Blog How To Tell A Compelling Data Story

Most people use data in their jobs but not everyone knows how to communicate and present their insights clearly. Knowing how to tell a data story is critical to ensure people will take action on your findings. Why a story? Our brains are wired to be drawn in and connect to stories so people will remember and take action from them.

There are a couple challenges when it comes to creating these stories:

  • Identifying executive priorities is difficult- how do you know what to highlight?
  • Clear visualizations are an art- how do you design the right stories?
  • Telling an affection data story is essential- how do you deliver the insights?

During our recent Data Storytelling Virtual Summit, Zack Mazzoncini, Founder of Data Story Academy and a Co-Founder of data and analytics firm Decisive Data spoke about how to tell a compelling data story.

Zack gives us three tools to transform confusing data into stories that create clarity and inspire action.

The Blueprint: Find the right data stories

Ask yourself the following questions before even beginning the story.

  • What questions will be answered?
  • What actions will be taken?¬†
  • What results are expected?

The Canvas: Design the right data stories

  • Purposeful layout, you should follow the intuitive path and ask yourself where do the eyes lead naturally
  • Intuitive visuals, create quick cognitive insights with your visuals
  • Color with meaning, choice should be purposeful and draw the eye to important area
  • Allow for flexibility, prepare for additional questions
  • Simply and eliminate distractions, you should¬† allow audience to focus what matters and eliminate unnecessary distractions like borders or images
  • Smart Text, never underestimate the power of concise and clear text to propel a story, this is pivotal to getting the insights across
  • Optimize for Sharing, you should understand how the story will be used after the presentation. Do they need it on mobile? Do they want to email it?

The Story: Deliver the insights

  • The first 30 seconds matter, studies show we gain or lose the audience in the first 30 seconds, you must do something to grab their attention!
  • Bring emotion + passion, show the group why you are interested in this data story, your passion will spread into the room.
  • Practice!¬†Presenting and public speaking is hard, practice will alleviate those nerves and result in a better delivery.

Zack's session at the summit