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Business Analytics Data Visualization Storytelling with Data

Storytelling with Data: Finding the Character in Your Business Analytics

“Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.” — Jean Luc Godard

Replace “reality” with “data” and you’ll understand just why storytelling with data is so important to business success.

You can be tracking all the right key performance indicators (KPIs), be compiling all the best statistics, but the reality is that data rarely speaks for itself. Context can make all the difference. You’re likely gaining a lot of information from your business analysis, but it’s how you use that information that makes the biggest impact.

In order to get the best storytelling from your data, start by asking three questions:

  1. What are you trying to communicate?
  2. Where are you trying to communicate it?
  3. Who are you trying to communicate to?


Once you know those answers, storytelling with data all comes down to crafting your message. These tips can help make your communication even more effective.

a) Keep it simple.

Show less to tell more. For example, a survey might reveal that 45% of respondents think delivery speed is very important, 35% think it’s important, 15% are neutral, and 5% think it’s unimportant. That’s a lot of numbers. Instead, summarize the data to reveal that 80% of customers think delivery speed is a priority.

b)  Think in headlines.

People tend to remember the flashiest information rather than the nitty gritty statistics and details. Headlines such as “Most customers think delivery speed is a top priority” or “Retirement is the number one savings goal for many employees” help sum up the data that is to come. Even in longer reports, headlines can help break up numbers and text and make the information that much more readable.

c) Work with visuals.

“A picture tells 1,000 words” is a cliché for a reason. Data visualization is a form of storytelling that lets you showcase your numbers in an easy-to-digest format. Charts, maps, and diagrams are all fantastic ways of communicating data and can enhance the story you want to tell.

d) Use tools that help refine the message.

Data storytelling and visualization doesn’t have to be complicated. Some tools make storytelling with data easier than ever. Take True Sky, for example. Executive dashboards can turn raw numbers into actionable information automatically, saving you time and money.

True Sky’s budgeting software can turn your financial figures into visually compelling stories. Learn how at or by calling 1-855-878-3759.