Making the Case to Make Your Case – PRESENTING DATA – Part 4

Presenting Data - Tell Your Story
Date Published
Kate Ryan

Part 4 – Tell Your Story!

The first part of this blog series examined playing to your audience. Part two explored how to build your case with data. Part three examined how to visualize and present the data itself.

Ultimately though? You need to be able to present your hard work like a rock star. If the thought of that client meeting/webinar/presentation to a roomful makes you queasy, read on to discover how to calm those nerves and deliver your message with confidence.

Here are 10 ways to rock your presentation:

  1. Internalize the data. Know it back-and-forth and upside down. Anticipate questions and have your answers prepared, if they’re not already part of your deck.
  2. Know your presentation inside out. In my experience, these first two points are the MOST important. You’ve got to be able to speak with authority and vision, and more importantly, you’ve got to be knowledgeable enough to go off script when the actual conversation starts.
  3. A lot of folks will tell you to memorize it. My advice? Don’t. Develop your talking points in order, but memorizing the material (unless you’re a good actor) stiffens it up and doesn’t leave much room for error.
  4. Practice. In whatever way you’re presenting – client meeting or presentation style – DO practice verbalizing your talking points.
  5. Be the first to talk. Arrive ahead of time, chat up the attendees, be the first to make contact before the presentation begins. This one has saved me LOTS of times because it distracts me from the anxiety of public speaking.
  6. Another technique that has helped me is one I use to fall asleep: counting backwards from 300 by 3s. It really helps to get me out of my head.
  7. Visualize it! See yourself making your case, speaking clearly and confidently, see other people looking to you with interest. (I also like to “see” the end of the meeting, shaking hands with everyone and celebrating a job well done.)
  8. Remember to breathe. Focus, and breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth, slowly.
  9. Have a bottle of water handy. A sip or two at the right time can help you and your audience reset and re-engage.
  10. You internalized the data, right? If so, everything else is gravy!

Whether it’s the basis for a project pitch to the CEO, getting buy-in from the team who will have to manage the project day-to-day, or sharing campaign results in a webinar or a room of 200 people, making your data tell a story is key, and knowing that data in all the ways will help you build and support your case. Your ability to visualize that data and translate it confidently to your audience will win the day. Good luck, and happy presenting!

About the Author:
Kate Ryan
Account Director, Agency Services

Role at the Company

My role involves helping fundraisers find and keep loyal donors while making a positive impact in their communities. Every day, I apply whole-brain solutions to the work I do, using analytics, creativity, and a big dose of nerd to help our clients succeed.

What excites you about your work at AFG?

I love data! And having client-side experience with all three divisions of AFG allows me to rev that motor in a big way.

If you weren’t at AFG, what would you be doing?

Running an apocalypse-themed bowling alley and bar. Probably goat yoga. Managing my kids’ Youtube careers.

What are your hobbies/interests outside AFG?

Spending time with said children, acrylic fluid painting, traveling, bowling (really!), reading, and if there’s time after, a good zombie movie.

What’s something most people don’t know about you?

The first time I was ever in a plane, I jumped out. That one time I skydived was pretty cool!

What’s your favorite childhood memory?

As a kid, my family went to Tablerock Lake for our summer vacation. We had a small motorboat that was just big enough for the five of us, and my brother and I learned to waterski soon enough. One morning, dad threw out the ropes and off we went. We tooled around the lake for a long time, neither of us willing to take the first fall of the day. Dad kept circling the boat, forcing us to jump the wakes – still neither of us would take the dive. Finally ran the boat entirely out of gas just outside our cove. Dad got towed back. We had to swim.

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