Present data like a Pro

Hoshang Mehta
October 4, 2023

“Poor data presentation not only squanders that opportunity but can damage your reputation as a presenter.”

In a world where 86% of people say they believe that “presenting data is a sign of honesty and integrity,” it’s clear: presenting data is powerful. When presented clearly and pointedly, data can elevate your point’s credibility and trustworthiness. Presenting data poorly not only squanders that opportunity but can damage your reputation as a presenter. Keeping your presentation data accurate and timely is not just about being conscientious, however. If you want to stand out in a crowded field of presenters, you need to be strategic about how you deliver your data in a way that will maximize its impact. This article will discuss several easy steps that can help you elevate the credibility of your presentation.

The Power Principle for data presentation

The Power Principle is designed to help presenters build impact with their audiences. This framework is simple to remember and easy to apply.

The framework recommends two things:

  • “Power-Up” data, which means initially presenting the closest possible approximation you can get to the “truth”; and
  • “Talk Up”, which means talking up your data in your presentation.

The Power Principle breaks down a presentation into four phases:

First, you seek out the data that will help illustrate your point. Second, you “Power” up data that supports your research. Third, you “Talk up” what you have learned so far. Fourth, you tie up loose ends to show that your data and conclusions are supported by sound research methods.

Presenters can use the steps identified below to help them navigate through these four phases of a presentation.

Presenters must be prepared before they begin a presentation. However, it is important to note that the Power Principle does not require that you conduct exhaustive research before you present. Rather, it encourages presenters to find the closest approximation possible to the truth. Presenters should search for data that supports their findings and be open to new data when they find it. Presenters should also keep their audiences in mind when searching for data and determining how they will present that information.

It is about presenting your information as close to accurate as possible. As you search for data, consider the format in which you plan to present it. For example, if you are presenting a graph, think about what metrics will be most meaningful to your audience. How will your audience interpret visual markers such as vertical bars and horizontal lines?

Also, consider how visual markers may influence your audience’s interpretation of the data you display in a graph. For example, if your audience has limited English speaking skills, using color or shading on your data might make it easier for them to understand the data. Presenters should also consider the fact that data presented graphically may be interpreted differently by different segments of your audience. For example, if your audience is an international one, you might include data in multiple formats to accommodate differing needs and interests.

In addition the size of their audiences should be considered when they search for and select data. For example, if you are presenting to the general public, it is advisable to present information in a format that is easy to understand. And, if you are trying to present to people who are experts in your field, it may be appropriate to wait until further research provides more accurate data.

Presenters must then search for the right data to support the presentation. For example, if you are presenting data that supports a theory, find empirical evidence that disproves it by investigating other viewpoints and explanations. Also, it is important to get your research right by researching various viewpoints and comparing anything you present to what others have submitted.

Finally, presenters must conduct literature reviews to do their best at “powering up” data so that they can “talk up” their findings. A literature review will help you identify research that is similar to your own and provide a broader perspective in which to interpret the information you present. You can conduct literature reviews by reading books and articles, talking with experts, attending conferences and seminars, or conducting research of your own.Presenters must be sure that they have carefully chosen and selected data before they begin a presentation. The Power Principle does not require that you do additional research before your presentation. However, it encourages presenters to be open to new ideas and different approaches in order to increase the effectiveness of their presentations.

Data visualization is a key aspect of the Power Principle. Visualizing your data will help you to make your presentation more interesting and effective. Visual markers help to inform your audience, especially if they have a different language or do not understand the jargon associated with your presentation. For example, you may want to portray a trend by using color-coding to depict the values of certain variables in one graph. Presenters should also consider how the data you are planning to use could influence your audience’s interpretation of your findings.


Presentations are best when the presenter is able to present his/her findings accurately and effectively. A well-written and well-presented presentation will have the most impact on audiences. To help presenters do their job better, it is beneficial to use visualization techniques as a tool to get their message across, especially if the information being presented is complex


Why is proper data presentation so crucial?
What is the "Power Principle" in data presentation?
How can presenters prepare effectively for their presentations?
What are the considerations when choosing visual markers for a presentation?
Why is it essential to contrast and compare data in presentations?
How does data visualization enhance a presentation?
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