There is an abundance of data in our world. But extracting value from it is far more challenging than capturing it. 

The advantage is understanding the power of data storytelling.

Data storytelling one of the most effective ways to visualise and communicate information to help identify opportunities and fuel growth within your organisation

As data volumes continue to increase exponentially, interpreting data is growing in demand as a skill across all industries.

In fact, the increasing need for these skills is reflected by a Glassdoor report that identified data scientist as the hottest job in tech… three years in a row.


The power of telling stories with data.

Humans are naturally engaged by stories.

They help us relate to the subject matter and vastly improve our ability to remember information contained within them.

A Stanford University study found that in the average one-minute speech, a typical student uses 2.5 statistics. But only one in ten students tell a story.

When students were asked to recall the speeches, only 5% remembered any of the statistics.

But 63% remembered the story.

The ability to tell stories with data is valuable for both stakeholders and your customers. It helps improve the quality of decision making within organisations as well as identifies opportunities to drive new business.


How to tell a story with data.

But how do you turn your data into a story?

While the story being told is always unique, there is a set of steps that can be followed to esnure you tell a compelling story:

  1. Begin with a question - this sets the scene and helps engage your audience.

  2. Know your audience - tailor your story and message to those that will be viewing it.

  3. Use unbiased data - build your story around real data so avoid the temptation to cherry-pick data to prove a predetermined point.

  4. Leverage visualisations – narrative is key, so present the data with visualisations supported by words. There are many great visualisation platforms you can use including Tableau, Qlikview, Sisense, FusionCharts, and Plotly.

  5. Be clear and concise - avoid endless charts or overly lengthy explanations. Instead, you should select the most revealing data and present it in a variety of the most engaging visualisations.

  6. End with an insight - every story should end with tangible insights.

  7. Gather feedback - significantly increase the impact of a presentation or report by seeking feedback on it. This encourages people to pay more attention to it as well as allows them to contribute ideas. 

Types of stories you can tell with data.

  • Time-based - Analytical stories can be about the past, present, or future.
    ​Stories about the past can use analytics to explain what has occurred in the last year, quarter, or month. Stories about the present can be told using surveys, while stories about the future can leverage predictive analytics and statistical models to forecast what is most likely to happen.
  • What, why, and how - these are stories that report on something that has occurred, why it occurred, and the underlying factors that caused the outcome.
  • In-depth - these are generally longer, analytically-driven searches for solutions to complex problems.

Ultimately, data storytelling is a powerful delivery mechanism for generating insights from our data-rich world. By mastering the use of it, you are able to extract far more value from a data set and communicate your message in a more engaging and impactful way.

If you’d like to chat about data storytelling or are in a data role looking for a new job, please get in touch with our FutureYou specialist consultants in Sydney and Melbourne.