Graphical Presentation Of Tabular Data – Histograms (Part 2 of 5)

This is the second in a series of articles aimed at showing the benefits of presenting tabular data in a graphical format.

The first article explained how to carry out a simple survey which could be completed by children, the results being presented in a tabular form. Although the results could be reorganised to produce tables showing the data in different formats, such as by name in alphabetical order or in ascending order of height, the interpretation of the data is not immediate to the person reading it and conclusions may not be easily drawn. This not only causes difficulties for both the surveyor and the reader, but can be a little discouraging for the surveyor in trying to determine what they have achieved from their efforts.

We therefore need to display the data in an alternative format so that more can be achieved from the data gathered. One way of doing this is to use a graphical representation known as a histogram.


A histogram is the best graphical method to use for plotting and displaying continuous data such as height or weight. It is not so good for displaying data known as discrete or discontinuous, where the subject has distinct survey criteria such as hat sizes or colours.

Let us assume that the child’s height survey, already mentioned in article one, consisted of a sample of 25 children all of the same age. The smallest child was 1.105m tall and the tallest height was 1.687m.

The visual representation of data for a histogram is a chart where the data values are represented by vertical columns whose heights are equivalent to each of the values of one of the survey’s criteria and all these vertical heights are proportional to each other. The width of the column is immaterial but is usually the same for each value displayed. It is preferable that the survey data is recorded in ascending order of height so that the smallest child’s height is recorded first.

Using our survey example above, the vertical axis, or as it is more commonly known, the ‘y axis’, would represent the height of each child within the survey and would range from 1.0m to 1.7m in ascending order. All the surveyed height values of 1.105m to 1.687m would be contained within the chart. The horizontal axis, or ‘x axis’, would represent the 25 names of the children in the sample.

For each child’s name a point is plotted on the chart corresponding to the height of the child. A vertical narrow column is then drawn above the child’s name up to the height point. This column can be given its own colour to differentiate it from its neighbours on the chart. All the remaining children’s heights are plotted in a similar way. If two or more children have the same height then the columns are drawn adjacent to each other. This is where using different column colours or patterns makes identification easier.

This simple histogram will be a series of vertical columns, the shortest on the left and the highest on the right. It will be clear from this chart which child is the shortest, which is the tallest and where each child is placed within the survey. It will also show in which height ranges the children’s heights are concentrated. As stated previously, the survey results will be of greater benefit for interpretation if all the children were about the same age or in the same class at school. Different colours could be used for boys and girls to show how their height ranges varied, if at all.

This form of data presentation is more pleasing to the eye and understandable than any of the spreadsheet tables. The person presenting the survey will find their output much more satisfying and should have greater pride in their achievement.

The next article in this series considers the use of vertical column, horizontal bar and cylinder charts. Details will be provided as to when they should be used, how they are constructed and the benefits that they can provide, both to the presenter and their audience.

When Making a Business Presentation – Create a Happy Ending With the 3Hs

What is the outcome and takeaway message?

We are now ready to be more precise in describing what you want the audience to think, feel and do both during and at the end of your presentation. An effective happy ending is written down. It should be about 20-25 words and cover 3 main areas. The “3Hs” – head, heart and hands. In other words, what do you want your audience to think, feel and do by the time your presentation finishes?

This process works for any audience. Your “happy ending” can be written with this thinking process:

Think with your head”

What do you want your audience to think during and at the end of your presentation?

Feel with your heart”

What do you want your audience to feel during and at the end of your presentation?

Do with your hands”

What do you want your audience to do during and at the end of your presentation?


Let’s take a sales situation. You are presenting to a client. Your intention is to influence and your purpose is to gain an agreement-in-principle for your proposal.

“Think with your head”

I want my client to think we are competent, capable and ideally suited to help them.

I want my client to think we understand their business situation and we are committed to help them improve it.

I want my client to think we are easy to work with and have the resources to provide excellent service.

“Feel with your heart”

I want my client to feel confident in our capabilities.

I want my client to feel certain that the outcomes of the proposal will be delivered.

I want my client to feel comfortable in our communication styles.

I want my client to feel we are the best choice.

“Do with your hands”

I want my client to express confirmation that the project objectives are in line with their expectations.

I want my client to understand the proposal options and indicate a preference.

I want my client to select a start date for the project.

I want my client to map out the next steps we take following the meeting.

Now edit this into a sentence that defines your happy ending for your presentation. For example, in the above example:

At the end of my presentation, my client will…

…think we are competent, capable and ideally suited to help them, feel comfortable in our communication styles, and select a project start date (23 words).

Use the happy ending approach to write your 25 words for all your presentations. It will clarify your thinking and help you focus on what you wish the audience to think, feel and do at the conclusion of your talk.

Credit Card Debt Negotiation – New Laws Help Consumers Negotiate Their Debt

The current recession has caused so much financial crises that most of the consumers are knee deep in liabilities. The unemployment rate has gone up and so has the inflation. Under these conditions credit card debts are causing a lot of stress which has in turn increased the number of filed bankruptcy. The increased number of bankruptcy has affected the economy of the State very adversely hence many are taking help of debt relief programs to get financial stability.

Debt settlement programs are used widely as a relief alternative since it removes a certain percentage of the debt making it affordable for the consumers. The new settlement laws have been made more consumers friendly. The settlement program is legal and there are several settlement companies in the market who perform it on behalf of the debtor.

According to the new settlement laws if the consumer owes more than ten thousand dollars in debt then they can negotiate a debt settlement. A successful debt negotiation can get a debt reduction of about 40 % to 60 % of the total balance. In this way the creditors can get back some money from the borrower instead of nothing had the customer filed for bankruptcy. Also they can show this settled debt amount for tax benefit.

This helps the debtor to pay off his debts easily without adversely affecting the credit score. It does not mean that debt settlement will not have any negative impact on the consumer’s credit score, but the effect will be much less than that caused by bankruptcy.

Hence it is in the benefit of the debtor to use settlement as an option to get out of debt. A good settlement negotiation can reduce up to 60% of the debtor’s debt.