On June 21st, CVSuite wrapped up it’s Art of Data, 3 part webinar series. In the final webinar, Presenting Data: Crafting Compelling Stories with Data, Arts Consultant, Chris D’Arcy and Nicole Stephan of the CVSuite team discussed five aspects of effectively presenting data:
- Define an Objective
- Audience Type
- Craft a Narrative
- Select Data & Visuals
- Produce & Share Materials
In the recent post Data Storytelling: What It Is, Why It Matters, Lisa Morgan provides more insight into topics covered in Presenting Data. After interviewing experts in data science and analytics, Morgan developed the following four tips to guide your data storytelling:
1. General Storytelling Rules Apply
As Morgan explains, “Effective data storytelling is a lot like storytelling generally. The data story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. It should also include a thesis (or a hypothesis), supporting facts (data), a logical structure, and a compelling presentation.” Your goal should be to bridge the data and what the data is actually saying, thus creating an impact. The storytelling aspect should dive deeper into what the data is saying and not be an easy interpretation one can gather when glancing at the data.
2. Consider the Audience
The CVSuite team discussed the importance of your audience when presenting data in Presenting Data: Crafting Compelling Stories and how one size does not fit all. Your method of presentation should accurately reflect who your audience is. Morgan continues to discuss how considering your audience can also bridge gaps in your presentation. One of the lead internet analysts, Byrne Hobart, explains in an interview, “Too often, the data will make sense to those who put reports together but not to those who might actually read them. A good rule is to have someone outside the organization read it and explain what it means. If they interpret it correctly, you’re on a good path.” Morgan explains that by making sure your data story connects to your objective, it will ensure that it is not just informative but actionable.
Combine different types of expertise help guarantee that your data story will be easily understood. The varying types of expertise lend to the different aspects of getting the data story out. Morgan quotes eBay’s Zoher Karu, VP of global customer optimization and data, who states, “[Data storytelling] is definitely an interdisciplinary activity. Data scientists are needed to extract patterns in the data, visualization experts are needed to convey the message in a compelling easy-to-understand manner, marketing [needs to be included] to understand the needs of and reach the desired target audience, business domain experience is necessary to home in on the right set of questions, and an editorial staff is needed to communicate the surrounding text in a compelling way.” The collaboration can lead to different stories allowing for your data story to be effectively communicated to the audience.
4. Avoid Distractions
The final tip that Lisa Morgan supplies is to provide enough information to effectively communicate your story but not so much information that your objective is lost. Morgan conducted an interview with Ryan Fuller, general manager at Microsoft (former CEO of enterprise analytics company VoloMetrix). In the interview Fuller stated “Data stories should address a specific goal and rely only on data and findings that support that goal. Data storytellers should avoid clouding their story with findings that don’t directly address the objective of the analysis. Don’t distract your audience — keep your story clear, simple, and impactful.” There is a lot of data and it’s important when presenting for your objective that you only include data that will assist your objective.
Presenting data can be challenging but it is important to keep these different aspects in mind to assure your objective is presented effectively. If you missed Presenting Data: Crafting Compelling Stories with Data, you can view it here. You can also read Lisa Morgan’s full article, Data Storytelling: What It Is, Why It Matters by clicking here.
(The explanation of the four tips was written by Lisa Morgan and originally appeared on InformationWeek.)