Collecting data for your business and combining that data holds a lot of potential value, but until you are able to uncover the insights it provides, it won’t tell much of a story. It needs to be understood and processed. The value is taken from it and communicated to your team and is translated into actions and outcomes.
Becoming a data storyteller will be even more important as we travel into the future. A new breed of data tools is making it easier for people in all business functions to access and explore captured data on their own, with the end result being a greater number of insights being shared and translated within companies than in the past. The communication of these insights will continually need to be improved so that the largest amount of value can be extracted from these insights; otherwise, no changes or growth will happen, since there can’t be action without understanding.
Numbers tell a story, and it is usually a very important one for your business. Data visualizations, infographics, dashboards and presentations are used to tell the story, but that story needs to involve more than charts that appeal to the eye. Data storytelling involves a structured approach to communicating insights based on the data captured, and three elements are key here: data, visuals, and the narrative.
When teamed up with data, the narrative will explain to your listeners what is actually happening within the data and why the insight extracted here is important. Context will be needed here so that the audience can fully appreciate the insight, and that audience will be enlightened to a greater degree when visuals are added as illustration, illuminating patterns and outliers that would otherwise remain undiscovered.
Bringing together both the narrative and visuals will engage, and many times entertain, your listeners, and in so doing, your data story becomes influential and a driver for change within your business.
Stories capture our imagination and appeal to a basic part of who we are as humans. We all love a good story, whether it be a book or a movie, or a favorite song. An analysis of the most popular presentations shared in TED Talks shows that stories made up over half of the content in them and illustrates the fact that storytelling is a powerful way to share insights and ideas that is persuasive and memorable.
For some business owners or managers, coming up with a data story might seem like too much trouble and that the facts should speak for themselves as long as they are shared clearly and precisely, and so drive the needed change. However, this viewpoint is based on the idea that business decisions are based on logic and reason, and that has been proven to be untrue. Neuroscientific studies have shown that decisions are most often based on emotion and not logic, leading to the idea that emotion plays a very important role in helping our brains navigate alternatives and arrive at a decision that seems correct.
Telling a data story appeals to the emotional and influential part of the brain, and as our world becomes ever more dependent on that data, businesses and companies will need to recruit those with talent for translation and communication of this information. Converting data insight into beneficial action for businesses is of vital importance for their growth and health.
If you are interested in understanding your data and the story it tells, Think Data Insights can help. It is our goal to help you discover the details that can propel your business to the next level. Contact us today to learn more at (615) 431-3652.