Seminar: Presenting Data and Information – Edward Tufte

Recently I had a chance to attend Edward Tufte’s seminar in Minneapolis, Minnesota. From what I hear Mr Tufte presents this couple of times a week. The seminar was held in the Minneapolis Marriott City Center. This was the first time for me at this hotel. The actual seminar was from 10 am to 4 pm. You could go in early to gather your package and also have some one one one time with Mr. Tufte. He even signs your books.

So I went in, got my package and agenda. There were some recommended readings before the seminar started. I was pretty impressed with the check in process. You get tickets in an email with bar codes and the staff reads the bar codes, checks you in and give you the package.

Well I gather my stuff and sit down to read the books. It was a little hard to focus on the readings with trying to keep an eye on whether Mr. Tufte will come to you to sign the books since he was walking around and signing them at random. The package had 4 books written by Edward Tufte.

The Visual Display of Quantitative Information
Envisioning Information
Visual Explanation
Beautiful Evidence

Anyways I was lucky enough that he stopped by and talked to me for a couple of minutes and signed my books. We got into a discussion about presenting data and audience. Without going into the actual details I will give you a gist of what I learned from him in those 10 minutes that helped me understand the rest of the presentation.

Its all about the content. Know your content.
Be brief but precise and intense.
Do “what ever it takes” to present data.
Get a good template and stick to it.
Use super graphics.
Simple.

I really enjoyed the presentation though it takes a while before you really connect the dots. I don’t necessarily agree with everything he had to say but all in all I took several pages of notes and think that I will be applying a few when presenting data in the future.

I will probably talk more about his seminar in my future blogs Also the 4 books we got totally worth attending the seminar for.

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