The Art of Storytelling through Data

The Art of Storytelling through Data

“This meeting is very important for us. We need the further budget to continue this project.  The presentation has to be solid and impressive. Make sure you add some colorful charts – pie charts to it”

I have heard the business guys making this kind statement a number of times.

This is not the right way to use the data. To just take it as it is and then put a chart on it.

You should be able to tell the story using the data. Here is how you can do it

  • First decide the idea and theme that you want to present. Create the context for it that will prepare the audience to look at the data that you are presenting. Identify your audience and what the data will mean to them
  • Now select the data that is required. It sounds obvious but we tend to use all the data just because we have it.  That just dilutes the focus.  So trim the data – timeline wise, attributes wise. Aggregate it if that tells your story better. Believe me, less is more when you are telling the story
  • Select the best visual representation. Each view presents a different aspect. A pie chart would show the market share better, and a line chart may show the growth rate better.
  • Add your interpretation of point of view to the slide –  that directs the audience to look at the data accordingly
  • Don’t even use the charts if they are distracting just show the conclusion, be ready to drill down if asked
  • And end with your conclusion and recap.

Story telling thru data is a powerful tool.  What are your go to structures or tools to tell your story?

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