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Video Data Stories Deep Dive Ep 1. He Wrote the Book on Data Storytelling

In this week’s episode of Data Stories Deep Dive, we spoke with Brent Dykes the author of Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative, and Visuals about why narrative is crucial to data storytelling.

Key Insights from this episode:

– When sharing insights from data, you need narrative and visual components- it can’t be the visual alone. There is so much more to storytelling than the visual component; this has been lost in the world of dashboards and visualizations today. Without the narrative and story arc, you are missing part of the story.

– Many analysts feel that if they provide the data, that they can convince anyone of anything but that is just not the case. There’s this emotional side of the brain that is left out of this scenario but this side of the brain plays a large part in decision making. The key is to combine insights with a good narrative, the combination of the two is very powerful and persuasive for the audience.

– The structure to your information is important. It is pivotal to think about your audience and what they would care about. Your story should always have these: The set up (Bare minimum level of context needed to understand the story),

  1. The hook (Why would people care about this story?)
  2. Rising insights (what are the pieces of the puzzle that lead you to your main takeaway? Let’s build-up to the Aha moment!)
  3. Action drivers (Include potential solutions to support your key takeaway)
  4. Visualize key data points

– The best stories uses both narrative and visual to describe their points. Pick the top data points and show them visually to drive your point.

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About the data storyteller:

Brent Dykes is the author of Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative, and Visuals. Brent has more than 15 years of enterprise analytics experience at Omniture, Adobe, and Domo. His passion for data strategy and data storytelling comes from consulting with many industry leaders including Nike, Microsoft, Sony, and Comcast. He is a regular Forbes contributor and has written more than 35 articles on different data-related topics. In 2016, Brent received the Most Influential Industry Contributor Award from the Digital Analytics Association (DAA). He is a popular speaker at conferences such as Strata, Web Summit,, Adtech, Pubcon, RISE, Crunch, and Adobe Summit. Brent holds an MBA from Brigham Young University and a BBA in marketing from Simon Fraser University.

Check out his book “Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative, and Visuals“.

“At the end of the day, we are using data more than ever before. So, if we can communicate data in a way that resonates, it will be very impactful personally and professionally.” - Brent Dykes

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