Telling Stories with Data

Course description

Good decisions are made when executives and managers understand the story behind complex data. This one-day, highly interactive, experience-based, virtually facilitated workshop focuses on how to make data more concise, impactful, and compelling to the intended audience through storytelling.

Prior to class, participants complete a pre-work assignment using a real-world data set. Participants will either use a data set provided or choose a data set from their work environment and prepare a five-minute presentation using a slide deck of up to four slides and a narrative memo that clearly explains what conclusions they are attempting to convey. During the workshop, each participant will present his or her “data story” and receive feedback from the instructor and the other participants on how to improve the “data story.” Then, using the skills acquired in the workshop, each participant will create an improved presentation.

The following text book will be used in support of the course: Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic, Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals. Wiley, October, 2015.

Who should attend

This course is designed to benefit anyone who is required to present complex and/or technical data to executives, managers, decision makers, or stakeholders in a manner that the intended audience can clearly understand.

What you will achieve

  • Present data in a more concise, impactful, and compelling manner to your intended audience through storytelling.
  • Analyze your audience and choose the appropriate ways to present your data.
  • Present a real-world data set during the course and receive feedback from peers and the instructor.
  • Develop concise slides, compelling storylines, and convincing memos and talking points.

What you will learn

Course Outline
Pre-Course Work

Using a real-world data set, prepare a five-minute presentation using a slide deck of up to three slides and a narrative memo that clearly explains what conclusions you are attempting to convey. This will be presented during the course. In addition, there will be 2 reading assignments. Plan on devoting up to 2.5 hours to your pre-work.

Module 1: Introduction and Overview
  • Workshop Objectives and Agenda
Module 2: Data Analysis and Visual Concepts
  • Analyzing the Audience
  • Choosing Appropriate Chart Types
  • Creating Charts in Microsoft Excel
  • Understanding Different Data Sets
  • Working with Proportions, Time-Series, and Geographical Data
  • Organizing Data in Charts
  • Summarizing Data
Module 3: Pre-Work Assignment Presentations
  • Present Slide Deck and Narrative of Chosen Data Set
  • Receive Feedback from Participants and Instructor
Module 4: Presentation of Data
  • Drafting Talking Points
  • Writing Compelling Storylines at the Right Level
  • Developing Concise Slides
  • Crafting Convincing Memos and Talking Points
Module 5: Best Practices and Examples
  • Practice Applying Concepts and Improving
  • Building Powerful Visuals That Tell a Story
  • Improve Pre-Work Slide Deck
  • Walk-Through of Revised Slide Decks