december 23, 2022
Trend: Data Storytelling
What is data storytelling?
Data storytelling is the ability to effectively communicate insights from a set of data using narratives and visualisations to inspire action from a particular audience.
The benefits of data storytelling
Data storytelling is very similar to human storytelling, with an added benefit of supporting evidence through graphs and charts. Although humans have come a long way, we still prefer to hear stories over hard facts and complicated information. Data storytelling helps to engage your audience with your content on an emotional level, retain information long-term and make critical decisions quicker and more confidently.
Constructing a data story that motivates a person to take action is a very useful way of making positive impact on people and your organization. There are many advantages for a successful data storytelling, some of which are:
Provides meaning and context for your data and insights
Highlights essential key points for the audience by analysing complex information
Gives data a human touch
Offers value to your audience and industry
Establishes your credibility as a thought leader in a particular industry or topic
For the data storytelling to be successful and introduce a course of action, you need to analyse all the raw data you’ve gathered to confirm your hypothesis. As tempting as it might be, cherry-picking your data sets that only support your theory may result in wrong decision-making. Look at the whole picture instead and see what the data is trying to tell you. Then choose the right tools to communicate your data story clearly to your team. You might be overwhelmed when you are met with so much data initially, so it might be a good idea to give your story a structure. You can also follow these steps to help in your data storytelling:
Think about your hypothesis. What do you want to prove or disprove? Try to keep an objective eye when thinking about what your data might tell you
Collect and arrange data to help you develop it into a story. Does it support or challenge your theory?
Using the data you gathered, write your goal in a single sentence, which would make it easy to define the purpose of your story
Start building your narrative by outlining everything you would want to talk about in your data storytelling
Think about the actions you want people to take after hearing or reading your story. What is the goal of your audience?
As mentioned previously, don’t just look at data that supports your theory. As challenging as it might be, you need to also look at the data that disproves your theory. This will help you guide your narrative in an unbiased fashion, and ultimately, support an action or change that will help your business.