• Will the GOP tax plan be good for you? Graphs tell the story.

  • Posted on December 18, 2017

  • The GOP is promising their massive tax cuts will spur economic growth and increase wages. This is the “trickle-down economics” theory, based on the idea that when wealthy people have more money, they invest in companies that can now expand, hire more people and increase sales and wages.

    It’s an interesting theory. But does trickle-down economics actually work in practice? Fortunately we have nearly 100 years of data on what happens to the economy and wages as tax rates change.

    // Does the economy grow?

    Since 1929, the top marginal tax rate has gone from a high of 94% under Roosevelt down to a low of 31% under George Bush Sr. And there is evidence that as you drop the marginal rate to 70% from 91%, indeed GDP does increase (1963-1981). But when Reagan cut the top marginal tax rate to 50% in 1981, we saw no change in economic growth. When he cut it again to 33% in 1988, the economy actually contracted.

    Since Reagan’s tax cuts, we have seen three other changes to the top marginal tax rate. And a clear pattern emerges.

    • When Clinton raised the top rate to 39.6%, GDP increased.
    • When Bush Jr. dropped it again to 35%, GDP decreased.
    • When Obama raised it back to its current 39.6%, GDP increased.

    Based on this brief analysis, it appears the optimal top marginal tax rate is about 50%. When you drop below 50%, you hurt economic growth. When you increase it, you improve economic growth. So it’s likely that a drop to 37% top marginal tax rate will lead to slower economic growth, not faster.

    // Will it increases wages?

    The theory is that when wealthier people have more money, they expand their business investments creating jobs and demand for workers, which raises wages. But when we look at how wages have grown since 1967, we see a different patterns. When the top tax rate was 70%, the top 20% of families had wage growth about the same as everyone else.

    But look at 1982, when the top tax bracket fell to 50%. You can see how the blue line (wealthiest 20%) suddenly rockets away from the crowd. Wages for everyone are still increasing modestly, but the clear winner is the top 20%. Then in 1988, when the top bracket drops to 33%, we see the top 20% pull away even more, and especially the top 5% (black dotted line). In 2003, when the top tax rate drops to 35%, we now see the top 21%-40% of families (brown line) also start to pull away from the pack.

    What you don’t see is the bottom 60% enjoying any of these gains. Why is the wealth not trickling down to everyone? Because when employers have more money, they don’t hand it out as pay raises out of the goodness of their hearts. They pay what the market will bear and keep the rest for their stockholders and owners.

    // So what does trickle-down economics do?

    So lower taxes don’t create jobs and don’t increase wages. What do they do?

    The main thing lower tax rates do is make the wealthy more wealthy. Fortunately it doesn’t really hurt the bottom 60%. Their wages continue to increase modestly. And it does appear to help the middle class too, likely educated business professionals who now have more money to spend. But the truly wealthy, the top 20%, just accumulate more wealth.

    We can see in this graph how much of the pre-tax income goes to the top 0.1% (that’s the top 1 in 1,000 families). The spikes are because so much of their income comes from the stock market, so when things are bad (2002, 2009) their pre-tax income suffers. But it recovers quickly when the stock market improves.

    As the top marginal tax rate declines, the extra money gets trapped in the hands of the wealthy. They, in turn, invest in the stock market. We should expect to see the stock market explode if the GOP tax plan is approved. Again, anything below a 50% top marginal tax rate appears to be a magic number.

    // Conclusion

    There’s no evidence lowering taxes increases the economy or wages. There is a lot of evidence that it makes the wealthy wealthier while doing very little for the poor. Trickle-down economics is a fairy tale.

    So will the new tax rate be good for you? If you’re in the top 40% of income earners, you will probably see your wages increase especially if you invest in the stock market which should have a bullish couple of years ahead.

    But if you’re in the lower 60%, it will have virtually no effect. It won’t create jobs but it likely won’t kill many jobs either. And it won’t raise wages either.

    The main benefits fall to the wealthy. The data is clear.

    If you like these graphs, you’ll love my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” which I hope to publish soon. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when it’s available.


  • Storytelling with a Stacked Bar Chart

  • Posted on November 29, 2017

  • The folks over at Storytelling with Data recently asked about stacked bar charts and they did a graph makeover. I’d like to tackle that same graph from the perspective of storytelling with graphs.

    Now there’s a difference between data visualization and storytelling with graphs. Data visualization basically converts your data into a visual. Storytelling with graphs takes it a step further and draws some conclusion from the data, chooses the right graph to make that story clear and uses design principles to bring attention to that story.

    Here’s the original hand-drawn data, and my best estimate to replicate it in Excel.

    // Common Baseline
    The secret to presenting data on stacked bar charts is to arrange the bars correctly, so you are comparing data along a common baseline. That typically means moving the most important data to the bottom of the stack, so you can accurately see small differences in the height.

    For example, in this graph, you can see that “E” is increasing but has leveled off in t5-t6. You can especially see there has been a very slight increase in t6. You can also see that “D” has been declining. But the differences are less obvious because there is no common baseline. In t6, for instance, we can’t see if there was a slight increase or a slight decrease. So some of these smaller differences are harder to see.

    Product “C” appears to be about flat. Product “B” appears to be growing. And Product “A” has had a sales spike in t3-t4 and sales are now receding toward pre-promotion levels. But all of these products have no common baseline and so there’s no way to accurately see small changes.

    // The Story
    I never design a graph until I know the story I’m trying to tell. At this point, the story appears to be “Product “E” is increasing and product “D” is decreasing, while overall sales are up”.

    But notice something. The sum of Product “D” + Product “E” together are about the same across every time period. That suggests that sales of Product “E” are cutting into, or cannibalizing, sales of Product “D”. In other words, Product “E” is not growing the business, but simply shifting customers to a new product.

    Where is the growth coming from? Product “B” and Product “A”. So I’m going to put those products as the next items in the stack.

    I think of stacked bar charts like shelves on a bookcase. I want to stack my data so the important data is sitting on a shelf. For instance, I can see that Product “D” + Product “E” is basically stable. So if I stack those two products at the bottom, I will create a flat “shelf” to stack my next group. I’ll put Product “A” here.

    Notice Product “C” is relatively flat so I could have left it at its current position. But it’s not an important part of this story so I’m going to tuck it at the top of the graph. Product “B” is growing and it would destroy this flat shelf on top of Products “D” and “E”. So Product “B” will also go above Product “A”.

    // Color
    Now I’ve got the bars stacked in the right order and now I can complete the story: “Product E sales are cannibalizing Product D, with most of the growth coming from Product A”. I typically start by using color.

    Product “D” and “E” is one story and I’m going to signal that by using different shades of the same color blue. Product “A” is the second half of this story and I’m going to draw attention to that in a different color: orange. In fact, now I see that Product “B” is as much a growth driver as Product “A” so I’m also going to color code Product “B” orange.

    I’m going to color code Product “C” gray. Graphs are complicated enough without having a lot of unnecessary color fighting for attention. In storytelling with graphs, gray is your friend. It allows you to have a lot of extra detail that whispers in the background.

    // Finishing the Story
    I’ve now found the story and I want to draw attention to that story so it’s quick and intuitive. A few finishing touches:
    – I used darker colors where I want the eye to focus (Products “E” and “A”).
    – I’m also going to add some arrows showing the directions of growth/decline.
    – Make the gridlines a lighter gray – they don’t need to be prominent, just readable
    – Make the y- and x-axis fonts smaller and more gray – again, they just need to be readable
    – I’m also going to change the axis fonts to Segoe UI. The default is Calibri, but that makes your graph look like everyone else’s graph
    – Delete the legend and add it directly onto the graph. No zig-zagging back and forth to read the legend
    – Add the totals to the top of the stacked bar chart (add the total as one of the bars, then convert that into a line chart. Make the line color “no color” and add the data values)

    The cherry on top is to put the main point in the title. Voila! Now the story is instantly clear using a stacked bar chart.

    If you like this graph makeover, you’ll love my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” which shares all my secrets for drawing insights out of data and displaying data to tell a story. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when it’s available.

    About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.


  • Dataviz – How will a 20% import tax affect the U.S. and Mexico?

  • Posted on January 27, 2017

  • There’s been a lot of talk about Trump imposing a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to help pay for the wall. I don’t quite get this logic because it means U.S. businesses will be paying those taxes, and thus paying for the wall, not Mexico.

    Anyway, as this conversation continues I thought it would be useful to really understand how much business goes on between the U.S. and Mexico, so I created this infographic. The U.S. is Mexico’s biggest trading partner, buying 73% of Mexico’s exports (Source). The pie charts, scaled to show absolute size of exports, show how crucial exports to the U.S. are for Mexico. But Mexico is the U.S.’s second-largest customer (behind Canada), so it would be damaging if Mexico retaliated with their own import taxes (Source). But Mexico clearly has more to lose.

    mexico-exports-pie-charts

    Notice also that most of the products that will get this new tax are cars, trucks and auto parts. About $100 billion according to this source, or about a third of their exports into the U.S. Is this just part of Trump’s strategy to force U.S. automakers to bring more jobs back into the U.S.?

    Storytelling with Graphs cover

    If you like this graph, you’ll love my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” which shares all my secrets for drawing insights out of data and displaying data to tell a story. I’m hoping to publish it in the next few months. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when it’s available.

    About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

     


  • 5 Tips for Building Slides to Impress Any Executive

  • Posted on April 7, 2016

  • exec meeting

    An executive sponsor can make or break your project — and often your career. Impressing an exec starts with understanding how they are different: smarter, more impatient, more demanding than regular audiences.

    It’s easy to drive an exec crazy with poor PowerPoint slides. But it’s equally easy to impress an exec with PowerPoint slides that respect their need for speed.

    get to point fast

    Here are five tips to help you make an impressive slide deck for your next executive presentation.

    1. Go in with 3 points. You should be able to do your entire presentation on slide 1. What three points will you cover in today’s meeting? Expect that the executive will hijack the meeting, talk and ask questions for most of it. It doesn’t matter. You could do your entire presentation on slide 1. If the executive wants more details and evidence, move into the rest of the deck.

    2. Short decks. Execs are impatient, want to get to the point quickly and are more interested in the key issues than the details. So aim to keep the deck super-short. 2-3 slides is not too short for an exec. Keep the “thunk factor” in mind: thick decks are the bane of a busy exec’s existence. Be prepared to answer any of the exec’s follow up questions with appendix material.

    3. Concise text. Execs think fast, process fast, hate having their time wasted, so write text to enable speed-reading. Use short phrases and elaborate on them verbally. Don’t put full sentences on slides — it slows the exec down.

    4. Diagrams. In the same way, diagrams also help execs to speed-read. Diagrams, flow charts, timelines, maps are great ways to give the exec context on the entire situation quickly. And they like that. Look for ways to convert text into diagrams that show how all the parts fit together.

    5. Pay attention to slide hygiene. Executives have high standards — for themselves and others — and these things drive them absolutely crazy: spelling errors, grammatical errors, inconsistent punctuation (periods at the end of sentences or not? Pick ONE), Inconsistent capitalization in Slide titles, different bullets points on different slides, random fonts. Pay attention to these little details because the exec is.

    The regular rules for building slides go out the window when you’re presenting to execs. Keep in mind their unique need for speed and build slides that will impress them. It will pay off in turning an executive into a sponsor who can have a significant impact on the success of your project — and your career.

    About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.


  • Trump or Cruz: Who Will Win the GOP Nomination? Graphs Tell the Story.

  • Posted on March 18, 2016

  • After Super Tuesday 2.0, Trump looks like the runaway leader with 673 delegates – 260 more than his closest rival Cruz. Does this mean Trump is the most likely nominee? Or does Rubio’s exit from the race now make Cruz the most likely nominee?

    Interestingly enough, there’s a higher chance Cruz will end up with more delegates than Trump at this point. But it all hinges on what happens in Arizona and Utah on March 22.

    Utah: Cruz May Take it All
    Utah will be a closed caucus, where Trump tends to lose. February polls show Trump with only 18% support behind Cruz (22%) and Rubio (24%). If the caucus winner gets more than 50% they will win all of Utah’s delegates. Utah also has a large Mormon population and is a big Romney supporter, and Utah is where Romney announced his anti-Trump campaign.

    The polls were taken way back in Feb 10-15, when Carson, Bush and Fiorina were still in the race, and a lot has changed since then, but the writing is clearly on the wall: Utah is no fan of Trump. All indications are Cruz will win Utah, and may even pass the 50% hurdle and take home all 40 delegates.

    Arizona: Could Go Either Way
    In Arizona, Trump leads the polls with 31% vs 19% for Cruz, 10% for Rubio, 10% for Kasich and 30% undecided. Looks like a sure Trump route, right? But 10% of voters supported Rubio. Where will they vote now? Two studies found that about 50% of Rubio’s supporters would vote for Cruz and 13% would vote for Trump. If we re-allocate Rubio’s supporters, the polls are more like 32% Trump, 24% Cruz and 13% Kasich. So Rubio dropping out will help Cruz more than Trump.

    30% are undecided. But from exit polls we know that late-deciders generally don’t go for Trump. On average, 25% go for Trump and about 50% go for Cruz. That means the polls will be 39% Trump, 39% Cruz. It will be a hotly contested contest in Arizona and could go either way.

    New Delegate Math
    If Cruz wins both Arizona and Utah, the delegate counts will be Trump 673, Cruz 509. With 969 delegates remaining, Trump will need to win 58% and Cruz will need to win 75% to amass 1,237 delegates. Both will be a stretch. Kasich is the wild card, siphoning off the anti-Trump supporters.

    Now, there’s still some wiggle room because there will be about 150 delegates from various state conventions and caucuses who are “unbound” and able to vote for any delegate, so Cruz and Trump will be angling for them to help them over the finish line. And even among the delegates each candidate has won, many of those candidates are “unbound” and don’t have to vote for the candidate who won them. We also don’t yet have all the delegates counted from Missouri and Illinois.

    But here’s the fun part – Cruz doesn’t have to get 1,237 delegates. He just needs to get more than Trump, or close enough to make the argument. For instance, if Trump finishes with 1,050 delegates and Cruz finishes with 1,010, Trump can’t really argue that he deserves the nomination because he has the most delegates. Both candidates fell short but they were basically tied.

    Let’s assume Kasich wins 50 of the remaining 969 delegates (5%). If Trump and Cruz split the remaining delegates, Trump will end with 1,100 delegates and Cruz with 920. If Cruz wins 56% of the remaining delegates, he and Trump will tie at 1,049 delegates.

    Anything over 56% and Cruz will have more delegates than Trump. And 56% is not a stretch if you assume Trump’s support is capped at about 40% and Cruz can win most of the remaining winner-take-all and winner-take-most states.

    Rubio and Kasich Delegates
    If Cruz and Trump enter the convention about 200 delegates short of the majority, now they can start negotiating with the unbound delegates, which may or may not be enough.

    Rubio and Kasich delegates are bound to them for the first round, but not the second round. If they still can’t get to a majority in the first round, in the second round they can look for Rubio or Kasich to support their candidacy and encourage their delegates to vote for one of them. Look for Kasich or Rubio to use their delegates as leverage for the vice president nomination.

    And if you like my graphs, look for my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” due out later this year.

    Storytelling with Graphs cover

    About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

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The GOP is promising their massive tax cuts will spur economic growth and increase wages. This is the “trickle-down economics” theory, based on the idea that when wealthy people have more money, they invest in companies that can now expand, hire more people and increase sales and wages.

It’s an interesting theory. But does trickle-down economics actually work in practice? Fortunately we have nearly 100 years of data on what happens to the economy and wages as tax rates change.

// Does the economy grow?

Since 1929, the top marginal tax rate has gone from a high of 94% under Roosevelt down to a low of 31% under George Bush Sr. And there is evidence that as you drop the marginal rate to 70% from 91%, indeed GDP does increase (1963-1981). But when Reagan cut the top marginal tax rate to 50% in 1981, we saw no change in economic growth. When he cut it again to 33% in 1988, the economy actually contracted.

Since Reagan’s tax cuts, we have seen three other changes to the top marginal tax rate. And a clear pattern emerges.

  • When Clinton raised the top rate to 39.6%, GDP increased.
  • When Bush Jr. dropped it again to 35%, GDP decreased.
  • When Obama raised it back to its current 39.6%, GDP increased.

Based on this brief analysis, it appears the optimal top marginal tax rate is about 50%. When you drop below 50%, you hurt economic growth. When you increase it, you improve economic growth. So it’s likely that a drop to 37% top marginal tax rate will lead to slower economic growth, not faster.

// Will it increases wages?

The theory is that when wealthier people have more money, they expand their business investments creating jobs and demand for workers, which raises wages. But when we look at how wages have grown since 1967, we see a different patterns. When the top tax rate was 70%, the top 20% of families had wage growth about the same as everyone else.

But look at 1982, when the top tax bracket fell to 50%. You can see how the blue line (wealthiest 20%) suddenly rockets away from the crowd. Wages for everyone are still increasing modestly, but the clear winner is the top 20%. Then in 1988, when the top bracket drops to 33%, we see the top 20% pull away even more, and especially the top 5% (black dotted line). In 2003, when the top tax rate drops to 35%, we now see the top 21%-40% of families (brown line) also start to pull away from the pack.

What you don’t see is the bottom 60% enjoying any of these gains. Why is the wealth not trickling down to everyone? Because when employers have more money, they don’t hand it out as pay raises out of the goodness of their hearts. They pay what the market will bear and keep the rest for their stockholders and owners.

// So what does trickle-down economics do?

So lower taxes don’t create jobs and don’t increase wages. What do they do?

The main thing lower tax rates do is make the wealthy more wealthy. Fortunately it doesn’t really hurt the bottom 60%. Their wages continue to increase modestly. And it does appear to help the middle class too, likely educated business professionals who now have more money to spend. But the truly wealthy, the top 20%, just accumulate more wealth.

We can see in this graph how much of the pre-tax income goes to the top 0.1% (that’s the top 1 in 1,000 families). The spikes are because so much of their income comes from the stock market, so when things are bad (2002, 2009) their pre-tax income suffers. But it recovers quickly when the stock market improves.

As the top marginal tax rate declines, the extra money gets trapped in the hands of the wealthy. They, in turn, invest in the stock market. We should expect to see the stock market explode if the GOP tax plan is approved. Again, anything below a 50% top marginal tax rate appears to be a magic number.

// Conclusion

There’s no evidence lowering taxes increases the economy or wages. There is a lot of evidence that it makes the wealthy wealthier while doing very little for the poor. Trickle-down economics is a fairy tale.

So will the new tax rate be good for you? If you’re in the top 40% of income earners, you will probably see your wages increase especially if you invest in the stock market which should have a bullish couple of years ahead.

But if you’re in the lower 60%, it will have virtually no effect. It won’t create jobs but it likely won’t kill many jobs either. And it won’t raise wages either.

The main benefits fall to the wealthy. The data is clear.

If you like these graphs, you’ll love my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” which I hope to publish soon. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when it’s available.

The folks over at Storytelling with Data recently asked about stacked bar charts and they did a graph makeover. I’d like to tackle that same graph from the perspective of storytelling with graphs.

Now there’s a difference between data visualization and storytelling with graphs. Data visualization basically converts your data into a visual. Storytelling with graphs takes it a step further and draws some conclusion from the data, chooses the right graph to make that story clear and uses design principles to bring attention to that story.

Here’s the original hand-drawn data, and my best estimate to replicate it in Excel.

// Common Baseline
The secret to presenting data on stacked bar charts is to arrange the bars correctly, so you are comparing data along a common baseline. That typically means moving the most important data to the bottom of the stack, so you can accurately see small differences in the height.

For example, in this graph, you can see that “E” is increasing but has leveled off in t5-t6. You can especially see there has been a very slight increase in t6. You can also see that “D” has been declining. But the differences are less obvious because there is no common baseline. In t6, for instance, we can’t see if there was a slight increase or a slight decrease. So some of these smaller differences are harder to see.

Product “C” appears to be about flat. Product “B” appears to be growing. And Product “A” has had a sales spike in t3-t4 and sales are now receding toward pre-promotion levels. But all of these products have no common baseline and so there’s no way to accurately see small changes.

// The Story
I never design a graph until I know the story I’m trying to tell. At this point, the story appears to be “Product “E” is increasing and product “D” is decreasing, while overall sales are up”.

But notice something. The sum of Product “D” + Product “E” together are about the same across every time period. That suggests that sales of Product “E” are cutting into, or cannibalizing, sales of Product “D”. In other words, Product “E” is not growing the business, but simply shifting customers to a new product.

Where is the growth coming from? Product “B” and Product “A”. So I’m going to put those products as the next items in the stack.

I think of stacked bar charts like shelves on a bookcase. I want to stack my data so the important data is sitting on a shelf. For instance, I can see that Product “D” + Product “E” is basically stable. So if I stack those two products at the bottom, I will create a flat “shelf” to stack my next group. I’ll put Product “A” here.

Notice Product “C” is relatively flat so I could have left it at its current position. But it’s not an important part of this story so I’m going to tuck it at the top of the graph. Product “B” is growing and it would destroy this flat shelf on top of Products “D” and “E”. So Product “B” will also go above Product “A”.

// Color
Now I’ve got the bars stacked in the right order and now I can complete the story: “Product E sales are cannibalizing Product D, with most of the growth coming from Product A”. I typically start by using color.

Product “D” and “E” is one story and I’m going to signal that by using different shades of the same color blue. Product “A” is the second half of this story and I’m going to draw attention to that in a different color: orange. In fact, now I see that Product “B” is as much a growth driver as Product “A” so I’m also going to color code Product “B” orange.

I’m going to color code Product “C” gray. Graphs are complicated enough without having a lot of unnecessary color fighting for attention. In storytelling with graphs, gray is your friend. It allows you to have a lot of extra detail that whispers in the background.

// Finishing the Story
I’ve now found the story and I want to draw attention to that story so it’s quick and intuitive. A few finishing touches:
– I used darker colors where I want the eye to focus (Products “E” and “A”).
– I’m also going to add some arrows showing the directions of growth/decline.
– Make the gridlines a lighter gray – they don’t need to be prominent, just readable
– Make the y- and x-axis fonts smaller and more gray – again, they just need to be readable
– I’m also going to change the axis fonts to Segoe UI. The default is Calibri, but that makes your graph look like everyone else’s graph
– Delete the legend and add it directly onto the graph. No zig-zagging back and forth to read the legend
– Add the totals to the top of the stacked bar chart (add the total as one of the bars, then convert that into a line chart. Make the line color “no color” and add the data values)

The cherry on top is to put the main point in the title. Voila! Now the story is instantly clear using a stacked bar chart.

If you like this graph makeover, you’ll love my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” which shares all my secrets for drawing insights out of data and displaying data to tell a story. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when it’s available.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

There’s been a lot of talk about Trump imposing a 20% tax on imports from Mexico to help pay for the wall. I don’t quite get this logic because it means U.S. businesses will be paying those taxes, and thus paying for the wall, not Mexico.

Anyway, as this conversation continues I thought it would be useful to really understand how much business goes on between the U.S. and Mexico, so I created this infographic. The U.S. is Mexico’s biggest trading partner, buying 73% of Mexico’s exports (Source). The pie charts, scaled to show absolute size of exports, show how crucial exports to the U.S. are for Mexico. But Mexico is the U.S.’s second-largest customer (behind Canada), so it would be damaging if Mexico retaliated with their own import taxes (Source). But Mexico clearly has more to lose.

mexico-exports-pie-charts

Notice also that most of the products that will get this new tax are cars, trucks and auto parts. About $100 billion according to this source, or about a third of their exports into the U.S. Is this just part of Trump’s strategy to force U.S. automakers to bring more jobs back into the U.S.?

Storytelling with Graphs cover

If you like this graph, you’ll love my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” which shares all my secrets for drawing insights out of data and displaying data to tell a story. I’m hoping to publish it in the next few months. Subscribe to this blog to be alerted when it’s available.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

 

exec meeting

An executive sponsor can make or break your project — and often your career. Impressing an exec starts with understanding how they are different: smarter, more impatient, more demanding than regular audiences.

It’s easy to drive an exec crazy with poor PowerPoint slides. But it’s equally easy to impress an exec with PowerPoint slides that respect their need for speed.

get to point fast

Here are five tips to help you make an impressive slide deck for your next executive presentation.

1. Go in with 3 points. You should be able to do your entire presentation on slide 1. What three points will you cover in today’s meeting? Expect that the executive will hijack the meeting, talk and ask questions for most of it. It doesn’t matter. You could do your entire presentation on slide 1. If the executive wants more details and evidence, move into the rest of the deck.

2. Short decks. Execs are impatient, want to get to the point quickly and are more interested in the key issues than the details. So aim to keep the deck super-short. 2-3 slides is not too short for an exec. Keep the “thunk factor” in mind: thick decks are the bane of a busy exec’s existence. Be prepared to answer any of the exec’s follow up questions with appendix material.

3. Concise text. Execs think fast, process fast, hate having their time wasted, so write text to enable speed-reading. Use short phrases and elaborate on them verbally. Don’t put full sentences on slides — it slows the exec down.

4. Diagrams. In the same way, diagrams also help execs to speed-read. Diagrams, flow charts, timelines, maps are great ways to give the exec context on the entire situation quickly. And they like that. Look for ways to convert text into diagrams that show how all the parts fit together.

5. Pay attention to slide hygiene. Executives have high standards — for themselves and others — and these things drive them absolutely crazy: spelling errors, grammatical errors, inconsistent punctuation (periods at the end of sentences or not? Pick ONE), Inconsistent capitalization in Slide titles, different bullets points on different slides, random fonts. Pay attention to these little details because the exec is.

The regular rules for building slides go out the window when you’re presenting to execs. Keep in mind their unique need for speed and build slides that will impress them. It will pay off in turning an executive into a sponsor who can have a significant impact on the success of your project — and your career.

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.

After Super Tuesday 2.0, Trump looks like the runaway leader with 673 delegates – 260 more than his closest rival Cruz. Does this mean Trump is the most likely nominee? Or does Rubio’s exit from the race now make Cruz the most likely nominee?

Interestingly enough, there’s a higher chance Cruz will end up with more delegates than Trump at this point. But it all hinges on what happens in Arizona and Utah on March 22.

Utah: Cruz May Take it All
Utah will be a closed caucus, where Trump tends to lose. February polls show Trump with only 18% support behind Cruz (22%) and Rubio (24%). If the caucus winner gets more than 50% they will win all of Utah’s delegates. Utah also has a large Mormon population and is a big Romney supporter, and Utah is where Romney announced his anti-Trump campaign.

The polls were taken way back in Feb 10-15, when Carson, Bush and Fiorina were still in the race, and a lot has changed since then, but the writing is clearly on the wall: Utah is no fan of Trump. All indications are Cruz will win Utah, and may even pass the 50% hurdle and take home all 40 delegates.

Arizona: Could Go Either Way
In Arizona, Trump leads the polls with 31% vs 19% for Cruz, 10% for Rubio, 10% for Kasich and 30% undecided. Looks like a sure Trump route, right? But 10% of voters supported Rubio. Where will they vote now? Two studies found that about 50% of Rubio’s supporters would vote for Cruz and 13% would vote for Trump. If we re-allocate Rubio’s supporters, the polls are more like 32% Trump, 24% Cruz and 13% Kasich. So Rubio dropping out will help Cruz more than Trump.

30% are undecided. But from exit polls we know that late-deciders generally don’t go for Trump. On average, 25% go for Trump and about 50% go for Cruz. That means the polls will be 39% Trump, 39% Cruz. It will be a hotly contested contest in Arizona and could go either way.

New Delegate Math
If Cruz wins both Arizona and Utah, the delegate counts will be Trump 673, Cruz 509. With 969 delegates remaining, Trump will need to win 58% and Cruz will need to win 75% to amass 1,237 delegates. Both will be a stretch. Kasich is the wild card, siphoning off the anti-Trump supporters.

Now, there’s still some wiggle room because there will be about 150 delegates from various state conventions and caucuses who are “unbound” and able to vote for any delegate, so Cruz and Trump will be angling for them to help them over the finish line. And even among the delegates each candidate has won, many of those candidates are “unbound” and don’t have to vote for the candidate who won them. We also don’t yet have all the delegates counted from Missouri and Illinois.

But here’s the fun part – Cruz doesn’t have to get 1,237 delegates. He just needs to get more than Trump, or close enough to make the argument. For instance, if Trump finishes with 1,050 delegates and Cruz finishes with 1,010, Trump can’t really argue that he deserves the nomination because he has the most delegates. Both candidates fell short but they were basically tied.

Let’s assume Kasich wins 50 of the remaining 969 delegates (5%). If Trump and Cruz split the remaining delegates, Trump will end with 1,100 delegates and Cruz with 920. If Cruz wins 56% of the remaining delegates, he and Trump will tie at 1,049 delegates.

Anything over 56% and Cruz will have more delegates than Trump. And 56% is not a stretch if you assume Trump’s support is capped at about 40% and Cruz can win most of the remaining winner-take-all and winner-take-most states.

Rubio and Kasich Delegates
If Cruz and Trump enter the convention about 200 delegates short of the majority, now they can start negotiating with the unbound delegates, which may or may not be enough.

Rubio and Kasich delegates are bound to them for the first round, but not the second round. If they still can’t get to a majority in the first round, in the second round they can look for Rubio or Kasich to support their candidacy and encourage their delegates to vote for one of them. Look for Kasich or Rubio to use their delegates as leverage for the vice president nomination.

And if you like my graphs, look for my new book “Storytelling with Graphs” due out later this year.

Storytelling with Graphs cover

About the author: Bruce Gabrielle is author of Speaking PowerPoint: the New Language of Business, showing a 12-step method for creating clearer and more persuasive PowerPoint slides for boardroom presentations. Subscribe to this blog or join my LinkedIn group to get new posts sent to your inbox.