I have definitely learned a life skill

Tough times!

And that is because I realized how bad I was with visualization and so my learning curve was steep. So bad that I want to document my works from the beginning to the final output, which might be far from perfect, but I am proud of. I can say that I have definitely learned a life skill.

What do I mean by life skill? As a data scientist or in any analytical role, you can go as hardcore as you want in doing the analysis but in reality, if you cannot communicate your findings, it’s hard to create impact. Soft skills like visualization and storytelling are oftentimes not being given the same attention as the technical skills; but, if you think about it, your visualization and how you present your findings in the language of your stakeholders is the only part of your analysis that your audience ever sees. To aspiring data scientists and even professionals, may we all not suffer from the pain of our analysis being neglected just because we failed to communicate it well.

As much as I don’t want this to sound like giving a lecture, I just like to put my learnings in detail in the hopes that I will not forget these things:

  • Focus attention
    • Take a look at your presentation and use the “where does my eyes go” method.
    • Color is powerful:
      • it grabs attention and signals audience where to look
      • it carries tone and meaning
      • but use it sparingly
  • Declutter
    • Stick with just what is relevant to your audience. Save them from thinking too much, which could potentially grab their attention away from what you want them to see
  • Little tweaks work wonders
    • Increasing your font
    • Changing color of certain words
  • Tell a story
    • In telling a story, it is of utmost importance that you know your target audience. You can use the same data but present it differently depending on who your audience is and what should they take from your presentation.
    • Don’t ever start with a presentation software. Do storyboarding on a piece of paper or on whiteboard. Never on a software.
    • GIVE IT TIME! You should really allot time in thinking about the story. Sometimes you are all good with the data, analysis and visualization only to find out that it’s hard to put them together to create a good story.

This essay was a requirement under the DVS class and has been published with permission from the author, one of my MSDS students. - Prof. E