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Misunderstood? Try Data Storytelling
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Data storytelling in presentations
  • 6/2/2017 12:44:37 PM
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This is a useful blog post with some valuable tips. I dunno why I didn't get involved in the discussion when Lisa first posted it in the fall of 2016.

I guess my experience in giving presentations of my own data analyses at public transportation conferences can be considered a form of data storytelling.

Lisa writes

An effective story has a beginning, a middle, and an end like a book or a movie. A data story should have those elements, but beware of telling linear stories that are passively consumed. Interactive stories tend to be more effective in this day and age because people have become accustomed to interacting with data at work and at home. In addition, work styles have become more collaborative over time. Allowing audience members to do some of their own exploration enables them ask more informed, if not challenging, questions. 

My own style tends to follow this "beginning-middle-end" pattern, with some specific approaches that I've found effective:

• Beginning — Why did I do this study? What's the purpose of this analysis? What problem or issues was I trying to resolve?

• Middle — How did I do the analysis – What's the methodology? What problems did I encounter, and how did I overcome them? What are the results?

• End — What conclusions can be inferred? What recommendations can be made for going forward?

I also like Lisa's point about encouraging questions from the audience. Often I insert questions in the presentation, and pause for just a moment to get people to think about the issue. Also I like to stimulate followup questions from the audience in the Q&A session afterward.

Bottom line: Lisa's summary is a good guide for presenting data in a way that will get your audience engaged,

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Re: Conveying Message and The Dead End Ahead
  • 10/8/2016 12:55:44 PM
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Just the facts make for an easy to follow progression of the story and maybe a little razmatazz to keep the interest going in our short attention span world? But the story is the important part to keep in mind of course.

Re: Conveying Message and The Dead End Ahead
  • 10/6/2016 9:21:24 AM
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@Silvon. Great point about how the story has to accurately reflect the data. One thing about any storytelling is that it really should be based on facts. Exceptions can be made for stories told by grandfathers and crazy uncles.

 

Re: Conveying Message and The Dead End Ahead
  • 10/5/2016 6:40:37 PM
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@Silvon  Couldn't agree more and Welcome to A2 !

Re: What Conveying Message and Staying on it - Has to Do With It ?
  • 10/5/2016 6:39:13 PM
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Good point Pierre.  Though I am having trouble with the term Storytelling.  I think what is provided in the end ( or at least should be IMO ) is contextual background.  I remember trying to explain an issue to a former boss and he took it as though I was being to wordy about the entire issue - just get to the point.   

Well sometimes when you go straight to the point,  your audience will not understand where you are coming from because you have not provided contextual background prior to releasing the actual point.

So this manager probably thought I was providing a wordy story when in fact I was laying out the long contextual background so when the main issue was finally revealed he would understand how we got there.

 

Thankfully he is no longer with us so I don't have to provide either to him anymore.

Re: Conveying Message and The Dead End Ahead
  • 10/5/2016 2:34:57 PM
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Data visualization may not be enough. Data storytelling gives the visualizations a context that makes the information even easier to understand. However, it is important to remember that the "story" needs to accurately reflect the information, otherwise it can cause more harm than good. 

Re: What Conveying Message and Staying on it - Has to Do With It ?
  • 10/1/2016 3:56:44 PM
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Simplifying the story will be an ongoing challenge as industries face integrating data from different sources and as the audience decides what it wants to hear most.

Re: Good research design
  • 9/30/2016 12:15:26 PM
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What about the possibility of confirmation bias?

Re: Good research design
  • 9/30/2016 11:53:57 AM
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Part of the challenge is understanding what story you want the data to tell before you even look at it. I often would develop titles for my power point slides before I read the analysis then see if my story would hold up with the analytic or how the analytics would change the story. It often worked because it gave a baseline story that the analytics then embellished to create depth and greater understanding.

Re: Good research design
  • 9/30/2016 11:45:01 AM
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Yes, industry analysts tend to write their own presentations, sometimes at midnight!  

It is very interestinng to see how such a story takes shape, from crafting the surveys and analyzing the results, to writing all that up and presenting it.  By the time you've done all that, you're in a great position to tell a story.

Within the typical company, though, you may have to combine talents to tell a good story.

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