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By Soufyan Hamid, a seasoned Finance Professional specialising in FP&A
Data storytelling is a growing trend that is picking pace with each passing day. From multinationals to small startups, presenting the data as a story is a way that is proven effective and engaging. Skip the complex Excel sheets or memorising too many figures when you can communicate them more simply. Here are some key pointers for finance professionals working internally for a company. Let’s have a look.
Data storytelling is a way of communicating the results and outcomes from data analysis more efficiently and comprehensively. It is the representation of data in a combined visual and textual way to demonstrate the purpose of data and what insights it is giving to the business or audience in general.
Coming to the genesis point of the data story, why the need to present data in a story form? Well, the key reasons are:
Data is just numbers and figures, which are hard to understand, and not everyone can read it or identify the trends and changes in it. In a story form, it is clearly stated what the last figure was, what current ones are, what caused the difference and what is triggering it.
Huge spreadsheets, numerical charts, or numbers will bore the audience, and it won’t connect them with you. Thus, the sole purpose of presenting or analysing the data won’t be communicated to them, and no effective outcome will come from it.
Data in a story form engages multiple brain sections and drives attention, emotion, and memory all at once so that the audience will listen, relate and process your data in their brains.
With a simpler presentation, the information is absorbed easily, and the audience or executives can suggest, make faster decisions, and find solutions.
To become a data storyteller, you must be focused on the following three skills:
Without understanding data and being able to analyse and price it, you can’t tell it in a story form. So, the first skill required is data analysis - the ability to read and manipulate data.
You got to know how to do magic with words if you want to become a data storyteller. Engaging words, continuous flow, and keeping the interest in the story all the time are key to a good story.
Another vital factor is business understanding or industry insights, so you know what kind of data affects the company and how to fix the issue.
Not every story is worth reading or gives good results. The core features to make your data story effective are:
Data and that too good. Use relevant data, focused and filtered, to generate the graphs and story.
Use infographics, charts, clips, or trends arc to present the data points.
Why is the analysis done, what is the reason, and what are the results? Build the whole story around a straightforward narrative, and the context should be easy to pick for the audience.
Data storytelling is the future of the data world, which has increased data utilisation to attain better outcomes and communicate the driving factors to decision-makers.
It’s the need of time, and businesses are opting for data storytelling strategies to maximise their growth. But if it is not done right, it will cause havoc, so to become a brilliant storyteller, focus on what you want to communicate and how creatively you can transfer your thoughts and insights to the audience through your data story.
Happy data storytelling!
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