Storytelling with Data

Looking back in the past few years it’s become more of a heaven-sent dream for professionals working with big data and for those who work in the analytics departments. I mean, it’s a new career path for engineers, data scientists, researchers and all professionals that handle big data to be able to move the world to data science. This can be best achieved through accurate storytelling.

But let’s think about storytelling with data. Don’t we all aspire to create good storytelling with data? To come up with great visualization that creates better understanding from people that could lead to insights that have immense potential? Well, if your answer is a definite YES then let’s keep having a read.

How do you achieve this?

  1. Understand your context well. This means that you should focus on the situational needs of your clients through practically putting yourself in their shoes and see where they are coming from then try as much as possible to address the situation.
  2. Eliminate anything that’s clutter. Hope this doesn’t sound too harsh but yes clutter! Have you at some point had a look at surveys done and you question yourself on where to start because there are just too many visual elements in a single graph that occupy space and no understanding to it? As humans, we have a low amount of mental processing power. When there’s too much clutter in your presentations you make it complicated and hard to understand.
  3. Choose an appealing visual. Since there are so many graphs in use in business settings a small percentage will suit your needs. Actually not all presentations require graphical representations. Be precise on what will address your needs.
  4. Think about your end products. Be creative, let your mind work as a designer would. You can achieve this by creating your own visuals. There you go! Let your mind be fully aware of how visualization communicates effectively with your audience and how they respond to it. This will make an excellent piece of data visualization.
  5. Tell a story behind it.  Now here is the storytelling part. Put yourself in a position where you have just read a captivating story that took you back through memory lane and strike an emotional response from you. Believe me even with a few months and maybe years down the line you will still remember it. Keep your stories engaging, simple and engage them emotionally beyond any facts placed. At the end of the day, the stories are for your clients and not for you. So you need to address their pain points effectively.

Here’s the baseline point; Insights derived from any piece of data are the same provided that they are correct What makes it different is the impact got out of it. And this is best achieved by communicating your data through great storytelling.

BUT before you show how data can be used to solve business problems, show the progress of you understanding the business as a whole. Thereafter identify a problem-solving statement that could be answered by the available data given.

Be receptive of criticism and feedback, share your thoughts and listen to feedback at the same time. Look forward to speaking the language of the business and communicate with managers, colleagues and other professionals in terms that they understand.

Remember that data science isn’t just about data models and showcasing them. What you should have in mind as a professional is to deliver results through persuasive data.

Thanks for the read and hope that you will find some of the lessons I have highlighted of benefit to you in your data storytelling journey.

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