It must be the season for data storytelling because here is another terrific article on how to take data, shape it into meaningful material, and share it as a story to complement a presentation. This adds another influencing tool to your storytelling toolkit.
I really like how the author Jim Stikeleather reminds us of the different types of audiences we need to pay attention to when shaping data into a story. His list is excellent!
I also like this quote from the piece: "Finding the narrative structure will help you decide whether you actually have a story to tell. If you don't, then perhaps this visualization should support exploratory data analysis (EDA) rather than convey information."
And there are very good insights here on not censoring, being balanced, and the time you spend on editing.
For all of us who need or want to share data as part of our storytelling skills, this article is helpful.
I couldn't agree more. I'm working right now with a client on measures, data, metrics, standards, and figuring out how to tell the story in ways that can influence changes in behavior.
Who said storytelling was only about sharing experiences? It is also about finding data, shaping that into a shareable story, and then delivering the story the data is telling you so people can be influenced.
Here's an article that speaks directly to those issues -- and gives advice for how to bring data to life, and tell its story.
What I like it that it starts with "The Art of the Question". In other words, the data you will use depends on the questions you are asking. Get the questions right and the story begins to unfold.
There are other tips here that are also helpful. For all you big data-heads out there -- or for anyone confronted with a lot of data -- read this article so you can start figuring out the story to share.
And thank you for Giuseppe Mauriello for finding and pointing me to this post!
Credible stories are rooted in data, and your opinions add perspective. Develop more credible stories with these 6 steps for data-driven brand storytelling.
Got data? Need a story?
Got a story? Need data?
Then these 6 steps will help shape your data into a story -- or bring data into your story.
Marrying data and storytelling to make your point is sometimes tricky to do. What I really like about this post is that its first tip is all about figuring out what question(s) are top most in the minds of your audience -- because that is the first step in figuring out how to take your data and shape it into a story OR determine which data you need to help your story along.
The other 5 points are also really good: where to find data if you need it, how to vet and filter the data, choosing how to share the data visually, how to weave the story and data together, and then most importantly -- receiving feedback before you publicly share it.
Go read this article. I think you will find it very helpful!
Many thanks to Giuseppe Mauriello for sending me this article to review :)
Let's begin with an article that appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) at the end of last year. Narrative vs Evidence-Based Medicine—And, Not Or was written by Zachary Meisel and in it he said: "Scientific reports are genuinely dispassionate, characterless, and ahistorical. But their translation and dissemination should not be. Stories are an essential part of how individuals understand and use evidence."
Data is supposed to be cold and objective; but the dissemination of your data can be warm and subjective. So go ahead, tell a story with your data. Because if you don't, you run the risk of falling behind. As Meisel continued: "Those who espouse only evidence—without narratives about real people—struggle to control the debate. Typically, they lose."
It’s become pretty much axiomatic these days that if you're really serious about getting your data across to your audience, you need to tell a story with it. Stories are more engaging and convincing than mere data. If you want to influence someone’s behaviour you need to touch their heartstrings and move them to tears. And you won't do that if you only engage their logical left brains. No, you also need to impose yourself on their creative and emotional right brains.
Which all sounds promising and exciting, but we need to remember that it's data we’re talking about here. Data is logical and soul-less and is usually a collection of seemingly disconnected facts. How are we going to fit that into a story?
Love this article with good ideas for keeping storytelling with data sweet and simple.
Thanks Gregg Morris @greggvm and his Story and Narrative curation for originally finding this post!
Information can be useful--and even beautiful--but only when it’s presented well. In an age of information overload, any guidance through the clutter comes as a welcome relief. That’s one reason for the recent popularity of information graphics.
Got data? Need it to tell a story? Then make sure you read this article about constructing a storied infographic. An infographic is one visual storytelling method.
Yes, there are graphics tips here for us non-graphics people like "Choosing a Format". But the majority of the article is about effective storytelling with data. Like tips on "Finding the Narrative" and "Identifying Problems" (essential to a good story) to locating the "Hero" or key message.
And I like how the author, Josh Smith, dicusses determining a visual approach.
In the end, having graphic design skills seems necessary to do this type of visual storytelling well.
Yet I think that there are plenty of ways to use the tips in this article to take simple data in our work and turn it into visually inspiring pieces without being a graphic designer.
So take these tips and play/experiment with the simple tools we do have available to us non-graphic biz folks: PowerPoint, MSPublisher, Excel, Keynote, Prezi, and the like.
What is data storytelling? In two parts, it’s (1) how we use data visualization to help us see and read the story social data tells, and (2) how we as social media experts package that story and make adjustments to campaigns.
It should, but unless we can find the answer to the question “so what?” all that data just seems time-consuming. That’s why we practice data storytelling. It’s the act of data visualization before, during and after mining/analyzing data.
For all of us who want to know how to share the stories data tells, then this article gives a great framework. You'll have to read down to the end, however, to get to the gold.
Most of the article is about measuring social media campaigns. Then we get to the good stuff: the model for storytelling with data that contains 5 elements.
The other insights are good, so grab those. Then pay attention to those 5 elements and start working on your data stories. The model should get you started.
Statistics and infographics are best understood if used together with a metaphor or analogy. We explain how to make this work for you.
Displaying data as a story is challenging, yet figuring out how to do this is a hot topic these days.
In this guest blog post I recently wrote, I explain how to bring storytelling and story elements into displays of data (infographics) to create stronger connections to readers plus more powerful knowledge transfer.
I hope it helps everyone as they work with stories in their business, and data in their presentations.
Infographics are visual representations of information, or “data viz” as the cool kids call it these days.
Here's a great article on how to create infographics, or tell a story using 'data viz.'
Translating data into a story is tough work and this article gives us some fabulous tips on how to do it.
Not a graphic designer? Don't worry -- as a business person the more you know about how to create a great data viz story, the better you can tell a graphic designer or graphic scriber what you want.
Another reason I like this article is because it actually mentions the need to create a storyline for your visual, and know before had what the key message is you are trying to deliver.
The storytelling points the article leaves out are the storytelling devices of metaphor, analogy, contrast, and sensory material that are critical to a story's and an infographic's success. These pieces are implied in the article, but need more direct discussion about.
Use this article as a great guide. And if you want more detail, go dig into "Visualize This" by Nathan Yau (although it can be pretty technical).
Here's a Fast Company article with tips on how to tell a story with data, from the author of the recently published book "Visualize This" Sam Yagan. Yagan shares some really good insights about the process of creating a story from data that are important to consider.
Nathan Yau's new book, Visualize This, shows how to use design to make sense of an information-flooded world...
Turning data into a compelling story is tough, yet essential work when you need to use data to move others to action.
I haven't reviewed this book yet but it looks to be a winner. I really like the intro video that's on this site. Next step? Amazon.com to get the book! I'll come back to you with a review in a few weeks.
Hey folks -- I ran across this today and it looks like a fabulous list of quality resources about telling stories using data. Or using data to tell stories. Your choice :)
Data storytelling might not be your thing -- or it could be an activity that is part of your future.
If so, you are going to want to keep this list available. Not only are there good articles (some I've already scooped here), but there are videos to watch and research papers to explore. I'm always a fan of research because it adds so much credibility.
I haven't read everything here, or watched the videos but they do sound substantial and helpful.
So dig in here. Data storytelling is not easy to do and we need all the help we can get. Many thanks to data geek author Zach Gemignani for putting this post and resources together!
Here's the next stop on the data and visual storytelling journey. While the previous article I curated focused on the history of visual storytelling, this research article addresses 'what's next.'
For the authors of the article -- what's next is the presentation and communication of data that has played only a minor role in research up to this point.
Click on the title of the article "Storytelling: The Next Step for Visualization" at the bottom of the blurb to get a free copy of the research paper.
The research paper itself focuses on journalism as storytelling -- which it is, but it is not the only method or approach. So the article is limiting in that way.
Still, there are some good insights about how data visualization needs to move more directly into storytelling using story delivery techniques.
Iin the end, the authors Robert Kosara and Jock Mackinlay say:
"Storytelling promises to open up entirely new avenues of research in visualization. Going from exploration to analysis to presentation is a natural progression, which is mirrored by the research effort focused on these steps over time. As the field becomes more mature and provides many useful techniques for the first two steps, we need to start focusing on presentation. This is even more important as visualization gets used for decision-making, where the succinct presentation of important facts is crucial."
Learn more about the value of data visualisation. Tableau's Jock Mackinlay explains why data is inert and worthless without the twin practices of visualisation and storytelling.
This is a quick piece that makes some valuable points. Frankly, I'm not a hard-core data head. Yet I love looking at spreadsheets, bar charts, line charts and other visual displays of data in order to make meaning of the material and spot trends.
There is a whole science to displaying data in meaningful ways (see Edward Tufte's work) that we don't need to go into here. But what I like about this article is that it points to the fact that all the data in the world is meaninglessuntil you can tell the story about what it is saying and what itmeans.
Storytelling and data go hand-in-hand.
Truly, those of us in the field of business storytelling need to build our data skills. And data-geeks need to develop their storytelling skills. Sounds like a match made in heaven!
Here's another aspect of storytelling that this article alludes to: yes, we all know it takes time to share a story and in this fast-paced world, it is not uncommon to hear "But who has the time?! Just give me the data to share. We've got to get moving!" Ahhhhh -- huge mistake! Taking the time to share a story in the beginning makes projects go much more quickly.
That sounds counter-intuitive, but I experience this phenomenon again and again.
Read the article for additional points on how the marriage of data and storytelling make for better decision making. They are worth remembering.
Theresa Welbourne, CEO Research Professor, and Denise Avink of Northrop Grumman, spoke on October 27 on Data Coaching: A Cure for HR Data Analysis Paralysis?. They discussed ways to make HR data more relevant to the business and why data coaching is a must-have skill for HR, OD, and communications professionals as well as consultants and executive coaches. Theresa Welbourne shared the key aspects of data coaching and how it is being used by organizations who are adopting Fast HR practices to stay ahead of the competition.
Got data? Need to articulate its story? Then this article is for you!
Turning data into effective storytelling in order to create awareness, understanding, and action is a very tough job. But I am happy to say that processes and tools are emerging. Like the ones shared here!
This is a slide presentation along with an audio file of a webinar that focuses entirely on how to take big data and not only find its story, but share it as a story to generate meaning and action. It is a step-by-step process.
Hooray! I love the process and models shared here, along with how Northrum Grumman usesthis process effectively.
Step one is gathering together the data. Step two is moving into dialog about it. Now here is where there might be a significant weakness. I did not listen to the 55+ minute audio file where the presenters might have explained this. But from what I can gather from the slides, dialog is mostly identified as focus groups.
Hmmmm -- seems more effort needs to be expended here in using Appreciative Inquiry to craft effective questions,evoke stories, and naturally spur action. So the model may need upgrading.
But if you have a bunch of data that you need to use to generate understanding and meaningful action, then this PPT can really help you.
And here is a link to a companion piece from Dr. Theresa M. Welbourne held a webinar entitled "Data Coaching is What's New." She discussed data coaching as a must-have skill for HR, OD, and communications professionals as well as consultants and executive coaches. She shared the key aspects of data coaching and how it is being used by organizations who are adopting Fast HR practices to stay ahead of the competition.
Hey everyone -- this looks like a really great FREE tool for taking a bunch of data and creating a stunning visual story. I haven't tested it because I don't have a pile of data to crunch, make it look beautiful, or tell a story with it.
But if you do, then I wanted to make sure I passed this along.
Actually, these are best leveraged together---big data and powerful analytics have deep meaning when positioned in the context of powerful stories. Stories give people a context in which to position the analysis provided by the data.
This is a really nice article about how well data and stories work together.
The only piece I would add is this: share your storiesfirst, and then support them with data. Most often people go for the data first, and then maybe share a story.
So do the reverse and you won't put people to sleep or have them looking at you with a quizzicle eye wondering, "And what does this data mean?"
Story is the meaning-making part of the equation. Data is the sense-making part.
"The idea is complex, but the explanation must be clear, simple and concise. It's all your clients will listen to. The art of storytelling is something that most architects never learn. Instead, during our education, we model pompous intellectualism, poetically making nonsensical archispeak statements while wearing black turtlenecks. Of course in studio, there often is no client and no real story, only our personal filter for solving the assigned problem. In practice, our client becomes our audience and whether we are auditioning for the part, or holding a design meeting, we can never forget to perform for them."
For all you data-heads, scientists, tech geeks, architects, lawyers and the like -- this article is for you!
It very simply explains why and how to shift your presentations so you can connect with your audiences through storytelling.
Want more business? Want to sell your ideas? Read this quick article, and then explore the rest of the collection here for more ideas/action steps.
Once again, thank you Gregg Morris @greggvm for originally curating this article!
Mobile business intelligence app developer Roambi wants to marry the excitement of a magazine narrative with the dryness of business intelligence data on the iPad. The goal is to tell the story behind the numbers.
How's a data head going to share the real story that the numbers tell? Here's a new tech tool, Roambi, to help iPad folks bring data to life. This software helps you marry data charts with content, graphics, and photos, and could really help businesses share the numbers story. You will still need to know how to create a compelling story, but this tool will get you closer to storifying your charts, graphs and spreadsheets.
"Finance is generally perceived to be a dull subject. Do stories fit here? On the face of it, it would seem outrageous to mix storytelling and finance, observes Mr Sam Swaminathan, Storyteller, Center for Creative Thinking, US (http://bit.ly/F4TSamS), during a recent interaction with Business Line."
Read this article for examples and ideas of how CFOs and entrepreneurs have made financial numbers meaningful through storytelling. The author even includes a short piece on being deluded by false stories. I particularly like the author's insights on innovation and sharing stories of projects that didn't work out.
If you are having a hard time connecting numbers to stories, check this article out.
Thanks to fellow curator Jennifer King and her Scoop.it content Storytelling for Social Change for showing me this article.