Sharing Your Data's Story

“Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.” (Robert McKee)

The power of storytelling to connect presenter to audience is undeniable. For data-driven presentations, it’s critical to keep in mind your audience remembers stories long after they’ve forgotten statistics. Cristina Amorim learned the hard truth of failing to make her data relevant to key decision makers – read the story of her struggle and ultimate triumph. Do you have a data-driven presentation on your calendar? Consider these tips before stepping up to the mic:

ID Your Audience

How familiar is your audience with the data you need to convey? In Harvard Business Review, Jim Stikeleather suggests identifying your audience as Novice, Generalist, Managerial, Expert, or Executive. Consider who you’re presenting to, and adjust your content accordingly.

Channel Your Inner Curator

Your audience is bombarded with facts and data, morning through night, every single day. Don’t overwhelm them by cramming every possible bit of data into your presentation. In his book Facts are SacredSimon Rogers suggests data journalists adopt the role of information curators. Protect your audience from overload by curating your data according to the audience’s ID.

Tell the Truth

Curating is a form of kindness that will garner your presentation better results. However, curation doesn’t equate to delivering a false impression to your audience by solely including data that best serves your purposes. Make sure the data you include tells an accurate story.

Story Trumps Data

A research study recounted in “Persuasion and the Power of Story” (video link below) found just 10 minutes after a presentation, 5% of audience members remembered a statistic shared, while 63% could recall a story told. Well-told stories are powerful, impactful, memorable, and drive change. Find the story in your data, and focus on delivering that message.

While this concept may seem easy to execute, finding and successfully delivering the story in your data can be challenging. Check out 2Connect’s technical communication programs to learn how we can help.

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