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Write headlines for your tables

A picture paints a thousand words. A table of data could save you (and your reader) hundreds of words.

But your table is a wasted opportunity if the reader doesn’t get your message from it. Or worse, skips over it.

Here’s a tip to make the tables in your documents have more impact: Instead of giving a table a title that simply describes its content, write a headline for it that summarises what the table means.

For example, instead of “X division Q3 budget versus actual” go with “Revenue 10% above forecast in Q3.”

By doing this you make it easier for the reader to interpret the table and you also reinforce the message you are (presumably) making in the text.

An added bonus: if your reader is only skimming your document they can get the key message from the “headlines” you’ve written just like someone skimming a newspaper. In fact, just like with a newspaper, your headline might draw them in to read more.

Gary Bandy Limited is a company registered in Cardiff, number 5660437.

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