8 Steps to effective Data storytelling to engage with your audience
- March 21, 2022
- Posted by: Jignyasa Bal
- Category: Blogs
Step 1: The Data Processing
Data follows a straight path with few rigorous regimes to become useful.
Data collection from various sources → Data preparation (Categorize and structure the data) → Data exploration/analysis (Derive actionable insights from the data using advanced analytics) → Data modeling/presentation (Translate into a format that is easy to comprehend by the decision-makers) → Data deployment (To be shared with stakeholders and consumed by business users)
Step 2: Combining the three Key Fields of Expertise
Data storytelling uses three major skills: Data science, Visualization, and Narrative.
Data science: This is an interdisciplinary field of sciences that employs algorithms, processes, methods, and systems to extract knowledge and insight from data. The actionable insights are then applied across multiple domains. Data professionals are skilled at identifying, collecting, organizing, translating, and delivering data. However, most of the time they lack the skills to convey the true meaning of the data and influence the audience.
Visualizations: Data visualization transforms data sets into graphs, charts, and other visuals, making it easier to understand and derive insight from the data. Dashboards are the result of technological advancement that helps to monitor events or activities on a real-time basis. Interactive dashboards even allow you to sort, filter, or drill into various data sets as required.
Narrative: Narrative is the most important part of data storytelling. It structures the story and uses language as per the audience type to deliver information. Just like a story, a data narrative contains a beginning, middle, and conclusion.
Step 3: Inform through Tales
Cognitive scientists Roger C. Schank states, “Humans are not ideally set up to understand the logic, they are set up to understand stories.”
The data tells us “what is happening”, but when it is presented in the form of a story, we understand “why it is happening”.
Step 4: Use the Correct Language
A data story does contain a lot of numbers and visuals like graphs, charts, or videos, but these should not be the only focus. Statistics represent isolated views on data without demonstrating the cause and effect of those data sets.
Here language comes to the rescue. Appropriate words make data consumable for stakeholders who might not be data-savvy. For example, what the telecommunications industry calls churn, the insurance market has named it a policy lapse, and in the education sector, it is called attrition. Language also answers the business questions, in business terms, and in a format that the stakeholders will remember.
Step 5: Make it Human-centric & Create an Emotional Connection
Numbers are not interesting, people are. Researches on short-term memory and working memory capacities point towards our limits in remembering numbers. However, if you take a diversion from logic and directly associate with the audiences’ hearts, you will create an emotional connection. They will pay attention and care about your message.
Step 6: Drive a Message through Stories
You are telling your data story to make a point and to let the audience understand what you have figured from the data. Data storytelling is not just about presenting facts. You should make an impact by offering the stakeholders a takeaway. A good data story is informative and persuades your audience to a conclusion.
Step 7: Find the Compelling Data
Your story is not interesting if they do not add any value. For engaging data stories, you need to find compelling data that is relevant for your organization. Here compelling data is not just raw data, it also includes the processed data with appropriate data themes that provide insights into how the business is running and what changes should be made to reach goals.
Step 8: Present Data in Different Ways
A bar chart can show the height comparison of the tallest buildings in the world, but when pictures of those buildings are depicted, they make the presentation captivating. You understand the differences in heights, make the connection, and even remember which one is the tallest. That is great data storytelling!
There is no correct way to tell a data story. It is all about how do you want to present your data and influence your audience.
The effective way is where you keep your stakeholders infatuated with your data and achieve your data storytelling objectives.
Learn more about data storytelling.
The Art of Business & Data Storytelling
Effective Storytelling with Data