Advanced Business Writing
Presentation and Graphics

Contribution

Again, to keep graphics and data interesting and clear, use three steps:

1. Choose the right graphic.
2. Support it with words.
3. Keep it simple.

Choose the right graphic (and do the graphic right).

To show contribution of parts:

use a Pie Chart

 • Use no more than 6 sections.
 • Arrange clockwise from the top.
 • Order by size or importance.
 • If there are too many sections, combine less important ones.

To show contribution changing over time:

use a Subdivided Column Chart

 • Use no more than 5 components.
 • Position the most important component at the base.
 • Use different shadings to distinguish the components.

Support it with words.

 • Make labels easy to read.
Place them horizontally, even if you must shrink a graphic. When possible, use full words instead of abbreviations

 • Make the headline refer to the graphic.
Write the chart headline as if it were the heading of a newspaper article. Use dynamic words to summarize the main message of the chart, which should be about, or supported by, the graphic.

Keep it simple.

 • Make one point per chart.
Omit extra data, graphics, or fonts that might distract the audience.

 • Omit superfluous details.
Trim numbers to 2 or 3 significant digits. Avoid unnecessary grid lines, colors, and decorations.

Lesson: Contribution
Module: Presentation and Graphics
Course: Advanced Business Writing