This series is an offshoot from my nationwide corporate workshop on “You Will Own The Room”. 

If you want to see part one where I explain the who, what, where, when, why, and how, click here.

So . . . bar charts. We all use them. They are so simple and yet we go out of our way to make them complex and hard to read. Again, it’s not your fault — MS Powerpoint and Mac Keynote offer up so many features, you are lured into the world of 3D, colors, shapes and sizes!

I’m here to bring you forward — to easy to understand, easy to design, and effective bar charts.

Let’s step back for a second and review why we use bar charts:

  • They take a boring list of numbers and make them live on the page.
  • They allow you to make additional insights into the data which would be difficult with a list of numbers.
  • They are powerful. And they can be easily skewed by modifying the values, timescale, or other measures.

What’s a good, simple and easy to understand bar chart? Here’s one:

Untitled 7.001

Why is this bar chart better? I’m going to hit many of the same points for your presentations:

  • You are not inundated with a barrage of colors.
  • You don’t need a legend.
  • The data labels and percentages are placed right onto the bar chart.
  • Why use colors? You don’t really need them.
  • The best part? This slide can easily be printed — and the viewer can also take notes on it.
  • I also added internal ‘tick marks’ to each bar to easily allow you to count the block and quickly estimate the value. So there are three ways to get the value from each bar.

Next up . . . Slide Design & Backgrounds!