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Tell your reader what they are looking at

Using charts in your documents could save you and your reader hundreds of words.

But your chart is a wasted opportunity if the reader doesn’t get your message from it. Or worse, skips past without even looking at it.

Here’s a tip to make the charts in your documents have more impact: Instead of giving a chart a title that simply describes its content, write a headline for it. Tell the reader what is the chart’s message.

For example, instead of “Analysis of profit by product” go with “Product A generates 80% of our profit.”

By doing this you make it easier for the reader to interpret the chart and you also reinforce the message you are (presumably) making in the text. And if a reader is skimming your document they will still get the message from the headline even if they don’t read the text

Bonus: this tip works just as well in presentations. Put your headline in the title field of a slide and have a big, clear chart under it.

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

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