on the site. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And you need to like get them there first, but they're not even hearing you and you lose control. Right. So it's best if we can just not show them those things until we're ready and have some control. So using animation or builds can really be helpful that way.

[00:17:35] But I tell people that only animation you're allowed to use is the one called up here because it just shows those swipe hand and none of shade shade blinds reveal and stuff.

[00:17:49] Have you seen present? Have you seen that stuff, Rick?

[00:17:51] Oh, yeah. I guess I get it. Well, that would make it stop. I go.

[00:17:58] And people loved it so much because it was like, wow, it's so cool. I remember being at a presentation for my neighborhood and the presenter was using president, though I could see the audience like, well. That's really cool. But no one was listening to anything that he said. No one remembers what that presentation wasn't about. All they remember was that it was like zooming in and zooming out. And then worst case, like for you, it causes motion sickness. You we don't want anything that's going to distract from us being the center of the spotlight. Right. So no unnecessary distractions like that.

[00:18:32] So let's talk about that sort of some of these things that I think come up a lot in presentations in terms of like tables and charts and things like that. How much? But I think I've always I've seen I've seen it go either way that there is so much sort of details and labels and, you know, find information on the screen.

[00:18:50] But I get lost and trying to read, well, this is six point eight 3 6 5 2 million or was it you know, there's there's there's the details versus sometimes it's like there's no labels and it's just an X Y axis and a line going to the upper right. You know, and they're kind of making a point. I'm like, okay. Would it been nice to get a little bit of a little bit more context about what this is? Where do you see kind of the balance between these two issues?

[00:19:12] That's such a good question, because I do see people who get excited about minimalist slides, minimalist design, and they just go too far in one direction. And it's hard to have a clear answer. But I always say this is dependent on your audience and what your audience needs to see. Like how much precision does this group need to see in order to make the decisions that are on the table or to take the actions that I'm asking them to take? How many decimal places do they really need to see? How precise does this really need to get? I usually say 1 1 decimal point at most 2 seems unnecessary, but if you have none, which I see that happens a lot when we're communicating to the public, we'll just round and people think it's not precise. People think you're rounding and it's not accurate. So one decimal point tends to communicate. This is accurate. You don't really need to go further. But yeah. In terms of all the rest of the clutter that's on there, it's always about what does my audience need to see in order to do the thing I need them to do. And that is it is going to vary. You know, the public needs one thing. Your CEO needs something different. Your managers need something different.

[00:20:13] Yeah. Well, and I think we just gotta go back to the earlier point as well. It depends on what you're trying to say.

[00:20:17] I mean, if you're if the point of the slide for you is. Making a specific comparison between where we were in 2016 and where we are in 2018 and you're talking about a percentage or receipt or you're making some point about the data, having a little more accuracy around that you can actually see it.

[00:20:32] It's not just 1 in 10, you know, but it's one point seven and ten point two.

[00:20:36] Like you, you begin to create some focus and some awareness of those numbers that I can actually start looking at.

[00:20:42] Let me tell you, I just saw an example like this where someone showed me the slide that they said they were having trouble of getting that getting get communicated. The title of the slide was something super generic like, let's just say, sales over time. So not insightful at all. And they had a bar graph that showed a sales in each quarter or something. And each bar graph had a label on. It was like 17, 18, sixteen point eight sixteen. And I was showing them ways to just generally clean it up. And then they told me that their point was sales had remained pretty flat. And I was like, dude, if that's your point, you need to stop putting the numbers because people are good growing attention. Yeah. People are focusing right in on how can we drop true sixteen point eight to 16 when it really that's an insignificant difference. So I was like, don't put the labels on there because boobs are gonna get distracted. Right. So it really all comes back to what is your point?

[00:21:35] Yeah. What about the sort of the sort of derivative calculations around some of the stuff. So if you have like sixteen point eight sixteen fifteen point two, like you have this data. But what you're really trying to show is the percent change between period moving to a percent change chart.

[00:21:49] I mean we're I guess how do you advisor where do you sort of see this kind of ability to kind of analyze the debt, our ability to kind of come up with second order kind of results from the data and presenting that versus raw data? Like, where do you suggest people do that? Do you not as it's situational?

[00:22:05] Well, it can be situational for sure, but I think that you can show both. I think people do want to see both. What we find is that if you want people to see the change and you just show them the change, they're gonna be like, yeah, what were the raw numbers? And if you show them the raw numbers, they're going to be like, okay, but how much change actually happened there? Right. So people need to probably see both. I like to just tell it as the story. Right. So Slide 1. Here are the actual numbers where we were before, where we are now. And then your title will end with an ellipses like dot, dot, dot.

[00:22:32] As if just say there is more to the story than the second slide that shows just the percent change starts with the ellipses. Right. So that you're telling people these things hang together. Yeah. Yeah. And there two pieces of the same picture.

[00:22:44] I've seen some good ones too, where they either do a nice build, a nice layer or two parts of the chart where you kind of you know, the top part of the chart is, okay, let's get the raw data. You can understand the raw data on these. Okay. And if you do the percentage analysis, because then you can kind of line it up and you're kind of you're creating some visual connection between things.

[00:23:00] But, you know, they're usually fairly well designed. If some thought has been put into it. But yeah, I think that connection being able to show almost visually show the analysis saying, okay, here's the raw data, here's the first level, here's the second level. Here are the areas that we that we really want to draw your attention to, because we have some things to say about it. You know, that kind of process.

[00:23:20] This is. Yeah. This is where the formatting and it feels like it's tiny little stuff. But the formatting of our visuals matter so much because when you're going to put a lot of detail on a slide like that, little things like tick marks matter, little things like the borders around your graph matter. We've got to be so careful to have visuals that are really clean, like going well well toward that minimalist design philosophy so that people don't get distracted by all the unnecessary noise and they're just looking at the data and then adding in little tricks like adding in stuff like an action color on the parts you want people to focus on. That way their brains are not getting overwhelmed by everything that's up there. But you can just hold people, write it on the two things that you want them to pay attention to.

[00:24:02] Well, so let's talk about color, because you mentioned it. What's wrong with you? I mean, I've seen lots of these things that look like blinking Christmas trees everywhere.

[00:24:10] What's your kind of take strategy suggestion on when it comes to kind of colors and palettes and stuff? What do you are? You are white on black, black on the way. Does it are you. Gray scales with the, you know, pops of highlights. What's your strategy?

[00:24:25] Well, I definitely think the research supports using gray plus some kind of action color. So Gray should be there to deemphasize some stuff because we tend to see that as anything in gray is sort of secondary background. And then yeah. And then an action color will pop out certain things and our brain will go to those parts because we tune into color just naturally our brains just go to that. So we use gray to kind of tamp down some of the noise we as an action color to highlight parts that really matter. And then your action color is probably going to be your organizational branding color.

[00:24:58] You know, on on brand or you use the metaphor day on brand.

[00:25:03] Yeah. I mean and you'll you know, most organizations will have a style guide that maybe gives you a palace. You have choices of colors. And if that's the case, I like to play inside that somewhat because people have associations with colors, you know. And so we can use that to our advantage so that when we're trying to. Help people. Everything's fine. We'll use like blues that are that say things like calm. And when we're trying to get people to pay attention, we can use things like reds or oranges to say this is an urgent issue. Right. So that actual color we choose can be a part of the overall storytelling effect.

[00:25:37] Let's talk about some specific scenarios or cases that, you know, a lot of business folks get into. So, I mean, the one that I'm always kind of curious about is the pitch. You know, I'm raising money and things like that. And that's always a challenge because it's that I don't know how long I'm gonna have.

[00:25:51] They might cut me off like I need to have some flexibility and then just kind of leave behind.

[00:25:55] So how what strategies would you recommend? The other thing about it is its very future thinking. So you're presenting lots of well, you know, in the next five years we could be at this level.

[00:26:05] Things like that.

[00:26:05] Any thoughts or strategies for that situation where you've got a CEO and an executive pitching to investors and dealing with this kind of what do I put on slides? How do I tell the story?

[00:26:16] Sure. So two good tips come to mind, first of all. I didn't even invent this when it came from Seth Godin, who does some venture capitalism. He has this like method of developing slides that he calls atomic development. Yeah. And he's he means that you break your talk down into its most atomic particles and you present one at a time, which is what we were talking about earlier. One point per slide. Right. So we already know that the whole idea of one point per slide is a well-received idea in the pitch. Venture capitalism community. But I think the other piece of it that would help a lot is telling people your bottom line right up front, I like this. And I think what we tend to do is feel like we've got to tell a story. And in a story, the punchline doesn't come to the end. The moral the story doesn't come to the end. And I don't know, I think that's kind of been a misnomer. It's led us straight because what people really want to know, especially in these like high pressure venture capitalism meetings, is giving your bottom line.

[00:27:14] Let's what's the point here? What's the idea? Tell them right upfront and then you start the big picture and kind of funnel down into those details. And so because hopefully they're still interested. Like your bottom line draws them in. They're like, who will tell us more? Tell us more. Tell us more. And you'll finally get to that nitty gritty detail of like here. Are that how the numbers project so that staff get their interest. And then if they if they're not interested, you save yourself so much time. And so they save themselves so much time if their bottom line doesn't even hook them. Right. So I think it's about getting your bottom line clear, saying it right up front and making it really sexy. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

[00:27:51] Other cases that you see a lot in business situations that executives get in and how they can kind of strategies they can use to kind of deal with those situations.

[00:28:00] Yeah.

[00:28:01] So I mean I think the whole the whole idea of telling people your bottom line right up front is pure gold because it works everywhere. I was at a big pharmaceutical company doing a daylong workshop with them in on the lunch break, the one hour lunch, the senior vice president had to run to a meeting right there doing their weekly ops review meeting. And he comes back from that one hour meeting. And he was like, Stephanie, you are not even gonna believe this, but we just spent half the meeting going, what are we even looking at on this slide?

[00:28:30] Like, what is this even telling us? And you think about it like that is such a waste of time, money. He actually said that they had to delay the important business decisions that they were there to make because they couldn't even get the information sorted out to inform the decision. So like that decision is gonna be delayed by months because they missed the opportunity in that meeting, which means they don't take things to market as quickly as they need to or they're continuing on developing things that they shouldn't.

[00:29:03] Either way, it's like such a disaster. And it's all because we clutter up this site with bullets that don't make sense with insider jargon, that don't tell a point, that don't show the evidence.

[00:29:13] And we haven't figured out what we're actually trying to say or this case figure out, but what we need to be talking about. So then we can actually present, you know, have a presentation that.

[00:29:21] Yeah. And I feel like a lot of folks are in a tough situation because you probably have like really, really smart engineers doing the research and development on this projects. And they're probably reporting up to their boss who has to somehow translate that stuff to the CEO without using insider RFD language and God help them. They're probably also using visuals that were just like produced from some engineering software that they're copy pasting onto the side that are just like, you know, Atari, 1982 ascetic. Right. Who can you think? Who can even make sense of that? So I feel a farm and stuff.

[00:29:57] Exactly. So tell me about the book. So effective data visualization and presenting data effectively. What can we learn in those?

[00:30:03] Yeah. Good. So effective data visualization is about choosing the right chart type of so many chart choices out there these days and guiding people through how to make the right decision, how to pick the graph type that's going to tell your story and then how to make it. And I'm talking about how to make that graph in. Or PowerPoint because Excel is just baked into PowerPoint, but how to just use the tools, you've already got to do stuff that's stellar. And I love it because Excel is. I don't know if it's because Microsoft is so smart or it's because they haven't quite figured this out yet. But you can really hack it. You can make it do things it does not naturally do. And I love that flexibility. So and it's really just a matter of showing people what the buttons are. It's such a small thing. You just push this button. But the outcome that you get is like, oh, my God, people actually understand what I'm talking about here. So that book guides people through how to pick the right chart and how to make it right. The other book presenting data effectively is more about big picture reporting, slides, dashboards, reports, how all of that stuff needs to come together to look well and to get your information across. And again, how to actually make it, how to push the buttons that do it. And both books are totally based in the research. This is what happens when you go to page, do your forever A data nerds. So I'm still I'm still reading research articles like For Fun, you know. So I like to be able to share that stuff back out because when, you know, I mean, research is always developing. It's a field that's always going to be changing. But if you can at least say this is based in some science instead of just like my personal preference, I think we're all going to be better off.

[00:31:31] Yeah, great. If people want to find out more about you and about the books, what's the best place to get that information?

[00:31:36] My Web site is gonna be the best place to get that information that I got information about both books on there. We have a cute little book trailer videos that people can find out what's inside.

[00:31:46] Awesome. I will make sure that they link to that in the show, notes Stephanie. This has been a pleasure. Thank you so much for taking some time.

[00:31:51] You've been listening to Scaling up Services with Business Coach Bruce Eckfeldt. To find a full is a podcast episodes. Download the tools and worksheets and access other great content. This is a Web site that scaling up services dot com and toll free to sign up for the free newsletter scalingupservices/newsletter.