For some people, effective data storytelling feels like an unnecessary, time-consuming effort. They believe that the insights and facts should be sufficient to influence their audience and drive action, as long as they’re communicated in a clear manner. The truth is that data can often be more persuasive when it’s told through a story than when it’s simply reported as statistics. When audiences hear a story they can relate to, their guard comes down and they are less likely to nitpick on the details.
To create an effective data story, start by identifying what type of audience you will be communicating with. Your audience’s age, demographics, job title, and level of subject matter expertise will affect how they perceive the information you are sharing.
Mastering the Three Acts of Data Storytelling: Setup, Confrontation, Resolution
The story you tell should have a main point and an explanatory focus, as well as a linear sequence, dramatic elements, and visual anchors. The story should also include a clear description of what is being measured, how it was collected, and the time span that will be covered in order to ensure your audience has all of the context they need.
Lastly, the story should resolve with a meaningful impact on your audience’s lives through the use of your data insights. The conflict your story presents must mirror the issues they face in their own work lives or have the potential to do so, and the solution you present must feel inevitable and significant.