The overlooked Data Storytelling skill

As Analysts, we’re good at presenting information the way we would like to receive it – multi-dimensional and detailed. The interest we have for our chosen topic drives us to leave no stone unturned in our analysis. This makes us great Analysts. Our attention to detail also compels us with the need to present findings from every angle.

As Business Users, we want to receive information we can action. Our customers, people and bottom line are what’s important. Analytics is great, but only if a subsequent process change impacts our business. We don’t need (or desire) to know how insight is generated, just what we’re going to do to leverage it.

So, how do Analysts communicate insight effectively enough, for a business user to then create change?

Data Storytelling is a method to emotionally connect analytics with business users.

Data Storytelling directs the focus of a specific audience away from the noise of data, to a purpose relevant to them.

To enable a business user to engage with analytics, an Analyst needs to connect to the motivation of the business user. For this reason, empathy is a vital skill in data storytelling.

“You never learn anything without there being an emotional connection” – Gordon Poad.

One piece of analysis can uncover multiple data stories. The role of a storyteller is to find one to resonate with their audience. Each story begins with a narration, which is then told - usually with the use of technology.

Data stories can be written, by anyone, using just a pen and paper.