Presentation authors and coaches often advise speakers to tell personal stories because it helps connect the presenter with the audience. Visualized conference speakers were effective at doing so, with Kim Rees talking about growing up interested in data and numbers, Sha Hwang showing pictures from his trip around the world, and how Mike Pell draws his inspiration from artwork his sister created who passed away in 2011. Jonathan Corum started his talk with two months worth of pictures he took of the atrium in the NYTimes building, his personal everyday experience.

Quotations-06The most personal presentation was that by Benjamin Wiederkehr whose story he married with visualizations of his own data. Benjamin has a terrific data visualization news and information page that I regularly follow, but I took more from the personal side of his talk than the visualization work itself. I was riveted to his talk and, importantly, the way he delivered it: slow, clear, and with a narrative arc that together weaved his personal story with the data.