Presenting Your Way to Thought Leadership with Moe Kiss

Present Beyond Measure Ep. 038

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE:

Introducing Moe Kiss

Presentation jitters are common among almost every person who gets on stage. In act, it is so common that Jim Sterne even says, “if you are not getting nervous, you are not doing it right.”

So how do all of these good speakers do it? Moe Kiss describes her experience by sharing that before she started working in data analytics, she had stage fright to the point where she couldn’t even give a wedding toast without significant anxiety.

And now, Moe Kiss leads the analytics team at The Iconic where she spends her days understanding customer behavior through data and analytics. She is an active organizer in the analytics community and President of The Analytics Association in New South Wales, Australia.

She co-hosts a bi-weekly podcast you may know called The Digital Analytics Power Hour on All Things Analytics. She is a strong advocate for gender and cultural diversity, organizational mentoring, and networking. What changed for her?

In this episode, Moe takes us on her thought leadership journey from stage fright to successful presenting.

In This Episode, You’ll Learn…

  • How she was able to overcome performance anxiety to give presenting a chance.
  • The people who inspired her to jump into the data and analytics world.
  • Why she goes back to watch her performances and how she uses those videos to become an even stronger presenter.
  • How she moved from creating powerpoints to writing memos.
  • Who her biggest inspirations are and why they are significant.
  • How she reduces the potential for color to improperly influence her interpretations of data.

People, Resources, & Links Mentioned

Moe’s Upgrade:

  • “The one thing I learned that created a fundamental shift for me was the importance of using black and white or grayscale when doing my analysis. It is so easy to be in Tableau, Excel, or Data Studio and the colors come automatically, and it is tempting to just keep them in place. But, color has a significant influence on your interpretation of data and can influence how you interpret it. So I turn everything back to grayscale until I know the type of point I am trying to make.“

How to Keep Up with Moe:

Thanks for Listening!

Thanks so much for joining me. Have some feedback you’d like to share or a question for Moe? Leave a note in the comments below, and we’ll get back to you!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the left of the post.

If you liked what you heard, I would love if you could leave me a rating or review in iTunes. Ratings & reviews are extremely appreciated and very important in the rankings algorithm. The more ratings, the better the chance of fellow practitioners getting to hear this helpful information!

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates and never miss a show.

A very, very special thanks to Moe for joining me this week. And as always, viz responsibly, my friends.

Do you have a burning question for Moe about channeling your nervousness into excitement and giving a strong and confident appearance on stage? If so, ask away!

EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION

Lea Pica: [00:00:00] Happy Hollow week here. Todays guest is a woman in analytics who might already be gracing your measure podcast airwaves. Stay tuned to find out who’s rockin the radio on the Present Beyond Measure Show episode 38.

Lea Pica: [00:00:41] Hello and welcome to the thirty-eighth episode of the Present Beyond Measure Show. The only podcast at the intersection of presentation data visualization and analytics. This is the place to be if you’re ready to tell data stories that make maximum impact and become indispensable through thoughtfully presented insights. Slightly belated, I hope Halloween was gleeful and safe for you and your families and that the scariest part of your Halloween was that decadent candy pie and maybe not a candy pie chart. That’s much scarier. I just got back from headlining Digital Analytics Hub in Austin, Texas which was amazing. Wow what a unique event. I now understand what all the fuss has been about for years.

Lea Pica: [00:01:34] You know with its intimate number of attendees and the very frank and open conversations during these huddles you know it really stood out for me and I feel so energized after all of the amazing experts and practitioners I got to meet so if you have a chance to attend DA Hub next year I really recommend it. So I am so excited about today’s guests because when I first met her she was just getting started in this measure business and today shes a household name in the land of measure podcasts.

Lea Pica: [00:03:27] Lets go.

Lea Pica: [00:03:35] Hello everyone. My amazing guest for today leads the analytics team at the Iconic. Day to day she focuses on understanding customer behavior through data and analytics. She’s an active organizer in the analytics community serving as president of the Analytics Association in New South Wales, Australia. Yes and she co-hosts a bi-weekly podcast you may know it as the Digital Analytics Power Hour on All Things Analytics with my dear friends Tim Wilson and Michael Helbling. She is a strong advocate for gender and cultural diversity, organizational mentoring and networking. And I’m thrilled to have her as my next guest in my women in analytics spotlight. Id love to introduce you to Mo kiss welcome.

Moe Kiss: [00:04:25] Hi. Thank you so much for having me. I feel incredibly privileged to be here now.

Lea Pica: [00:04:31] Well the honor is really mine. The forces of our podcasting power have now joined. So Mo we first met quite a while ago all the way in Australia. When I came to do the Loves Data Conference-Analytics Conference and you know we had met through your sister Michelle who I don’t know is a somewhat well-known member of the analytics community.

Moe Kiss: [00:05:00] Kind of a big deal you know.

Lea Pica: [00:05:01] Shes on the up and up and up you know. But I felt we connected so strongly and I still remember that conversation so much because you were just diving into the world of analytics. I think you had just made a career change and you were figuring out whether this was for you. And now fast forward to today. You are co-hosting one of the most popular, probably the most popular, analytics podcasts in her space. So that’s big news.

Moe Kiss: [00:05:29] You are exclusively rated when you use that caveat. It really helps us with our numbers. Yeah yeah, it has been a pretty crazy journey and I have learned so incredibly much. I’m so grateful that conversation for me and I remembered that trip for me was so incredible and I think back to it now.

Moe Kiss: [00:05:54] And cause Simo Ahava was also there and I met Tim Wilson and Jim Stearn was there and all of those people have played yourself included and played such a big role in shaping the direction that my analytics career has taken that it kind of yeah sometimes meeting people and getting to speak to them really early on when you’re figuring things out. I think its really beneficial.

Lea Pica: [00:06:20] Yeah I mean having the luxury to talk to that group that early. I think a lot of analysts would love that. And all of them I mean that that trip was truly that lineup was truly amazing. So you know Id love to know in terms of not just the practice of analytics what actually inspired you to start getting out there and doing public speaking.

Moe Kiss: [00:06:43] Ok. It was actually that conference that inspired me. Sorry, I watched you speak and you were probably the best speaker that I’ve ever seen. Yeah.

Moe Kiss: [00:07:01] And I remember sitting there and the thing is that people don’t realize I speak a lot internally at my company and at web analytics, Wednesday and conferences and people don’t know that I had like a very chronic fear of public speaking. I mean to the point that I would shake so badly that I thought people could see it. I wouldn’t sleep for two weeks. I avoided doing wedding toasts like that’s how kind of gripping my fear of public speaking was.

Moe Kiss: [00:07:32] And I remember sitting there in the audience watching you talk about your journey from kind of where you come and the passion that you had for the subject matter that you were talking about. And that’s kind of where I clicked. It was like OK I can do this too.

Moe Kiss: [00:07:51] I can overcome this and it was it was actually yeah that presentation and that’s why I think that conference sticks in my mind so much is because it was the first time that I really was like OK I’m going to I’m going to do what it what it takes and its taken me a couple of years and so so so much practice.

Lea Pica: [00:08:14] Yes.

Moe Kiss: [00:08:16] And I just I really want to encourage people that this is I don’t think this is a skill that most people have naturally. I think its a skill that you have to really work out and learn. I think maybe my whole life I’ve met one person who public speaking comes very naturally to them. But other than that every person I know like yourself and Jim and even my sister and Tim and like everyone that you look at who is a good speaker in our industry its from hard hard work and saying yes. So yeah for me it was very much determined like I’m going to crack this I’m going to set this personal goal.

Moe Kiss: [00:09:02] And yeah like three years later I’m not going to say like I still get completely nervous.

Lea Pica: [00:09:08] Oh good. You’re human.

Moe Kiss: [00:09:10] Yeah. Actually, Jim said to me when we were over in Hungary he goes Moe, if you’re not getting nervous anymore you’re not doing it right. But I think one of the key differences that I’ve really worked on is channeling that nervous energy into enthusiasm. And I think that you can you can harness your nerves in a really productive way to make you a better presenter. And it doesn’t mean it is not scary but I think it was both you and my sister who just kept hammering – practice practice practice and that I think that’s my biggest advice.

Moe Kiss: [00:09:51] The better you know your content the more comfortable you be especially when you’re starting out.

Lea Pica: [00:09:56] Well first of all I am incredibly humbled by that sentiment. I know it never ceases to amaze me that you decide to take a crazy leap and get up on a stage and think wow do I have possibly had something to offer these people because in that presentation I was so early in my speaking career that I was like I can’t possibly have anything valuable, who am I to be up here. And you know it doesn’t matter because you bring something so unique and special. Each person has such a unique and special lens to what it is and voice to what it is they’re doing and I’m 100 percent in alignment with you on channeling those nerves into enthusiasm that is word for word. That is what I tell my workshop students to do. I’m not kidding I’m like, did she steal that.

Moe Kiss: [00:10:51] Maybe I heard you say it at some point.

Lea Pica: [00:10:54] But I mean its it is a tactic I’m sure I picked it up from somewhere but I think that is so important and I love what Jim said especially because he’s such a masterful Speaker is that for me, once you start getting too comfortable and you don’t get nervous anymore you are not bringing that, as much passion and drive. And I believe that the speaking should constantly almost keep you on a razor’s edge of just between comfort and discomfort because you’re going to feel alive in that space and you’re going to grow in that space. And even if, I’ve found even with some of my signature keynotes I’ve given them so many times that I live inside them that I have to make these little tweaks just to keep myself on that edge so I maintain that energy you know.

Lea Pica: [00:11:48] But I loved everything that you said and you know do you have any other things that you do to overcome nerves which I totally relate with you.

Moe Kiss: [00:11:58] So I think I think you told me at some point that before you know maybe I heard on the podcast before you present you often do some yoga stretches that mindfulness meditation. What I do before I go on stage is actually the Power Pose. So I don’t if you’ve ever seen. Amy Cuddy. She does a TED talk on the Power Pose.

Lea Pica: [00:12:23] I think I’ve heard of it.

Moe Kiss: [00:12:25] Oh I’m obsessed with it and people at work now know me because I will often say to people like especially if you have a big meeting that you’re going to go present at. If you are getting up to talk on stage if you have something that you are a little bit nervous about and basically the concept that she talks about is if you stand in a position that makes you powerful so think like Wonder Woman or superwoman or something like that. I sometimes do when a nice lunging power pose. Whatever the position is if you can stand in that you actually trick your brain into thinking that you’re confident. So instead of being nervous its basically yeah its kind of a trick on your mind. And now its something that I associate with like yep okay I’m going to nail this. I’m gonna go get it and sometimes I do it in the bathroom a bit embarrassing next to me doing my purpose yeah.

Lea Pica: [00:13:22] Ah next to where I’m doing my power pose.

Moe Kiss: [00:13:22] If you haven’t seen I mean its video I really recommend it. Yeah and that’s that’s kind of my tip for just before you go on but I know lots of people have their own little rituals.

Lea Pica: [00:13:32] Absolutely. I was actually I mentioned this before. Eric Feinberg is still one of the top guests that I had in terms of the sheer number of tips he had for presenting more confidently and he’s a masterful presenter who makes it look so easy and natural and he gave me one of my still most quoted lines from that show which is there’s nothing natural about a natural looking speaker. You know he had a musical theatre experience, I had a ton of musical theatre and opera experience and I still would panic before a presentation because it took practicing that specific content to get comfortable and live inside of that and it is a skill. You can have raw talent, but you must hone it and you know refine it in order for it to be really a tool. And I don’t believe that a small subset of ultra-human superhumans is the only ones with it I really feel its a lot it’s alive and so many of us, just untapped.

Moe Kiss: [00:14:39] Yeah I think its even that you need, its something a skill that you have to reflect on a lot and especially like I will often go back and watch videos. Its really painful and awkward but you catch the phrases that you keep saying or the way that you’re standing.

Moe Kiss: [00:14:56] And I actually was I did a course at one point previously in my career about how to deliver training.

Moe Kiss: [00:15:04] And one of the things that the guys want me to do which I’ve actually found really useful is that he put little spots on the floor so that it would encourage me, like in a triangle, encourage me to step at different points between the three spots. The other thing that he told me which I loved, these are some of like the little tips and tricks. And he and I’ve actually again talked to Jim about this before about using your voice to sometimes get a little bit faster when you’re trying to create that excited energy. So when you’re about to be like all I’ve got these amazing finding and I’m going to share it with the business.

Moe Kiss: [00:15:42] Sometimes you can use speed in a really effective way to get the audience really excited and likewise you can slow down or soften your voice and get quieter when you want the audience to really like lean into you. And so I’ve started watching other good speakers and you can see when they’re doing these things, the audience leaning or they put the phone down or that are really giving you that body language. And I think that’s why you have to go back and watch because you don’t see those cues or remember those cues when you’re on stage because of you’re so bloody nervous that it takes until afterward where you can be like oh yeah I did that. Well how do I make sure I do that again next time. It really is an art form.

Lea Pica: [00:16:32] And its a real exercise in bravery to go back and watch yourself. This was one of the ways that I used to practice I would record myself and then use that to practice when I couldn’t speak out loud. It would help me internalize the content and then and I remember hearing that I would switch the first consonants of two words backwards and forwards and even when I had one of my recent podcasts transcribed I said the words so at the beginning of every sentence. If that were a drinking game and the word was so we’d be in the hospital.

Moe Kiss: [00:17:12] You swap words? Like a really concerted effort.

Lea Pica: [00:17:19] I hope this doesn’t go awry. But like brown dog would be down Brog or something. The first consonants of two words I would switch them and I had no idea that I was doing this.

Lea Pica: [00:17:32] And I also noticed things like uptalk when I would sound like I’m asking a question when I’m really, and that hurts peoples confidence in you because they’re like Are you asking me?.

Moe Kiss: [00:17:44] Well you know that’s actually Australianism so people always accuse Australians of doing that when they speak, everything sounds like a question so you feel at home here.

Lea Pica: [00:17:53] Perfect?

Lea Pica: [00:18:00] Well that’s all. This is all amazing I loved these very actionable tips that you’re giving the audience. So I want to change gears and talk to you about taking an analytics practice and taking your expertise in something and going from that analytics reporting squirrel term that Avinash has coined and starting to leverage presentation into paths of thought leadership. I call it going from Grind to Guru basically and you’ve clearly shown that path and in terms of establishing yourself in this field so Id love to know what that looks like at your current organization.

Moe Kiss: [00:18:42] Thank you. Yeah. I’m not. I think we all suffer from a little bit of imposter syndrome. So it is kind of tough to think of yourself that way. But I think it just comes down to a little bit of bravery and understanding.

Moe Kiss: [00:19:00] And kind of, this is the trade that I’ve made because I want to learn more and in order to learn more you need to get feedback from people who are not just people within your organization, especially people who are doing similar jobs at other businesses. And so the only way to start that conversation is by sharing what you’re doing. So most of the times that I talk about stuff I talk about my work. I talk about the challenges of that particular analytics task, I talk about my findings about the methodology because if I don’t share what I’m doing how can I expect to get any feedback on it. So for me I suppose it came from kind of selfish place of wanting to grow.

Moe Kiss: [00:19:41] And being a little bit vulnerable. And I think we kind of where we were actually talking about this on our podcast about whether analytics practitioners are too hard on themselves. Sometimes we need to be a bit nicer and I definitely think were pretty tough on ourselves that sometimes its ok if you share something and you haven’t got it right. I mean if some if it starts some amazing conversation with someone halfway across the world world that can help you fix that bit of code or answer that question better than I’m kind of all for it and you kind of just need to give yourself a break if you do make a mistake and be like yep I’m going to cop that. And I do it all the time. Like on the Digital Analytics Power Hour where I say something and I listen back and go oh wait I know better than that. But that’s OK. That’s part of learning.

Moe Kiss: [00:20:32] And I just I think if you are passionate about analytics and what I didn’t touch on earlier is the whole reason that I transitioned into digital analytics is because my sister works in industry but she kept talking about all these really nice people that helped each other out. She like all of her friends her partner and all work in analytics and she would always be saying how this person that works at this different company was giving her hand on something and I just thought, I want to be part of that community. And so for me, I suppose I don’t think of how do you become a thought leader at all. Its more just how do you keep learning and how do you keep getting back to that community that are so incredibly supportive of me.

Lea Pica: [00:21:20] Actually I really love that reframe and I think I meant it in terms of people, certain people will be ok doing reporting and are okay with that space. But for the people that want more and are not sure how to just, grow and get more out of you know they’re passionate about something and they want to talk about what they’re passionate about but they don’t have an outlet for doing that and learning how to present. Can I find really paved a path to that if, like what you said you can work around this very real condition called imposter syndrome and Id love to dissect that a little bit. You know I can remember actually it was in Australia when I was really just getting started. Someone down there had bought a ticket to the show because I was going and I was like What. Why. Well.

Moe Kiss: [00:22:26] That was probably me!

Lea Pica: [00:22:26] That’s sweet, it was not you. But I just said to myself I’m like why would someone do that.

Lea Pica: [00:22:32] And its the first thought that you have in your mind and its quite a detrimental thought because we really are our own worst critics. We really are always judging ourselves on the thing we didn’t say or forgot to say and think what could we possibly offer that is unique. They must have heard this before. This is what I grappled with. They have to have heard about pie charts before but many didn’t. And I think the key is no ones heard it in your specific voice with your experience right. So how did you start removing some of those blocks an imposter syndrome blocks as you became more visible.

Moe Kiss: [00:23:19] I think yeah its such a tough one because I think that imposter syndrome disappears but the way that I have tackled it is my family we moved all the time growing up like every two or three years. And whenever I moved somewhere new I made a deal with myself that I would say yes I would say yes to every single invitation. I would say yes to every party, whatever it was. I just became a yes person because its the quickest way to make friends and settle and if you don’t you will always find a reason to say no. And I used the same method when it came to moving into analytics. I said yes to everything even the times I was completely terrified. And I think by just becoming, especially if you want to get out there if you do want to move into that how do I become like I guess some grew my profile in the community or speak out about something you’re really passionate about. The only way I think to do it is to start saying yes and put your hand up as well. So when you get asked you say yes but you also need to volunteer like I walked in to measure camp not measure camp Web Analytics Wednesdays and there was this group of like guys at the front of the room massive nerds in the T-shirt. They all knew each other.

Moe Kiss: [00:24:37] And I remember the first time I got up to ask a question and I was petrified, like I was shaking, these you know all these people have worked in this industry for so long. Well, you know what are they going to think of my question, will they think I’m stupid? But you just have to start getting up, you have to start. And I like the easiest way to do it is to volunteer because then you get to know the people then you might be like oh actually I know something about that topic I can add value you like join the committee you know help organize measure can like get involved with DAA whatever it is like. And if you don’t like speaking that’s OK. You can do a blog or a podcast or something different but I think the first step is to make a deal with yourself that you’re going to put yourself out there.

Lea Pica: [00:25:29] Right. These are all so great. And you know I want to actually talk about the specific way you guys have of exchanging information at the Iconic because its I think leveraging something that has been popularized by another notable figure in the online marketing field. So would you like to speak to that a bit.

Moe Kiss: [00:25:54] Yes. When I joined the Iconic I basically got told I was never allowed to use a PowerPoint which is really awkward because Id come from an agency and I was really good at using PowerPoint or Google Slides or what have you. And the way that we communicate all analysis and major decisions is in a memo which is something that Jeff Bezos started at Amazon and we’ve adopted. At first, I really recoiled away from this practice because in the memo whatever visual you come out with it doesn’t actually take center stage its often secondary which is the complete opposite.

Lea Pica: [00:26:41] Wow interesting.

Moe Kiss: [00:26:43] Yeah but what I’ve found which is really interesting for me personally is that because you have to write a memo and its like kind of one-page memo, can’t be more than six, you have to really craft the narrative behind your analysis. And that has actually been a really good skill for me because you have to think so much about what the question that you’re trying to answer. What are the key points of your findings? What decision do people need to make off the back of this analysis and then put that together in a written format which is very different to being able to speak to it and we will still go through the graphs and all that sort of stuff in our meeting? But through this process which I so didn’t enjoy the start and now I see the light. The thing that’s been really good is when I’ve actually come back to do presentations externally that format has helped me much better create the narrative before I start my slides. I used to kind of just be like here’s what I’m going to talk about and then you know you bring your slides together and this note your outline. And this is something I remember reading lots of your blog about at the start and the process of memo writing is very similar to structuring a really good presentation. And so in writing all these memos, I feel like I’ve gotten better at here is exactly what I’m going to talk through in my presentation from here is a question I was trying to answer. Heres my methodology. Here are the important findings and creating a really good narrative. So yeah while I was initially reluctant in hindsight it worked out pretty well.

Lea Pica: [00:28:29] This is so interesting. I’m going to have to look into this format a bit more because what I’ve tried to do is for my students is create a overlying narrative structure on a linear presentation medium which is challenging because what my practice used to be which I think is pretty common is wed get asked to present something and then we just start taking screenshots of charts or dashboards in excel and dumping them in one slide after another and not really taking a step back to the birds eye view to understand how do these slides stitch together what is the thread of the story that pulled through. And with this structure that I teach its based on something called the Presenting By Boxes Method by Olivia Mitchell. Sure I’ve mentioned it on this show but it basically creates a sort of memo if you fill it out in the format that its supposed to come in where it starts with your introduction has an overarching message or headline and then builds out a supports that headline with the evidence of the story underneath and that whole brainstorming outline and structure has no visuals to it whatsoever its all in one glance. But its this sounds kind of similar because now you are forced to think about how you are telling a story without just relying on a crutch. And then this slide has a chart and then this slide has a picture.

Moe Kiss: [00:30:05] And the funny thing I’ve noticed as well is and I’m sure that I’ve heard this from you. And the concept of a McKinsey Title where your side is the title. That is something I’ve actually taken into my memo writing where and we’ve had some interns at the Iconic that I’ve had to help coach on this where they put like the heading for the paragraph is like demographic split in Australia and I’m like why would you bolded that as a heading. You want the heading to the paragraph to be the inside which is actually something I learned from doing better presentations which I’ve now pulled into my memo writing because the truth is like even if it is a one to six-page document people skim read and so you want them to read the heading because that’s the most important thing.

Lea Pica: [00:30:55] You’re absolutely right. You want to think if the executive got called out of the room right now could they walk out of that room with the most important message of that meeting. Or would they not have a clue about what you’re talking about the McKinsey title. Yeah, it is a key tool in my tool belt and one of the analogies I love to use like storytelling with greatly told stories to contrast with what was actually doing in the meeting. And its like you know if I put up a headline if I put up a slide where the title was a story about medieval people with dragons flying around or you know its something that happened in the game of thrones. This just happened in game of thrones which one is going to be more compelling and interesting its not going to be saying this is a show about medieval people with dragons running around. You know it’s going to be what’s actually happening not what it actually is.

Moe Kiss: [00:31:53] Yeah yeah I think its a kind of challenge people to give it a go. Jeff Bezos has written a whole bunch of stuff publicly on the concept of memo writing but even if that’s not something that works in your business you can even use it in your email. Keep your sharing results via e-mail and getting in that frame of mind of having that really good narrative of what is the question that was trying to answer. What are the key points that the decision maker needs to know what are the key findings and really getting yourself to understand how to be concise and then and there’s a lot of leeways. Kind of what sections we include and don’t include but my favorite is always next steps because what’s what is the next step that we need to take from this. Do we need to make a decision? Do we need to make a change like what is it as a business and it puts so much more credibility and weight behind the work that you’ve done and gives it value versus just you know here is here is an excel sheet that I did some stuff on and you figure it out yourself.. Lea Pica: [00:33:02] Totally – you are speaking my language right now.

Moe Kiss: [00:33:05] Yeah but I feel like that’s because I’m a child of the Lea Pica School. So I’ve just put all of this stuff that I learned from you into practice.

Lea Pica: [00:33:14] I agree with everything you’re saying right now everything. You are my greatest student. No, but I mean I think what if you’re making a company like Amazon work efficiently with the monstrous mountain of data they work with you have to focus on conciseness, brevity, focus, and that’s what I love about some of the tools that we’re talking about. It’s about bringing focus because so often were asked to just bring campaign results so well bring every metric we have about campaigns. One after the other hoping one of them will stick when instead were not looking past that initial request and saying What are three questions I could ask the data that would make my stakeholder’s life better this quarter. What would make them a win this quarter? What would get them there? Like thinking about from their own needs and I also think there is a glut of presentations. I get asked so many times were asked to do a one-hour presentation every week of a dashboard and I’m like OK I’m seeing a lot of mismatches there because if its a dashboard hopefully itself its designed in a way to be self-driven. But also you know what is happening as something happening as a result of that. You know like what. What can you do. So as an alternative I’ve given people an option of condensing to like three major points they have in their analysis and writing a little writing a major headline in an email and then writing a blurb about three data points with a little visual just so its there’s something for the eye to grab onto. But I found that to be an excellent replacement for really unnecessary meetings.

Moe Kiss: [00:35:11] It was actually funny last night. I was sitting with a marketer who came over and I was so excited. Just like Moe I’m so really sorry to bother you and interrupt your day and I was like this is my favorite thing.

Lea Pica: [00:35:23] So she had a Google sheet and shes like we’re trying to make this decision. And this is all of the data that we need in order to make a decision about whether or not we make this change. But it was going into a really high level like 2019 strategy document that I’ve been helping our CMO on which is just massive. And I was like they need like this much information to make that decision because in the greater scheme of the document it is tiny. And we went from like I think there was twenty four lines of different data points of every single metric under the sun. There was bounce right. There was page there was screen views. There was page values. I mean you name it. It was on this sheet. And I just felt like we just kept sitting there and paring back and paring it back and paring back until eventually we had like six lines that were really easy to compare.

Moe Kiss: [00:36:17] And then we just put a sentence on the top to summarize why we’re making the recommendation that we’re making. If anyone wants more information like you know your stuff you can answer those questions. That doesn’t mean you should include all 24 lines in the document. And its legitimately my favorite thing to do. Yeah. Just love it.

Lea Pica: [00:36:40] Yeah just getting it getting it down to the separating the wheat from the chaff is really the practice. Right. So when you’re watching other presenters either in your own organization with these memos or outside I know you attend your fair share of industry events. What do you see that presenters are getting right when they are grabbing your attention and they’re leaving you feeling like that was worth your time.

Moe Kiss: [00:37:07] Oh this is oh I love this one. I’m really passionate about leaving the audience with things that they can actually do. Pretty much. If I’m not super interested in a presentation Ill start working through it which is awful. And its a really hideous practice. If I’m really excited about it you can tell because I’m tweeting and I take notes and I’m really engaged and I think there’s still so many high level talks and I don’t know if maybe its the stage that I’m at in my career. But there are too many high level talks the best talks, the ones that I find the most value in is where people are really honest about one like their failures what didn’t work when they tried something what didn’t work what the results were because that’s the stuff that you actually go back to your desk and go OK I can do something with this. And so I saw I’ve seen some really great presentations about like different AB tests about technology stack changes but its always about being vulnerable and sharing what you’re working on if you give me some like really high level stuff about like machine learning is amazing and we should all do it like I’m probably not going to be super but if you’re like hey here’s a model I built here. The problems that we faced. Heres how we put it into production. I will be all over it. That’s to me like the best kind of presentation you can do.

Lea Pica: [00:38:37] Oh man I’m totally on once again totally in agreement with you.

Moe Kiss: [00:38:45] Lets invent some controversy here.

Lea Pica: [00:38:47] Know. I love pie charts exploding. No I agree with you. I think that part of this whole mission that I went on was born out of seeing very well-intentioned aspirational and abstract talks about things and especially in the realm of data storytelling a lot of the content online I’m thinking I’m like but what do I do now. What should I do when I sit at my desk so the three questions when I’m crafting a new presentation the three questions lets see if I can remember them. Is that your audience is asking is why am I here. What are you going to show me that I don’t already know. And what am I going to be able to do by the time I leave you. If you haven’t created a presentation with those three question answers to those three questions you run the risk of having an audience going what just happened?

Moe Kiss: [00:39:52] I especially think time is so valuable and there are so many industry events nowadays and its actually really hard to find time to learn the new skills that you need to learn whether its a new language or a new tool to go to events. And I just think peoples time is so incredibly precious that like the worst feeling is when you take a day out of the office to go to a conference and you will be like. Eh. And some Yeah. And I just find there. There’s also still a shocking amount of people who work in data and analytics that think its acceptable to put like 50 points on a slide.

Moe Kiss: [00:40:33] Oh yeah. Lea Pica: [00:40:35] Well its all. Its what everyone else is doing around them and they’re just not taught any other way. Its like any other life skill that college doesn’t really prepare you for this gluts…

Moe Kiss: [00:40:48] I just feel like some of this stuff. Its not hard. So where where does the mismatch happen?

Lea Pica: [00:40:57] The intuition.

Moe Kiss: [00:40:58] Yeah. Because honestly I started getting really passionate about visualization like pretty much straight away when I moved into analytics and I think it was because my sister was like you need to check out Lea Pica, you’ll love her. And then I said I picked just one copy of the book you recommend Slideology which is like my Bible. I still, I even give it to UX people who are all over it and love it. I give it to anyone who will pick it up.

Moe Kiss: [00:41:26] So its a topic that I’ve always been really passionate about and I don’t think I’ve perfected. I think I could do better. But its something that is so fundamental to how do you make someone understand all of this hard work that you’ve done because that’s what analysis is. It is hard work. Its slogging, you’ve got to clean data. It’s not easy. The most important bit does they actually understand it so that they can go in action whatever it is they need to act.

Moe Kiss: [00:41:54] And if we don’t do that right. Well, I feel like all the analysis in the world doesn’t matter. Lea Pica: [00:41:59] Yeah. And I would even I’m gonna call you and raise you say what about presenting so well something so clearly, concisely, and succinctly and with such a high confidence level that you made it look easy that your stakeholders like Wow I have a feeling that was hard but man they must be so good that they made it look easy.

Moe Kiss: [00:42:24] I will say though that in our industry one thing that’s plaguing me a little bit is that sometimes at the moment. And I think the whole like you know the machine learning and AI and all of that stuff. Sometimes, people, I think they need, they almost want it to be complex like its so hard. And I’m still figuring that bit out. So if you come across any tips I’m keen to hear them.

Moe Kiss: [00:42:52] Were almost stakeholders want to know that its really complex and they can’t understand and its this blackbox. That’s I think tricky conundrum that’s starting to see industry that maybe didn’t exist and I don’t know if that’s the same in the US but in Australia and sometimes people want complex for the sake of it. And Matt Gershoff is someone who often speaks about like sometimes the simplest solution is the best solution. You need to guide your stakeholders towards that. But I don’t know what that is that drive is it just because its cool now maybe.

Lea Pica: [00:43:26] Well I wonder if there’s a couple things at play where if you keep yourself at arm’s length from something that seems really complex then you’re not accountable for understanding what’s really underneath. You can defer that response and I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that but you can defer that responsibility and saying I’m not even going to know enough to be dangerous so I’m going to let you handle that. But but I know that its very complex and yeah it is the buzzword right now AI machine learning is I’m still wrapping my head around how that would affect data storytelling and the kinds of data you tell stories with. But I think that there is a tendency to latch on it’s like the latest version of the iPhone. There is a tendency to latch on to these newer concepts and they’re like Christmas presents wrapped under the tree of shiny and you have no idea what’s in them but they’re all you can think about. So I don’t know, that’s my one take is thinking about it that way. Moe Kiss: [00:44:33] I think that’s a pretty good summation.

Lea Pica: [00:44:36] Just a guess. So I want to actually transition to a special section you are I believe my second guest for this so I’m starting a new spotlight on women in analytics where I’m featuring the most well-known respected names in our field and I love that you’re a part of this. So you know in terms of it there’s not a question that we still work in and what I would deem to be a male-dominated industry and yet there are so many women being celebrated for their accomplishments in this field as well and I want to know like what do you think are the keys to success for you in terms of being a notable woman and the analytics industry.

Moe Kiss: [00:45:21] The key to success.

Lea Pica: [00:45:24] Or like what were some of the stepping stones that you know you were able to use that maybe surprised you.

Moe Kiss: [00:45:35] One I often talked to women and they say and its I guess more of an I don’t know if you want to call it inspirational talk or like here’s what you should know if your career transitioning or you want to grow in data and analytics. One thing I have never been ashamed to use is my networks. And women are traditionally not good at that. They feel bad about asking people for help. And we just need to get rid of that crap because it is that. Like guys have always used their networks professionally. And it’s not a dirty word. The reason that I got to have really incredible conversations with you and team and Jim that conference is because I just had a bit of gut and I asked. It’s not because I was any less deserving or more deserving than anyone else in the audience. You need to call on people and ask them for favors and help. And the funny thing is people like helping people. It makes other people feel good when they can help you. So I think I know crazy right. So use your networks if you are not sure of something and there’s someone that is willing to put a hand out take just grab it. And I always say like the first job I ever got in analytics was actually through my network. That doesn’t mean that I was inexperienced or unqualified. I went to turn up to the interview I still had to get the job and convince them to give me the job. I just think sometimes particularly women are really reluctant to call in the people they know. And if anything on top of that think about how to grow your network how can you help other people in the same position that you were a few years ago. Because it also makes you feel good too.

Lea Pica: [00:47:30] For me you couldn’t not have recommended a better strategy than asking for help and for me you have touched on what I think is one of the greatest catch 22s that is plaguing the corporate world in general which is and I learned about this dynamic in this very thought-provoking and not everyone is ready for it but its called The Queens Code by Alison Armstrong and its about a code of language you can use to tap into how men tick from a woman’s perspective. And its it can ruffle feathers if a person is not in an open-minded place when reading about it but one of the most valuable things that I had to work around is this idea that I am independent, I am capable, and I can do everything on my own especially everything a man can do. And in reality that might be true. But one of the most productive things I have found is learning especially how to ask men for help. Or more importantly if they offer help to accept it. I was the I was always denying men’s requests to help me. Oh I got it I got it. Its totally fine but we don’t always understand as they need to help us. They need to be able to offer help and allowing it to be received by us something that actually like enlivens them and and its this whole breakdown that I see in the corporate world because we do want to establish our strength and our capabilities and we were afraid to seem weak if we’re accepting that help.

Moe Kiss: [00:49:14] The funny thing is that sometimes the person whos giving the help can also learn a heck of a lot by helping someone as well. Absolutely. Which is yeah. I think some positives on both sides.

Lea Pica: [00:49:29] Yeah that’s great. And did you have any setbacks or struggles they encounters that were related to you know trying to make your way as a woman in this field or did you find yourself just having a great go.

Moe Kiss: [00:49:47] Yeah I definitely had setbacks. I’ve had moments which have been inappropriate or unfair. What I would say though those things they throw you back and can feel like kind of almost like a bit of a smack in the face when you’re like whoa I didn’t know that this stuff still happened but I think its really important that we don’t dwell particularly as women in this industry and not share. Like get out there and talk about war stories because the truth of the matter is I don’t think its fair and I think that men and women should be treated equally I think they should get the same pay for the same work. All of these different things but that’s also a bit of life and sometimes you have to focus on playing the hand that you’ve been dealt. You might have a worse hand than someone else but that doesn’t mean you can still have an amazing career just because you had a few bad cards. So what I would suggest to is focus on how can you drive change rather than complaining about what’s gone wrong in the past.

Moe Kiss: [00:50:55] And I think the driving changes is often about having frank conversations letting people know when something makes you uncomfortable or something. You know it wasn’t reasonable and that sort of thing and those can be hard conversations.

Moe Kiss: [00:51:11] But if you come at it from the perspective of I don’t want another woman in my team to go through something like this or to have that experience or whatever it is I think you can normally find a really good solution whereas if you find if you just kind of complain and this is fair of any problem people just kind of get sick of it.

Lea Pica: [00:51:30] Oh absolutely I think that’s an amazing mindset to have. You know I’m always trying to help people focus on what is going to be productive. As someone who used to be the queen of ruminating over things and resenting things and complaining about things you know instead of resenting the situation what can you do to be inspired by that situation. You want to get to that position. What. Lay out the plan that’s going to get you to that position. And as my mom would say stop worrying about what everyone else is doing and focus on yourself young lady. She’s Romanian.

Moe Kiss: [00:52:07] Your mom sounds like a very smart woman.

Lea Pica: [00:52:10] She is the smartest I’ve ever met and very wise. You know its its about being inspired for me. So you know to wrap this part one of the things I love to do is really send the love out into the world. Is there an example of a woman and a man who were really excellent support systems for you as you went on your path.

Moe Kiss: [00:52:36] They’re going to be so cliche I know. But I decided that I still had to go with the people here you have been the biggest support to me. And unsurprisingly my sister Michelle has just been incredible. And one of the really nice things has been that as we’ve been at different places in our careers and like particularly shes probably been less on the technical language side. We’ve been able to kind of return the favor to different places. I mean she used to get some really stupid questions from me. And shes always just kind of sucked it up occasionally sent me. Let me google this for your link.

Moe Kiss: [00:53:21] But she has just been like a complete rock and I  wouldn’t be where I am in analytics without her support the other person who gets so awkward all the time when we talk about him equally in the context of supporting women in analytics is Tim Wilson. He is just a damn overachiever. I think the man doesn’t sleep because I don’t know how he does all the stuff he draws but he is so giving with his time.

Moe Kiss: [00:53:51] And he throws so much of his self into everything he does whether that’s mentoring someone whether its the podcasts that we do together whether it’s even just me whinging to him on Slack about needing some advice on something. Hey he really is grumpy but the most supportive beautiful person ever.

Lea Pica: [00:54:16] Well if he’s listening right now and he’s not already 12 shades of purple I’m going to make it much worse because if I had if I had to give my shout out it would also be to him. He’s actually responsible for me deciding to create this business you know and inspire. Like making me think like people would actually want to learn this stuff and it hasn’t stopped since there and I agree with you if anyone in this industry has the privilege of encountering Tim Wilson and his grumpiness will be forever changed in the best way possible. That’s right Tim talking about you. So anyway.

Lea Pica: [00:55:02] I call the next segment the upgrade which is power tip or a resource for doing our job of presenting data more awesomely so do you have a quick tip to share.

Moe Kiss: [00:55:13] Mine is and again I feel like sometimes the stuff that I’ve learned from you is intertwined with people you recommended. And another really amazing woman that I follow a lot of is Donna Wong and the Wall Street Journal. And so I actually can’t remember who first told me this one. But it is basically when I asked her my analysis.

Moe Kiss: [00:55:36] And this created a fundamental shift in how I did things. I now automatically change everything back to black and white or greyscale. when I’m doing analysis. And the reason its so easy to be in Excel or in Tableau or in Data Studio and the colors just come automatically and you keep them. But the reason that I think this is a power tip that is really crucial is how much the color influences your interpretation of that data. And it also then can interpret and can influence how you visualize it so late as soon as you get it into some kind of graph going back to grayscale and then only choose to add the color when its actually when you’ve worked out what point that you’re trying to make with that specific graph. And that’s my like number one gospel that I follow.

Lea Pica: [00:56:31] I love that tip and its actually in my main keynote and, funny story. It never came clear to me how powerful a tool that could be until I did Digital Summit a few months ago. And I had my fully colored graph which people are accustomed to seeing but then I took the color away set it to gray and then just highlighted one data point and a gasp went throughout the room. I’m not kidding. I never saw a reaction like that.

Lea Pica: [00:57:01] And when I asked people after what resonated for them they’re like the color the color the color it was like this eureka moment of what can happen when you use color as an intentional tool rather than just an arbitrary decoration. Love that one. All right this is our wildcard question So think hard here. Imagine this very plausible scenario you’re cooking at a family reunion potluck when suddenly you trip and fall into a rip in time that pulls you back to the moment you’re about to walk into your first presentation. What would today you say to yesterday you.

Moe Kiss: [00:57:47] It would have to be about harnessing that nervous energy. I would say something about how basically giving myself some advice that I’m going to hit it out of the park no matter what. But use your nerves to be enthusiastic at key points during the presentation because of something it did take me really some time to learn how to do that. And I think had I been able to harness that earlier or maybe better I would have kind of been on my way a little bit faster and that’s certainly something that I learnt with time so past me would definitely have been grateful to know that tip. But I also think just you’re going to do an awesome job.

Moe Kiss: [00:58:31] You really are. That’s the thing when you get up in front of people you’re petrified like you are convinced everyone can hear the quiver in your voice to shake your hands. The truth is no one else sees that stuff its just you. Yeah. So letting myself know that hey you’re going to kill it you’re going to do great kid yeah. Pretty much.

Lea Pica: [00:58:53] I love all of those. Oh my gosh Moe. I wish we could talk for the rest of the my evening and your morning. But unfortunately our time has run out. So I would love for you to tell listeners where they can keep up with you.

Moe Kiss: [00:59:10] Yeah pretty much on Twitter and Measure Slack. Yeah Getting around most places the cost of course the Digital Analytics Power Hour. And happy for any feedback if there’s topics that people want to talk about or they’re interested in reach out and let me know.

Lea Pica: [00:59:28] Awesome and all of the links and resources everything we talked about today is going to be on the show page for this episode. So I just want to thank you so much. Like I said before the conversation we first had I don’t know five years ago now never left me. It was one of the most rewarding experiences I had from traveling all the way down there as a first. And just to watch you progress and make a name for yourself in this field. But like you said from a place of service you know you generally want to help people and serve them and help them grow and I resonate with that so much so its really been an honor to have you on today.

Moe Kiss: [01:00:06] Thank you that’s incredibly kind. And really I feel very privileged to be on the podcast and chatting with you.

Lea Pica: [01:00:14] Excellent. Well till we meet again. [

Lea Pica: 01:00:21] Isn’t she awesome. What an inspiring episode. So much for me and I really hope for you as well. So to catch all of the links and resources mentioned in this episode please visit the showboats page at leapica.com/038.

Lea Pica: [01:00:38] Todays presentation inspiration is from someone anonymous someone out there and they say the hardest battle you will ever have to fight is between who you are now and who you want to be. I want most story to speak a message that you don’t let your own limited beliefs about what you’re capable of stand in your way. The next time you look at someone up on that stage and think oh I could never do that. I challenge you to stop and respond with. Oh hell yes I could. Heres to the path. That’s it for today. Stay warm. Namaste. And now Imago.

Lea is a digital analyst and marketer turned Data Storytelling Evangelist. She trains thousands of digital practitioners and consultants in the art and science of impactful data presentation through her blog and podcast, The Present Beyond Measure Show. Lea is also the creator of The PICA Protocol™, her practical prescription for healthy, actionable data stories that inform decisions, spark ideas, inspire action, and make YOU indispensable.