Data is the new oil; you’ve probably all heard that old adage before! Nevertheless, it’s inherently true and is the lifeblood of all successful businesses that operate today, regardless of their industry or vertical.
However, working with data these days involves more than extracting meaningful information and insights; you need to be able to present your findings in relatable ways to those who might not be (definitely won’t be) as proficient as you are.
However, learning how to crawl through mountains of data and present it in a digestible way isn’t easy.
Still, with the right advice and a few helpful hints, you can become a data savant capable of presenting your findings effectively.
Learn The Basics Of Data Analysis
There are several key concepts that you must understand if you want to become proficient in data analysis.
However, as is often the case, this is usually easier said than done. If you are already in a career that requires a deep understanding of data, then you probably already have a level of expertise and need to brush up.
However, if you are just at the beginning of your career, a data literacy master class can help to familiarize yourself with the different types of data that can be collected and how it can provide insights into a broad range of aspects, from customer behaviors to how better to organize a database and so on.
In order to become good at understanding and presenting data, it’s important to learn the essentials of:
- Data visualization
- Statistical analysis
- Hypothesis testing
- Predictive analytics
Once you have the fundamentals in the bag, your life will become far easier and your job more manageable.
Moreover, as Albert Einstein once said: “If you can’t explain it to a six-year-old, then you don’t understand it yourself.”
The more you study the subject, the more you understand. The more you know, the easier it will become to present your findings to those less literate in the art of data analysis.
Utilize Data Visualization Tools To Present The Data In A Clear And Concise Manner
You can break this step into two primary points:
An Overview Of Data Visualization Tools
Data visualization tools are powerful tools that allow you to transform raw data into visually appealing information.
Instead of looking at spreadsheets and tables filled with numbers, you can use these tools to create illustrations that are easier to understand.
Using It To Present Data More Clearly
By visually representing a data set, you help your audience better understand what the data is saying.
However, with several tools on the market, from the likes of Microsoft and Zoho, you will need to gain proficiency in the underlying aspects before moving onto the nitty-gritty of whatever option your company uses.
Data visualization tools are beneficial when it comes to conveying data as concisely as possible to avoid confounding those attempting to understand them.
You can think of them as the visual aids you use to present information in class – only this time, you’re presenting data.
However, not all forms of data visualization are created equal. For instance, some data can be better represented by using specific modes compared to others, and the art is knowing which are best for which circumstances.
Develop Strong Communication Skills To Explain The Data Effectively
Although you might believe that working with data is integral to your job, that is only one aspect.
By far, the most frustrating part will be trying to portray your findings and suggestions to those who have no idea about what you’re talking about or have an alternative agenda to what the data is showing (anyone who has a boss who works based on a hunch will know this pain all too well!)
So what does this have to do with anything?
Well, if you want to progress in your career, you will need to learn the fundamentals of effective communication.
Using the aforementioned visualization tools is one part of the puzzle, but much of it comes down to your ability to condense information into digestible chunks.
Essentially, communication concerning data includes presenting the data in an easy-to-understand format and explaining why it matters and what can be done with it.
A great communicator should also be able to answer questions regarding the data clearly and succinctly.
In order to develop better ways to communicate, you watch videos that teach techniques to explain complex information and telegraph to others why it’s crucial.
Moreover, a great communicator should also be able to answer questions regarding the data clearly and succinctly.
Strive To Understand The Context Of The Data
When people talk about data, they tend to make it something monolithic and, therefore, easier to understand.
Data can only be understood and used effectively if you understand the context in which the data resides.
Context is crucial when making decisions and helps you gain a deeper understanding of what your data is telling you.
When dealing with large swathes of information, you need to become familiar with:
- Its relation to other sources
- Its significance regarding your desired outcome
- Whether it’s worthwhile to explore results differently or from a different angle
- Whether it offers any significant insights into potential future trends
- Considering if there are variables that have affected the data
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions To Gain Further Insight
Just because you will be expected to produce results for your company doesn’t mean you have to face things alone.
When it comes to data, there is often more than one way to interpret and analyze it.
If you have co-workers, you shouldn’t be afraid to ask questions and riff off one another.
Asking questions can help deepen your understanding and allow you to gain further insight, even from data that may appear simple on the surface.
Remember that every inquiry can serve as a stepping stone toward understanding the true meaning of the data presented.
Understanding data is an art just as much as it is a science. Some aspects will involve using logic to decipher the numbers in front of you, while others will require a level of insight that only comes from a creative mind.
Nonetheless, all of this can be learned, and with the right attitude toward education, you will be able to succeed in this rapidly expanding field.