Data Storytelling – What is that?

‘Data’ and ‘Storytelling’ are two commonly used English language words which when combined can often leave people perplexed. Even the ones who have heard about ‘Data Storytelling’ earlier are always curious to know what exactly does it entail and how can I use it?

If either of these questions were raised in your minds, then you are not alone. Although the essence of Data Storytelling has been around forever, the term in itself is quite recent, a by-product of the Data big-bang I believe.

At it’s core Data Storytelling is about communicating effectively with your data – the findings, analysis, insights, and message. This Data communication in business is often written or visual; through emails, reports, presentations or dashboards. All of these can be made much more effective, impactful and engaging when painted with the Storytelling brush. Storytelling is believed to be the best tool for impactful communication, hence it is the most preferred choice when communicating with data as well.

If you are doing the following, you are not communicating effectively with data:
  • Your charts and writing are number heavy with no clarity of underlying insights
  • The audience requires to analyze the chart (just like with a data table) to decipher for themselves what’s going on?
  • The audience is compelled to re-read the writing and still might not get the desired clarity of the message
  •  The data points or insights from one paragraph/chart to another seem to be jumpy and you aren’t always successful in understanding how they connect

If you are doing the following, you are conveying an impactful Data Story:
  • The key insights, conclusions, and messages are clear at first glance (for a chart) or first read (for writing)
  • You can sense the invisible thread that logical connects all your data points giving it a much-needed flow and structure
  • You are not giving numbers to your audience, but you are taking them on a journey
  •  The audience finds your charts and writing to be interesting and often agree with your conclusions

If you believe that you need a little help or guidance in transforming your data communications into Stories to make them more impactful and engaging for your audience then welcome to the world of “Data Storytelling”.

Insights from the book: The Power of Data Storytelling by Sejal Vora                                            
                             Click here to know more about the book

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