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One Way to Keep an Audience Engaged when Presenting Data

Get the feeling that you think your data is more important than your audience thinks your data is? Try getting your audience involved in the data presentation.

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I find data and numbers and charts and graphs interesting. To an extent. But I can’t sit through 30 minutes of data being presented in a dry format. I heard similar comments from a number of co-workers after walking out of our monthly staff meetings.

One person suggested projecting slides so that we could see the data being discussed. We tried that, but the slides were often crammed too full with information and were hard to follow.

Yesterday, I reached deep down into my bag of tricks to see if we could come up with a way to keep people engaged with the statistical review during our monthly all-staff meetings. It seemed to work. 

We used Kahoot!, an online gaming tool, to ask a series of trivia questions based upon February’s monthly performance. This served two purposes:

  1. Staff had requested to receive monthly statistical data in advance of the all-staff meeting so that they could digest it and come to the monthly all-staff meeting with questions prepared. By using Kahoot! to quiz staff, we could find out if people were actually reviewing that data.
  2. It got everyone curious and paying attention and trying to answer the questions about our monthly data correctly. Between each trivia question, we paused to allow departmental heads time to explain the stories behind each data point.

Everyone in attendance – both in our Seattle headquarters as well as employees joining from remote offices around the country – were engaged and into the activity. People who didn’t bring smart phones to the meeting partnered up with attendees who had a phone.

Answering questions and waiting to see if their names made the leaderboard after each question added suspense to the statistical presentation.

And the piece de resistance?

The Goblet of Vision!

Goblet of Vision

The staff member with the highest score is awarded The Goblet of Vision (we’re an eye bank… and I’ve been reading the Harry Potter books with my daughter, thus the sweet name of this trophy) to display proudly and prominently at their desk until next month’s all-staff meeting, at which time they’ll need to defend their title or the Goblet will travel to the desk of next month’s winner.

Not All Fun and Games

I work for a very metrics-driven organization and Kahoot!, for as fun as it may be, also has a serious side. As an organization, we want to be sure everyone has a good grasp of the overall health of the organization, and familiarity with key metrics is one way to measure how good of a grasp people have.

By asking a few high level questions, we can measure how well (or how not-so-well) staff is familiar with key metrics on a monthly basis. Whereas in the past there was no way to know which staff members knew what about key metrics, Kahoot! saves data collected during the game so that we can now assess whether staff are as familiar as they could be about our core metrics.

Have you found a good way to keep people engaged about your statistics? Let’s hear about it in the Comment section.

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