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Data Storytelling, Make it Visual!

Be a data storyteller

If you’re an analyst, you may not think of yourself as a storyteller, but you really are. After you’ve spent days or weeks (or longer) pouring over the data, it is up to you to tell the data story. Executives in your organization should not be asking to see the raw data. Instead, the good ones will wait for the story, the insights and learnings that can be used to drive key business decisions in your organization.

How you decide to deliver the data story is up to you. Fear of public speaking aside, presenting data as a story can be easy with the right tools. Unfortunately the tool of choice for many is the dreaded powerpoint deck. This is surprisingly not the best tool for your data narration. Why? Simply because powerpoints only show snapshots of the data. They don’t allow you to be fluid in your storytelling, detailing visual data trends or connecting relational data points click-by-click. And what if somebody asks a question? Digging for the answer may take too long and abruptly interrupt your story.

The benefits of visualization tools

The best tool for a data storyteller is one that allows you to present a live and responsive visualization of the data. With today’s visualization tools, such as Tableau, data presentations don’t have to reside on snap-shot slide decks. These tools enhance your presentation and allow you to instantly drill down into the data and more clearly communicate your findings. You can easily point out relational data and trending, not to mention quickly answer those off-pace questions that take you down to another level of detail.

Data visualization can also increase the efficiency for peers to understand what you’re trying to relate because they can see it more clearly. To increase your presentation’s efficiency to learning, here are some of my favorite from Tableau's quick tips.

  1. Keep it simple! – Present your data in simple charts and graphs that depict only what you’re trying to relate. Organize the information in a logical, easy-to-grasp manner.

  2. Pretty doesn’t mean effective – Making your charts aesthetically pleasing could detract from the message you’re trying to relate with your data. Make sure your design does not detract.

  3. Use color judiciously – The colors you use can detract/attract attention and cause your audience to make inferences that may not be accurate. Be careful with your color choices, but don’t be afraid to use a bright, bold color to help accentuate important points.

Ready to start building your data stories? Let the experts at B2E show you the difference visualization can make.

Warm Regards,

BJ Giudicessi

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