You know you’re hearing a good story if by the end of it you’re on your feet, ready to take action.

Good stories create urgency—a desire to act or change the narrative.

In a corporate environment, executives and employees can choose one of two ways to discuss data. First, they can create a PowerPoint with pie or bar charts, add a little color and talk about it. Second, they can narrate a compelling story infusing data with engaging personal anecdotes.

Convey your ideas with more than just figures by using data-driven storytelling. Explore “why is data storytelling important?” with examples and key ideas.

  1. What Is Data Storytelling?

  2. Examples Of Data Storytelling

  3. How To Tell A Story With Data

  4. Data Storytelling For The Future

What Is Data Storytelling?


Storytelling with data is a powerful communication tool where you can turn dry, boring statistics and figures into insightful observations. What we as human beings need is to relate to something or someone at a personal level. If you can tell a story that appeals to their emotions, you can get your point across more efficiently.

You have to arouse curiosity around the subject, enough for your audience to reach out to you with questions and concerns.

Examples Of Data Storytelling


Let’s consider one of the examples of data storytelling:

Pankhudi has been compiling information on 100 organizations that invest in small businesses. Factors she has to consider are scope, nature and user demographic for each business. Instead of relying on the age-old tricks of data representation, she decides to rely on three elements of data storytelling—narration, visualization and data.

She weaves an engaging story about how small businesses are the backbone of the economy. Citing examples of her family’s own venture in her ancestral village, she builds a case for corporates who should invest in small businesses.

Pankhudi’s manager is impressed with her initiative because she successfully conveyed her research to her audience—managers, leaders and clients. Her storytelling piqued their interest and they wanted to learn more about what she found.

Data storytelling ensures your stories are memorable. Think about some other examples of data storytelling like diagrams, mind maps and models that help you narrate a story with the help of visualization.

In classical music study, you can memorize musical notes with an acronym EGBDF (Every Good Boy Does Fine). It makes a series of random letters memorable. This is an interesting way to learn something new—and remember it. Similarly, data storytelling is a step above data visualization and narration. It makes things interesting, appeals to the masses and leaves them with relevant questions.

How To Tell A Story With Data


The first thing you have to acknowledge is that stories depict reality—positive or negative. You must stay true to your experience or research to paint an honest picture. Storytelling through data is a way to answer questions around a topic. Therefore, you should focus on how you can communicate your data in the best way possible.


Here are some questions you should answer before you start to tell a story with data:

  1. What Is The Purpose?

You must be clear on your purpose before you deep dive into storytelling with data. You may be pitching to a client, presenting to a potential investor or discussing a product launch with senior executives. Each calls for a different approach.


  1. What Facts, Figures, Data Do You Need?

Next step is to collate your data—facts, statistics and figures. You can compile lists, testimonials and other information that’s relevant for high-impact data-driven storytelling. The more facts you have, the stronger your case.


  1. How Will You Represent Your Data?

Data representation is an important step in the ‘storytelling with data’ process. This is where your audience gets to see your research and ideas in real-time. You can use multiple visualization techniques like mind maps, video clips and charts.


  1. What Are Some Examples You Can Give?

Think about a compelling story to accompany your data. Your story should have the four elements of storytelling—people, place, plot and purpose.


  1. How Can You Make It Insightful?

Adding a human element to your story makes it more insightful and helps your audience relate to it better. If they can identify with it, you’ll receive a stronger response. They may even follow up with questions, turning the session into a conversation.

Storytelling through data encourages discussion because people are interested to learn more. They’re willing to share their views on a certain topic or talk about an issue they find relevant.

Data Storytelling For The Future


Learn how to tell stories with data by improving your speaking skills. Harappa’s Speaking Effectively course will teach you key frameworks like the PAM (Purpose-Audience-Message) to present your ideas with clarity and precision. Persuading your audience will get you improved results. Learn from industry experts on how to pace yourself while speaking, pick up nonverbal cues and read your audience. Engage your audience every time you tell a story with data!

Explore topics such as What is CommunicationBusiness CommunicationTypes of CommunicationChannels of Communication & Vertical Communication from Harappa Diaries and learn to effectively perceive, respond and interact with others.

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