Telling a story with your data

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So one of my colleagues was in a bit of a flap recently.  He had to give a presentation regarding the improvements he had made in his project.  Basically all he had was the graph below – note the December data is projected!  He told me he wanted inspiration.  I told him he needed a story.

graph 1

I started by asking him what the data meant.  What had happened in the last year; what went well; what went badly? What would the people listening to the presentation find interesting?  Being a numbers guy, he told me that in 2012 the average was almost 65%, whereas in 2013 the average was almost 73%, an increase of 12%.  So, what did you do to get the increase I asked?  Next followed a very long explanation, which I won’t go through here.  Suffice it to say that once you asked the guy the right…

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