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How data can help you communicate with the new intake of MPs

The election's over and our chosen MPs have been sworn in. With 26 MPs standing down this election and 70 seats changing hands, there are now a lot of new faces in Westminster.

It means that there is a need – and an opportunity – to make sure your key messages and conclusions reach this parliament's policymakers.

Accurate data should be the basis for informed decision making, but getting it in front of MPs can be a difficult task. Data visualisation is one of the most effective ways to do this. Here's why:

1. It is more engaging

There will be many different groups vying to attract a new MP's attention, so you need to make sure you can present your ideas in the most engaging way. Research shows that when people read information, they're likely to remember only 10% of it three days later. But when that information is paired with a relevant image, people retained 65%. Vividly coloured graphs, charts and maps make benchmarking both an accessible and engaging process.

2. It is more interactive

In the past it was common to use a printed map of the UK to highlight trends, but by switching to a digital version you allow an MP to click into regions, constituencies, local authorities, wards or LSOAs and drill into the detail. It means you can present relevant data that will help them to make an informed decision that’s right for their area, as well as alerting them to the national context.

3. It has more success on social

Mobilising public support can help move an issue up the agenda. Visual presentations of data are far more likely to get attention on social media than dry text statistics; tweets with images receive 150% more retweets than tweets without. As well as raising awareness of your cause, you can also use a social campaign to encourage people to take action – for example, writing to their MP. Or, with 548 out of 650 MPs on Twitter you can also use social to target policymakers directly.

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