Data Storytelling 1 – Compelling Narratives


Today’s business professionals are swimming in an endless sea of data. This course provides a guide to translate good data into understandable, actionable insight using a narrative structure.

Participants will walk through the process of crafting a compelling data narrative, starting with exploratory analysis and moving into explanatory analysis that is clear to your audience. Time-tested narrative structures will be drawn from to communicate complex information in a way that resonates with decision-makers and leads to action.  Practical exercises using financial data will reinforce concepts for learners.


There are no prerequisites for this course, though a familiarity with good data analysis and charting techniques (from “Excel 1: Core Data Analysis”, “Excel 2: Advanced Data Analysis” or “Excel 3: Dynamic Dashboarding”) would be helpful.


This course requires 4 hours.

Learning Topics

Exploratory vs. Explanatory Data Analysis

  • Learn to separate the data for analysis versus the data used to communicate that insight
  • Apply exploratory analysis to identify key data drivers in a data sample

Understand Your Audience, Personalize the Message

  • Learn to create and ask questions for your audience to create presentations that stimulate action and response
  • Demonstrate the benefits of adding a persona to your data to create stories that resonate

Creating Impactful Narrative Structures

  • Explore historical storytelling frameworks and how they help us make compelling data stories
  • Craft a compelling data storytelling “arc” that takes readers through carefully designed narrative stages:
    • The Setup: describe the current situation and “hook” the audience
    • The Breadcrumbs: data points that develop the plot and create tension
    • The Aha Moment: The major finding or central insight
    • The Action Plan: Next steps & solutions to prompt action from decision-makers
  • Employ techniques to deal with the impatient decision-maker
  • Understand how compelling stories can help to overcome resistance or entrenched “myths” and corporate cultural “blind spots”
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