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When a Course is More Than a Course: 3 Ways “Great Graphs in Excel” Was Beyond Graphs

Updated on: Aug 22nd, 2022
Data Visualization in Excel
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Last year, I finally enrolled in the Great Graphs in Excel course. After 2 years of thinking about it. And thinking I’m retired and I don’t really make graphs anymore. But I knew I had 10 years of mentoring data I wanted to analyze by the end of 2021.

Beyond Graphs 1: I made a Great Graph after just a Few Course Modules

Soon after the course started, I brought Ann data about who connected with me on LinkedIn after I was listed as one of Nick Martin’s 9 Amazing Humans to Follow. Nick has a HUGE network and I got over 69 connection requests in the first day. And requests continued for more than a week!

So I made a graph to go with a post on LinkedIn, applying all the learnings from the first few course modules.

Sue Griffey's horizontal bar chart showing the number of LinkedIn connection requests she received each day.

Beyond Graphs 2: 2 Things I Learned in 10 Minutes of Help in 1 Office Hour Session

I examined the few data variables on the LinkedIn connection requests. My impression was validated. Only 2 of 136 requests had a personalized message (despite LinkedIn experts emphasizing the need to personalize connection messages).

I tried different ways to display this finding (waffle chart, pie chart, and this one). Luckily, Office Hours were the next day. (Office Hours are a CAN’T MISS opportunity for immediate feedback!)

Sue Griffey's donut chart with miniature people icons in the center.

Ann took one look and exclaimed, “Ooh, let’s try the WeePeople font!” (Well, maybe not exactly like that!)

She then quickly used WeePeople to show the data.

Learning 1: More relevant and representative visuals with icons showing diverse silhouettes

Sue Griffey's icon array showing 136 tiny human-shaped icons.

(Hooray – No more using just the standard male icon.)

And then Ann taught us all how to make a gif which was even more effective at telling the “only 2 of 136 people” story.

Learning 2: Using a gif can give readers a quick result from your data

Sue Griffey's animated GIF showing how many connection requests she received and how many included personalized messages.

And, for those who follow LinkedIn stats to see how their posts engage, the post with the bar graph got 4,765 impressions and the 2nd post (the next day) with the gif got 8,778 impressions!

Beyond Graphs 3: Now I’m Applying a Mental Checklist to Graphs and Charts

No – not only to the few graphs I’m making.

The course taught me and heightened my awareness to look at all the visual elements in the many graphics we see each day. There was so much learning from the course modules. And then many great opportunities in Office Hours to learn from what others were working on.

Here are things I find I am automatically looking for in these graphics:

And a Beyond Graphs Bonus: Consistency and Efficiency

I consider myself a digital pioneer. But I didn’t know what I didn’t know, even being a longtime Word, PowerPoint, and Excel user.

I jumped into the course, and my efficiency increased in the first week! The course started – not with graphs – with ensuring basics including branding by setting my color and font defaults.

And then, a couple weeks later, I set up branding for a 3-part seminar series I did for Waey, the Association for Community Health in Saudi Arabia.

A screenshot of the Theme Colors that Sue Griffey set up in her Microsoft products.

And I now have the consistency across Excel, Word, and PowerPoint and across my different PCs. What a difference!

This is just the tip of the iceberg of everything I am doing differently after Great Graphs – Excel!

Ann’s wise counsel and breadth of experience shared unstintingly!  

Connect with Sue Griffey

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suegriffey/

Twitter: @SueMentors

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-rjWX4ZmTdo0S3ssKbut_A

SueMentors Resources: https://suegriffey.fyi.to/suementors-resources-for-your-professional-presence

A no-cost short course: Build and Update Your Professional Presence in 4 Steps at this page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/4-steps-to-build-update-your-professional-presence

More about Sue Griffey
Sue Griffey (She/Her), aka SueMentors, is also known as the Mentor with Pom-Poms. Sue helps all levels of professionals in their transitions with a mentoring practice that spans the globe. She focuses on uncovering evidence-based results and showing the HOW to get you to the next career path step. Her hallmark is using real-world examples to demonstrate her practical advice for your professional presence. Dr. Griffey is an experienced evaluator and international development professional in program and performance evaluation, monitoring, informatics, applied research, and training with 25+ years of increasingly complex and challenging management and leadership. She served as VP and Director of the Evaluation Center at Social & Scientific Systems until early-retiring in mid-2014. Dr. Griffey previously spent 9 years at JHPIEGO, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University, where she was Vice President for Technical Operations. Prior to that, Sue spent 20 years living and working in various overseas settings.

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