#017: Data Visualization and Communication with Lea Pica

They say a picture is worth a thousand terabytes of data (probably). If you are a regular listener of the podcast, you will know proper communication isn’t our strongest suit, so we brought in a hitter. Lea Pica joins us in this episode to talk about communication best practices, and how they are even more important for an analyst than other roles in the organization. Got sixty minutes to listen and learn? We’ll take it, and give you fifteen minutes back.


Episode Transcript

The following is a straight-up machine translation. It has not been human-reviewed or human-corrected. We apologize on behalf of the machines for any text that winds up being incorrect, nonsensical, or offensive. We have asked the machine to do better, but it simply responds with, “I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

[00:00:25] Hello everyone and welcome to the digital analytics power hour.

[00:00:29] This is Episode 17 as we start the show. I have a question. Do you struggle to get respect. Are you afraid of being called on to present in the meeting or you’re charging grass a laughing stock. Well fear not. Intrepid analyst this episode. We’re going to teach you how to be the data is whiz that you’ve always wanted to be and help us. We’ve got a special guest. I’m also joined by Tim Wilson from web analytics demystified. Jim

[00:01:04] Kane who is knocking them down at napkin and Babbage systems.

[00:01:11] The chief whiz data whiz was too busy knocking him down to respond to that Tim.

[00:01:17] And Michael Helbig LFB analytics practice that there is discovery. All right so our guests were very excited.

[00:01:24] Is Leah Peka who everyone knows in the measure slash analytics community is a tour de force when it comes to not only data visualization but also how to present that effectively. She actually leads people on this journey to becoming better that she’s presented hundreds of times across all kinds of conferences and meetings and she’s really taken a deep dive into this space and you can actually find more about her and her Web site. Leah Piqua dot com and she’s actually also starting her own podcast soon which we’re very excited about. So welcome Leah. Top of the morning great let’s get started. And first let’s talk about why do people struggle in this area. Why do analysts have such a hard time with this aspect of being a great analyst and offer that out to everybody but maybe maybe that since you’re our guest why don’t you go first.

[00:02:25] Sure. So I think it’s all about being equipped when you start when I think about how I started in this industry which I sort of fell into it by accident like I think a lot of practitioners did. No one sat me down and told me hey you’re going to have to go in this conference room in front of these scary people who are very important and you don’t have to make them care about your data and you and what you have to say and that’s going to require things like understanding storytelling and how to break down technical jargon for laypeople and how to design data and not create slides that look like vomit and how to be an inspiring motivational speaker you know these are all elements that go into that. No one teaches you this stuff when you become an analyst. So I think it’s just a lack of equipping the early you know your early career in the front lines. So that’s my perspective.

[00:03:22] It seems like it’s because a lot of analysts sort of stumble into it are drawn to the data and the people who want them to do stuff are looking for people who can crunch the data like it’s almost a blind spot because I don’t even think the people who were hiring analysts realize how important that is right. They’re looking for somebody who has data crunching skills. That’s that’s the thing that’s the big mystery to them is the data they don’t say. We need somebody who can understand the tools pull the data crunched the numbers and communicate effectively because they communicate effectively. Seems like this soft skill that tons of people who really that’s the core part of their job and they do the job of it. So this kind of echoing what you’re saying that it’s it’s not even really often recognized by the people who were hiring so or managing and therefore to expect somebody who is moving into that space. Nobody is saying go do this. You need to do this. It matters. Do it well. And so it’s pretty easy to just ignore it and then not realize that there’s this massive gap and in what you’re doing is your job. You’re kind of shooting yourself in the foot.

[00:04:36] Is this a half to have or a nice to have like. Would I hire someone with amazing presentation skills for anything like for my CFO for no operations person.

[00:04:48] Is this just anybody should learn these skills to be there. I’m not belittling it. It’s just as it’s a more important skill set for a data analyst than it is for you know the salesperson or financial control or email marketing manager.

[00:05:02] Well I think it’s the perspective of the analyst. A lot of this is tying into people that want more from their careers. Those are the people that I’m looking to help. I know there are analysts that just want to crunch numbers and they’re comfortable with that and they find a place that works for them and that’s totally fine. It’s absolutely acceptable but I’m looking to help people that do want more from those careers. And I can say for me personally and I don’t know if you agree that every major leap forward I’ve taken in my career has been in some part due to a presentation or a series of presentations that I did where I became more visible in my organization.

[00:05:43] No I think you make an interesting point. That is and to your point earlier Jim that’s right like that’s probably not the primary skill that you put on the job description. But at the same time probably every analytics job description you’ll see has something about an effective communicator or you know good written and presentation skills or ability with those skills. It’s not usually worded in a way that would actually say hey we’re going to measure that as we bring you in and talk about your capabilities. But we also pick up cues from people in the interview process and if somebody just can’t even talk through what they’re good at that hurts them in the interview process even that. So having that confidence and you know I think I learned as an analyst you’re always selling when you present an idea. You’re pitching that idea. You want people to buy into your idea and that’s when it became obvious to me it’s like oh I really need to think about how I do that. What’s the right way to do that. If you’re not ever the guy or girl who is presenting the data you’re just crunching the numbers and then your boss takes the data and presents it. I think you’ll get frustrated with that job in a different way you know because you’re not able to see the impact of your work. And I think that’s what’s really important. And so I don’t know that every single person needs to like make this their top priority. But I think it’s worth everybody’s attention.

[00:07:05] And even when you’re not speaking in a presentation setting your data is speaking when you handed out to people and that’s something every analyst is doing Jim’s head presentation and I would I would go with communication rather than presentation and presentations one form of that.

[00:07:20] But to the different roles and I just started kind of adding them down. I think it is different and I was the guy an episode or two ago that I think every profession thinks they’re special. But if you look at somebody coming in as a junior or middle level accountant right they’re working a lot with other accountants they’re already speaking the same language. Right. They’ve they’ve got balance sheets financial statements double entry accounting whatever kind of accounting they’re doing it doesn’t mean that effective communication and presentation isn’t going to hold them in good stead. But a lot of what they’re doing to turn their work product over is into somebody else who speaks a similar language say the same thing for marketers. If you’ve been trained in marketing you know to talk you know personas and you know creative and messaging and the four Ps and all this stuff. So in a lot of the people you’re interacting with are doing the same thing. Same thing for I.T. if you’re a front end developer or back in developer a lot of what you’re producing is code that works or it does that and there’s some level of saying did you do it correctly where I think analysts more often than not we’re not trying to deliver and effectively communicate with other analysts in order to actually have an impact. We have to effectively communicate with somebody who’s not an analyst and I may be over simplifying or trying to pretend that everybody else gets to operate in a SIBO and analysts you know have to kind of cross over to another another world. But I think that’s to me there is that distinction.

[00:08:46] It’s really hard to be successful if you can’t take this thing that you’re passionate about and you have to kind of translate it into something where somebody who’s not passionate about the data and the spreadsheets and they can still understand it and do something with it.

[00:09:03] So I think we all agree that I am we are the long version is rare. They were all in agreement it’s probably a good skill to have. So that’s good. So that will really help set us apart. One more thing would be this would be a really short show that we’re like well we disagree on this. Join us next week.

[00:09:26] I don’t even disagree. I mean I’m a huge fan of talking about communication and communication skills. It’s just I was just wondering is this a universal. Like employees in 2015 need to be good storytellers if they want to grow in their career. Is that a big part of it. And secondly is it is more applicable to analysts which parts of communication are more important. I’m trying to go in that direction because I know some very very talented introverted analysts who can tell a great story with a keyboard and have no interest in telling a story and the board.

[00:09:59] So I get all the credit which is fantastic and I think it doesn’t stack up the same for every person and I think you can bring up a good point Jim which is not everybody wants or desires to be front and center. In fact some people would rather play a supporting role. Frankly it’s a ton of work to get all that stuff together so I’m really happy if somebody else wants to do it.

[00:10:21] But still there’s the danger of I don’t want to do any of that. So I’m just going to send you the Unova table and I don’t want to. Somebody else want to turn that into a story right. I mean that distinction between there’s data visualization which is I think a core absolute must have in arguable if you’re put in 3D pie charts out like you should just be taken off the woodshed. I don’t care how brilliant of a data scientist you are you’re not brilliant if you’re just shoot yourself in the foot like that. I think that’s probably a must. Have. It’s learnable and it’s teachable and it’s trainable.

[00:10:57] The getting to being from center and delivering it from a presentation and communication thing maybe is an area that it is not necessarily everybody has to get there.

[00:11:10] You see I think someone could deliver an effective presentation with exploding pie charts and comic sans. Well I think it’s fun.

[00:11:19] It’s been fun doing this podcast. We did it. We made it. It was a good run.

[00:11:23] Sixteen and a half episodes was going to wrap it up with three words ring frikken Dengs.

[00:11:29] That’s the fourth time there. We’ve all played hard conversion funnel with lead characters in excel. But I think even if you’re not a big presenter of data there is still the passion that you have for the data. One of my favorite TED Talks of all time and everybody who is an analyst is while wrestling at Hons.

[00:11:53] Yeah hands Gosling’s presentation and that guy is obviously a nerd and he is so in love with what he’s seeing and so wants to communicate. You’re swept away by his passion even if he’s not necessarily following like you know the uber awesome best practices for how to deliver the best possible speech is actually very effective because he’s very passionate about what he’s talking about.

[00:12:17] Sometimes the most passionate people without the right tools for bringing that person out can shrink into a shell of themselves when they’re put in front of these people it’s like they’re being put in front of a firing squad and suddenly they retreat and it’s like you don’t even recognize this person. I’ve seen this happen so many times with my colleagues in my various companies. And you know while that guy may not be Gahr Reynolds he had practice he prepared that there were tools he used to exude that passion and that confidence so well you know but he also has an amazing data visualization right.

[00:12:55] That was like literally moving bubble charts is not something you’re just stumbling across his entire presentation was a brilliant data visualization that he was passionate about.

[00:13:06] Sorry to cut you off but yes you did. What I want to do. Yeah.

[00:13:10] And now available as part of Google charts.

[00:13:13] I actually went and tried to build those in the pre.

[00:13:16] But he had just gotten hired there tried to kind of recreated the world once again the limited technical skills that was six or seven years ago.

[00:13:26] Tim did fail to do that but I did. So they all did. Tim and I talked about that I couldn’t develop a flu symptom.

[00:13:36] You guys are way ahead of me. So you said earlier Tim. Some people just give the data table and then something about pie charts and then do it properly. And I think we can all agree that a good piece of analysis is never just the data table a good piece of analysis is a strongly thought out point of view. I mean your journey hypothesis. I mean you know how to formulate a well structured piece of work. So what we’re talking about and maybe I’m missing the point is to take a really good piece of work and ensure that that good piece of work is noticed and taken advantage of in the organization by by presenting it appropriately is that fair.

[00:14:15] I think so. You know we talk about the narrative and storytelling and just before we hopped on the record I was looking at it in a new clients. Some of their existing reports that they’re producing and I realized how often I go in even for a recurring report how little care if you’re producing just the weekly Commerce report just seems so common to see this big grid of numbers and without any attempt to say I can’t provide a grid of numbers.

[00:14:46] I don’t know what this is going to say it’s automated or I have to likely lightly touch it so I’m not doing a full on presentation but I’ve got to kind of put something in there so the eye is going to be drawn to something that will be interesting and that’s good.

[00:15:01] Hello conditional formatting.

[00:15:06] That’s conditional formatting that’s font sizes it’s lay out it’s what you chart. What are you not.

[00:15:12] But there’s something else there. Because I mean we can talk badly about data tables all day. But actually that’s sometimes the best way to present something because that’s the way that people consume it.

[00:15:23] No no no he gets a table their copy before they can do dick with it. They are having to go and chart it like they can’t you cannot a big data table.

[00:15:34] I’m sorry dude.

[00:15:36] That is not true in everyday everyday life. I’m with you. Like if I get a table like the first thing I do is drop some trends on it so I can see what’s happening. Not everybody’s like that though.

[00:15:47] I have been told that so many flipping times and then every time I’ve gone in and said we’ll do what if we looked at it this way instead. OH MY GOD I CAN FINALLY UNDERSTAND IT. I’ve heard the bullshit excuse of the analysts saying that’s how my boss likes to see it. They’re all about the numbers. They want to see the big table. It’s like no because you had some totally false premise discussion with them where they gave you a list of metrics they wanted and they wanted them by month or by week so you produced it and showed it to him as that is just what you want. And they said yes in your article that’s how my boss wants it because your boss didn’t know any better. So you can’t buy tables are good for when I need to look up a role in a column and pick out one number so I can so I can actually triangulate on something is look up the human brain can’t process. It’s a fact you cannot. It’s whatever seven to nine chunks of information. If you have 150 equally weighted which is only it 10 by 5 10 by 15 to.

[00:16:48] 10 by 15 table is data like. You have to labor too hard at that. So I think there’s a really vicious cycle happening between analyst and marketer or stakeholder and that is you do whatever your stakeholder wants but they are not equipped with knowledge of how the human mind the human brain processes information. And

[00:17:12] then the analyst produces exactly what they want despite maybe their instincts and the stakeholder continues to not understand what’s happening. So while I kind of agree actually with Mike where there are cases and there are people where a data table suits them if it’s accompanied with other forms of more visual aspects I think it has their place. But I think for the most part an analyst will really set themselves apart and give themselves an edge if they learn those principles and start to help break that cycle with their stakeholders and start showing that they’re a subject matter expert in this area. That’s that’s the biggest complaint that I get from my audience is my clients don’t get it. This is what they want. I can’t convince them and you know let’s all think of ways we can do that. Break that chain.

[00:18:08] But I think if you don’t give them a I don’t know if Michael if you’ve got if you’ve got kind of an anecdote in mind to say it.

[00:18:14] I feel like when I’ve had the opportunity to say Let me show you a different way and you can decide well I’ve never run into that.

[00:18:21] Not all Tim Wilson is right. When Tim speaks people listen you know so you know it’s different for the rest of us.

[00:18:31] Where on earth know this man. I mean like some cases to build up a year of producing the same shit until they trust me that I know what I’m talking about to say OK we’ll give you a little leeway to go try something different and then and then they say yeah that’s great. I think it’s when you’re saying do you like this. And if they say yes because they know nothing different. And if you say can I make it more graphical they’re like I don’t know what you’re talking about. You know they have to see it.

[00:18:58] Yeah and I’ve already expressed my preference for sure but it really comes back to you know not every analyst at every point in time has the ability to kind of even start that conversation. They’re part of a moving business right now. Business meets on Mondays and they review the numbers and by gum they better be in this weird table that we’ve been using for the last five years.

[00:19:21] Well except except that’s I mean that would give the Frik I’ve tried there is you look it. No report stays totally static. So I’ve done the kind of rebuild the plane and fly by saying you know what I’m not going to take away what you said you want. I’m going to also give you that same information just a piece of it. And this is even if you don’t have to give me you know three months to go away if I’m inside a company and I’ve got technically no incremental time to do anything on that report I still don’t have to get permission to say you know what I’m going to put a second tab on here where I’ve just visualize the same information slightly differently as a good dashboard can have multiple tabs right.

[00:20:02] Oh all right. Let’s wait and regroup because what I actually want this show to actually focus on some productive ideas as opposed to my correct ones some of our semantic goal is Dore Gold challenges. I thought I was just giving a productive idea but I realized we were. I think you were being a productive idea late into the dirt.

[00:20:30] You know we’re on to the productive idea. What’s your question.

[00:20:35] Just ask I just so we talked about presentations and we’re now we’re talking about dashboards and standardized reports can we make a quick list just so I can wrap my head around it. Of the various key things that an analyst has to communicate on when we get e-mails or phone calls we have formal presentations like.

[00:20:51] Is that something that you guys think about. I met him last night.

[00:20:55] It was interesting to me when you guys present you were your lucky shirt.

[00:20:59] Because I know I do. I put pants on. Usually that is solvable.

[00:21:06] That’s like an optional. If you’re telecommuting. That’s true. That’s true.

[00:21:11] So I would probably rather focus on discussing the analysis where you have to some degree control over. Is it a phone call or an email is it or presentation.

[00:21:21] But it is more of the the one time narrative presenting the results than the standardized reports. I think I definitely took us off on that.

[00:21:31] I love it. And so let’s dive right into that. What are some things that everybody does wrong but are easy to fix when presenting results. Let’s put one right down the middle for Yuliya. OK we’ve got a PowerPoint. We’re walking into a conference room. There’s going to be some executive types in there. Most of them will have their phones ready to go. Second we stumble. Yep. So that’s what’s going to happen. What should we start to do to prepare for this situation. And what are some stumbling blocks to avoid.

[00:22:04] OK so if you’re walking in and there are already in there with their phones you’re too late. If you had the opportunity to go early do it do it as soon as you see the room is open get all your technical logistics nailed down if it’s a WebEx sign in early test your sound and accept that inevitably something will go horribly wrong. I’ve never never seen a perfect run like that. But getting closer. And I think the biggest thing is starting off strong. Sometimes people start off the meeting and they start talking like name. And they sound like the guy from Office Space who really wanted his stapler back. You know if you start strong clear strong confident friendly approachable voice maybe a smile and stating the objective of the meeting why are you all there. How often do we see a real object object of an agenda in a meeting invite. I I frequently don’t see one. So starting off really strong is important and talking about your key findings in your recommendation. I like to put that up front sometimes so it’s really clear how you’re setting the stage. So those are some things I would try.

[00:23:15] So since you already rounded the park on that one throw out fossil and say it’s an hour long meeting is it if you were going to rehearse for a full hour that would be if you want to run through now you’ve put two hours after you’re technically ready. Where do you stand on the on the rehearsing front.

[00:23:31] I know it depends on the amount of time that you have obviously but I like to go through it just talk through the presentation at least two to three times before people often feel they don’t have enough time for that. And I say that when something’s important enough to you you will make the time you know have lunch at your desk and take 15 20 minutes and just talk through it that exercise can sometimes help you feel so much more comfortable in your skin. That’s why people on Broadway rehearse because that’s how they internalize the information.

[00:24:07] Yeah I definitely practice if it’s an important presentation. We actually practice it multiple times before giving it. Sometimes in front of the mirror which is disconcerting and you’ll find yourself like getting stopped again and again as you find spots where you have to buff out edges and that’s really good because if you do that in practice you’ll actually you won’t make those same mistakes when you actually kind of step up and do that. I would say that’s more the exception than the rule right. It’s not but every presentation is sort of like for your life. But the big ones definitely deserve that kind of commitment.

[00:24:42] What I think. I mean it’s sometimes the first impression. So I mean maybe that’s in the consulting world and some of the nature of some of my clients. It’s the first time meeting with somebody as when I’m presenting something to them or maybe it’s the second time I’ve presented and those you know the take. Maybe it is a 45 minute meeting but I can do a run through in 15 minutes. I can run through the meet out loud you know talking talking through it. I’ve also been known to be as well as call in somebody else in the gyms for probably for the the big ones they’ve let me run through this with you because I want to have somebody who’s not as deep in it as I am to talk to it and say does that make sense.

[00:25:23] Yeah I have to agree. I mean again I think it comes down to what do you want out of that presentation. As as a career move. I can’t I guess that’s how I see these opportunities not as things to just suffer through but as real opportunities for you and if you take those few minutes even if it’s a small internal meeting and just talk through your thoughts even once or twice I think you’re going to see huge strides and that.

[00:25:49] That’s my personal belief to you guys often have stakeholder meetings where you’re formally presenting and you’re not allowed to have any kind of dialogue.

[00:25:58] Now even even if there is dialogue I want to have a plan for how I want the meeting to go and key things I want to communicate and I usually expect there to be dialogue because that’s my style. Like I like engaging people but I usually still want there to be key points or objectives like that I have in my mind. But like I’ve normally got a rough plan but I’ve never practiced.

[00:26:20] A client facing presentation ever like I’ve done the de-brief with the team and I’ve got like I know my stuff going in. And I know the things I want to accomplish focused on on and I’m not saying anyone’s right like I’m I’m finding this very interesting.

[00:26:37] But I think some people Jim are preternaturally raising you know just gifted.

[00:26:43] You know I will revel in my mediocrity coming from I mean interesting.

[00:26:47] I mean coming from we talked to before coming from kind of a sales background where if you’ve got this you’ve got the sales gene from a wired to one actually be listening which we haven’t really said that but to get to the dialogue point and if I go into an hourlong meeting I’m really aiming for maybe 15 minutes of formal content.

[00:27:07] I mean I tend to think in hours too long to sustain anybody’s attention. So it’s got to be punchy and clear and delivered and even if it’s an you know segments and modules because you’ve got to be listening but so I think Jim in your case I think there’s a level of where you have a little bit of a leg up in that you’re coming from a place where you were having to have a good narrative and listen effectively and you know probably to wing it better than many analysts.

[00:27:42] And again that wasn’t the kind. Like say I don’t need to practice. It’s just maybe it’s because I do have those 10000 hours. Malcolm Gladwell style of just running one hour meetings before I even started to do analysis. But you know for me the emphasis is really more on us and not. Me when I’m going into a session like that like I’m really trying to derive what I call you know eureka moments where someone goes oh shit. Got it. Wow. Like I’m really pushing for those right.

[00:28:15] Which is a good point. If you get them in day if you have them engaged from the dialogue once they’re talking as long as they’re not just off because they can’t understand your data like that’s the worst they’re flipping ahead three slides and coming back and saying these numbers don’t reconcile that. That’s a disaster and you’ve done many many many things wrong. But yeah if they’re actually saying ha you know what about this what about that. Like you once you’ve got it to a dialogue you have them engaged right. They can’t be in a dialogue and checking their phone at the same time on the big end.

[00:28:47] Leah you said this earlier and maybe to you it’s like a thing but telling people to have an agenda for a meeting is one of those. Almost no one doesn’t. Yeah and it’s something that drives me and I’m going to sell it. Tim you know what makes me want to go behind the woodshed with the sax programmers. I’ll tell you it’s when people don’t have an agenda for a meeting. And it’s not like 95 percent of my meetings. And then you have a whole bunch of smart people in the room with high salaries you know what that meeting cost. Yeah well.

[00:29:19] But look I have an agenda for this podcast to keep moving but I’ve got to say if you have the agenda has to actually make sense because I look at agendas where I’m like did anybody actually look at it and say this is going to be the dullest me.

[00:29:32] If you put an agenda up and say we’re going to walk through the results from 2014 and we’re going to do this we’re going to do so. I think the agenda is actually a good tool to say if I’ve only got three points on my agenda that they’re really high impact that actually makes sense. We’re going to do X Y and Z because there are times where the agenda is saved from the last meeting’s agenda you know and it’s as anodyne and it’s not that not that helpful so I actually see it as a way to say Yeah what am I really doing here. It’s not I need an agenda check it off the box. What are we really trying to get done here.

[00:30:09] Yeah I think that could be a show in and of itself right there. How to set a good meeting objective.

[00:30:15] But if it’s like a movie trailer room you know like when someone setting up a good meeting like key things that make sense this many minutes per thing. Oh I really want to talk about break. I’m I’m stoked to go in.

[00:30:29] How about a title that actually tells you what the meeting’s about. I mean I’m I’ve just been overrun with meeting invites that say meeting about this campaign.

[00:30:38] Well so who cares. Let’s all meet about something. Yeah. Because I don’t have enough going on.

[00:30:48] So I you know what agendas communications are really like this point because you know I mean I’ve seen some of the things that lead does. And I can’t I could never get that good at doing those things. No seriously like some of the presentation stuff is really bad ass.

[00:31:06] Other than that the juggling juggling kids because that’s kind of impressive too. Yeah well not if it happens only now she’s giving away your secrets.

[00:31:16] But no I’m sitting in the lower part. You didn’t let me finish. So I’m sitting in on the podcast and I’m looking at his Web site and I’m like Man that looks really hard. And the big takeaway for me would be Hey man I could write a really good agenda for my next meeting and that’s like one of those immediate career wind moments right. To just be someone who has their shit together on a meeting. Yeah. Are people are good.

[00:31:40] All right so really quickly because we’re actually running short on time. Another thing that happens all too often in meetings especially in digital analytics is that somebody is first sure that they know digital analytics way better than you. Intrepid analysts and they are bound and determined to get a hold this meeting and take it somewhere crazy. So how do we deal with those kinds of situations. How do you bring the room back when somebody is writing the crazy trained new work.

[00:32:13] Why did I have to be a nerd. I just whatever keep my mouth good as any other town to Columbus crazy during the Columbus. There’s more rail on the East cloake on the East Coast. Write me a sell out of Boston.

[00:32:29] I want to come up with like an actual martial arts movie name for this. But you know you just have to defuse them as quickly as you can. And I’ve I think I’ve been that person in my early hot shot annoying and I want to punch myself in the face days and I’ve definitely witnessed that person and you know as soon as they start poking all the holes you know you want to say what I would say is you know take a closer look at that. Why don’t we table this for a conversation we can take this outside praise that like. But you know let’s let’s talk about. That’s a great question. But I think it might take us off topic for this meeting like just thinking of ways to defuse that sort of energy and really keep the meeting on track for the people that aren’t trying to take you down.

[00:33:24] Clearly this is the person who’s playing that role for this entire episode.

[00:33:30] I will. Two things one people we met with before you know that person is beforehand and you’ve got to actually meet with them. You need to have present to them one on one like that tends to be the person who just wants to kind of puff their chests like they need to be they need to be shown as being partners in it so whenever possible when I know there’s the person who is going to just totally derail it is actually try to bring them in ahead of time. Right. It’s another thing that takes time that’s becoming a theme here. But sit down with them. I’ll get your thoughts before I go into the meeting. You know you’re saying before I go in and you’re completely torched my meeting and won’t shut the hell up. Why don’t we talk about this. So then I can lob them credit. You know I met with Joe beforehand and we kind of discussed this and this is what we came up with and then once they get some credit they often will you know shut up. The other day you have got your back and the other thing is I think it’s to what we started off with when you walk in and you’re meek and timid it’s just kind of an opening for the people who are trying to get visibility and who are maybe career oriented. And I definitely will say that it’s a hot button. I never think of this is like a career furthering thing. But that’s a subject for another episode. I think it’s the people who say oh I’m in a big meeting.

[00:34:56] I need to show that I’m smart. I need to chime in. And part of the way I can do that is make the analyst look stupid. And the more that you’ve got confidence and polish and assertiveness and the harder it’s going to be for them to do that.

[00:35:10] Yeah those are great tips.

[00:35:11] I also find sometimes that audible growl can now I’m just mother joke that works every.

[00:35:20] There’s an old school sales trick called feel felt out. And it’s one of my most favorite things to use when I have someone is trying to hijack a meeting and it’s just really really silly check you’re touching them.

[00:35:34] So what you do is you gently ever so gently getting so feel felt down like it’s a sentence structure.

[00:35:44] So you you acknowledge how they’re feeling you say other people have felt the same way and then you say and when they felt that way they found something. So you co-opt this statement and then you turn the statement around to basically say whatever the hell you’re going to say in the first place. And it works really well. So Tim I understand that you feel that dashboard should only have one page but speaking with several of my colleagues in exquisite company who have been very successful they found that doing this like this led to a buildup.

[00:36:17] That would be a great examples and you couldn’t close it Koja because it just falls down and crumbles under its own weight.

[00:36:24] Embarrassed in front of your friends. All right. So I think these are really great tips and actually as we’re running short on time we should do some wrap up and talk about some takeaways.

[00:36:35] I will jump in and say that preparation and time is probably the toughest thing because where we’re working up to the last minute to try to do the best thing possible our tendency is to just get as much slice the data as many possible ways and kind of crunched that data up to the last second. And I think a lot of what has come out in this discussion is there’s a real harm to that because you may have crunched the data the 100 second way but you actually didn’t have the composure and the prep and the confidence and the articulateness going into it to actually deliver it effectively.

[00:37:22] So doing a little bit less of the analysis is something we didn’t touch on being prepared to follow up.

[00:37:28] If somebody says What about this what about the 100 second way you could have sliced it that you didn’t do to be prepared to say I’m presenting this is not I’m not throwing this over the wall and I’m done. I’m presenting. I want to have a dialogue. Sharing this stuff with you that you guys may have good ideas too. Mentally you’re saying this I’m prepared to do a follow up and come back and present more or send out more. But putting the time in to rehearse outloud rehearse in front of a mirror organize your thoughts put the agenda that says oh this is really high impact think through all of that seems to be something that we’re not daily structure of an analyst world does not is not conducive to that but it’s super super powerful. When we find the time to do it.

[00:38:15] So I get to tell you a little bit concerned about the structure of this one because I thought it was going to be kind of a strong this is frankly things I’m not very good at. Why would we do something different with episode.

[00:38:29] That’s how much it’s time for that mother joke here comes you’re ready to go. Again both of you guys like if anybody’s seen Tim’s current presentation and it is I mean that’s that’s a pretty.

[00:38:48] Tough brass ring to swing for when you’re sitting all day trying to do things that excel. I liked today’s conversation started to move into some tactical communication isn’t just rocking a room with 600 people. Communication is having that agenda. Communication is following up communication is thinking about the legibility of the work that you busted your ass to put together. So I kind of like to have some of that stuff came together. And again I know I’m dwelling on the agenda thing maybe should something to piss me off lately but that’s just such a key thing that’s really easy that people don’t take advantage of. So I like to have this rule that that is.

[00:39:23] Yeah. I mean I I second that I what I’m trying to do is even though for me I love the fancy slides and the big giant audience room. That’s not what the majority of the practitioners in this community are facing and I am trying to empower them to feel like they can take on something like that but apply it towards a much smaller audience and it does start with well before the presentation when you’re sending a meeting with a title that actually makes people want to go to that meeting and find out what’s going to happen. It’s going in there and being prepared and being prepared to walk through their information in a succinct fashion but also enable a dialogue so you guys brought that up. How important that is and also the other thing is I want to add is starting ending really strong you know what do you want them to do at the end of that. Do you want them to approve a new test plan do you want more funding for a campaign. Give them something they should think about doing rather than just say OK that’s it for now.

[00:40:25] See you in three months and use McKinzie titles on your slides right again it’s a middle of the night at the McKinzie titles Chiari. We can do every tip show.

[00:40:36] I have to leave to a way to come back.

[00:40:39] And actually that’s one of my big takeaways is I think we covered some really great topics. You know the concept of thinking through hey what do I need this meeting to be about and actually putting a good agenda into an objective in the meeting invite. I tend to get really sloppy with that. So that’s great. I’m going to fix that I guess Tim. I guess I will reconsider what I think about tables and their usefulness and whether they could be theoretically while I’m not a data visualization guru I’m certainly a student of the game and I’ll think about that a little bit. I’ll review the research. Not saying I’m converted just saying I’m willing to learn. And then I think the other thing that is a big takeaway is that there’s a lot more to take away Leia’s Web site. You go to leave dot com. You can actually find a lot more information about the work that she does and how it can help your organization or help you. And she’s also on Twitter at Leah Piqua and on the measure slack. So again this is a I agree with what you said as well Jim. It wasn’t immediately clear you know how this show would kind of work itself out but I really like how it did and I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface and there’s a lot more really exciting things for people to learn. And Leah I think you’re also getting ready to start a podcast can you tell us a little bit about that as well.

[00:42:08] I would love to my call.

[00:42:10] So it’s true.

[00:42:14] So I’m launching the present beyond measure show. You can subscribe on iTunes. I’ll have a page on my Web site. And basically it’s a show that’s going to sit at the intersection between data visualization presentation and analytics exactly the stuff that we’re talking about today. But it’s really designed to empower anyone at any level in our community to feel like they can deliver a data presentation an email a phone call a web X and really leave a huge mark on their team and move forward in the way that they want inside meetings external industry meetings it’s going to cover all of that. So I’m really so excited to get it off the ground.

[00:42:56] Last point for me if you were listening to this podcast and you like it we want some more love on iTunes. So if you like the podcast go to iTunes give us some positive comments and I will. DMU on Twitter.

[00:43:09] The mother joked that with a meeting I might trade to you. That’s the secret tip available that you went to iTunes. That’s great.

[00:43:20] Well and again if you liked what you heard or you have questions or comments we’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page which is Facebook slash analytics our on Twitter at analytics our and also on the measure slack group which I believe we have update on with a way to get into that if you’re not already in it on our Facebook page as well. Thanks again Leah for joining us. We’re excited about the launch of your new podcast I think.

[00:43:46] Just a short discussion we’ve had on this show has shown us that it’s probably going to be a phenomenal podcast. Can’t wait to listen. And for my cohost to Mosen and Jim Cadian the analytics power hour signing off.

[00:44:03] Thanks for listening. And don’t forget to join the conversation on Facebook Twitter. We welcome your comments and questions. Facebook dot com slash. I don’t know.

[00:44:13] I don’t think that on Twitter. We’ve made up. Word.

[00:44:25] So here. Are we ready to go. I’m ready to go. I’m going to make love to have. My. Ticket analytics. I could be anal in analytics. We put the P in API. I’ve been called the Bob Ross and they had a letter.

[00:44:45] From my third bourbon. 6:00 a.m. right. Yeah.

[00:44:53] Yeah yeah okay fine I’ll go. Really want to mail the high kick don’t want to love that Pottasch. I agree. Right now I have to go to school. What. Is that. From can. Dashboard has a real Corinthian leather. Ready any.

[00:45:25] Editing is really great. That’s the best thing about this show.


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