Telling Clear Data Stories

Advanced analytics are becoming more common in the business world. In order to make the most of these analytics, it is necessary to tell a clear, concise story incorporating analysis to influence critical decisions. A data analytics story is a story that includes more than just analytical facts; it weaves together pieces of analysis in a narrative that will push people to action.

How to Tell an Effective Data Story

An effective data analytics story, one that will have a clear impact on its listeners, needs to have three characteristics, which you can remember as the 3 Ps: pointed, persuasive, and presentable.

Pointed

An effective story must have a point, and the teller should keep the main point in mind throughout the entire story. In a data analytics story, the point is usually how analysis can solve a business problem. The point should never be just to summarize the analysis but to convey why that analysis is important and how the business can use it or react to it. If you feel like you are losing the point of the story, ask yourself, “Why should the audience care?”

Persuasive

In order to tell a truly compelling story, you need to frame it to make it persuasive. This means providing the right context and information to clarify your point and emphasize its importance. To avoid ambiguity, make sure you provide sufficient context for your analysis. The audience should know whether a change you describe is good or bad and why. While you want to convey your point as persuasively as possible, it is also essential to avoid being misleading. You need to maintain the integrity of your data, so don’t obscure results that suggest something different than your main conclusion or skew the results to create misleading emphasis. Avoid common misleading tactics such as omitting data, cropping the axis of a graph, or showing only cumulative values.

Presentable

Making your story presentable means making it as easy as possible to follow. This can be especially important for visual elements, which should always work to illustrate your key points, not distract from them. Keep your story simple and clear by avoiding unnecessary visuals (including purely decorative elements such as backgrounds and borders) and data clutter. Provide data that highlights significant findings and conveys your main points. You don’t need to include every piece of data if some of it is less important. You can also help your audience by citing the source wherever applicable. This will allow them to see where your information is coming from and follow up if they have any questions.

Keeping these three principles in mind will help to deliver clear and simple data stories that will make an impact. By conveying data in this way, you can help your business to make better-informed business decisions and strategic moves.

Contact NewIntelligence today, to find out how we can help you turn relevant information into actionable insights to make smarter business decisions and achieve better business outcomes.

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