Communicate with Pictures: Slide:ology by Nancy Duarte [342 words]

Communicate Clearly and Stand Out

Communication is an important skill in almost every type of work. Technical reports and business proposals frequently include data to support findings or recommendations. Most people struggle to communicate visually compelling stories from data. You can stand out from the crowd if you learn to convey complex information in a meaningful way.  Nancy Duarte‘s book Slide:ology offers clear, actionable steps to transform your illustrations and improve the way you communicate.

Putting Slide:ology into Practice

Reading Slide:ology, by Nancy Duarte helped me improve my design and communicate more clearly.

Background Information

These graphics are based on the work of a user support team I managed. We started with a number of disparate processes that were impossible to measure. Our solution was to centralize our intake through a call center with issue-tracking software.

Communication Goals

The goal of this presentation was to highlight our significant improvements to customer service. The data was on our side, but we still had some vocal critics of the new process.

Specifically, we needed to:

      1. Show that we were resolving 80% of issues within two days.
      2. Give customers a clear reason to contact us by phone rather than by email
        Need to communicate call-to-action
        Before: This version shows our service level, but fails to reinforce our call-to-action.
        clearly shows that calls get resolved faster
        After: This version calls out the disparity in effective service levels between calls and online tickets.
      3. Show that we were using the data we collected to improve the process over time
        visually cluttered
        Before: Lots of “Chart Junk,” as Edward Tufte would say.
        Concise communication
        After: Does this tell the same story more simply, or did I go too far?
      4. Demonstrate that we understood confusion around our communication processes
        poorly organized data
        Before: Poorly organized data loses its meaning.
        clearly communicate the problem
        After: By combining categories with similar results, the problem we need to address becomes clearer.
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Amy C. Waninger Author Bio

Amy C. Waninger is the Founder & CEO of Lead at Any Level, where she improves employee engagement and retention for companies that promote from within. Amy offers assessments, advisory services, and training on essential skills for inclusive leaders. She is the author of eight books. Learn more at

Also available for download: profile photos, extended bios by industry



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