Effective Data Storytelling

George Firican
2 min readOct 17, 2022

“The ability to effectively communicate and telling a story with data is no longer a luxury in today’s economy; it is a necessity.”
In today’s show, we dive into the steps to provide effective data storytelling, dashboard versus a data story, insight versus observation, the importance of the narratives, colors, and emotions, and how to avoid those common pitfalls when creating an effective data story.

If you’re looking for tips for effective data storytelling, avoiding bias, and being objective, this episode is for you!

LightsOnData Show — Effective Data Storytelling

You will want to hear this episode if you are interested in:

  • [01:08] Comic books as a form of storytelling
  • [02:36] Why narratives are so powerful
  • [05:11] The impact of making emotion-based decisions
  • [07:13] Steps to great data storytelling
  • [10:59] The difference between a dashboard and a data story
  • [14:40] Insights versus observation
  • [19:55] The go-to rule when choosing colors
  • [23:28] Example of a good data story
  • [25:07] Driving action through data storytelling
  • [26:13] Ensuring your data storytelling is not biased and striving for objectivity
  • [27:57] Common pitfalls we should learn to avoid as data storytellers

Notable Quotes

  • The ability to effectively communicate with data is no longer a luxury in today’s economy but a necessity.
  • A lot of our decisions are based more on emotions than on statistics or data.
  • A data story isn’t a collection of observations. There has to be a central insight at the core of a data story.
  • The foundation of every data story is data.
  • Insight is the unexpected shift in the way we understand things.
  • Having an insight shakes our world. It redefines our world, and if we want other people to join us in that change, we need to communicate it clearly.
  • Data storytelling is not about making people feel good. It’s about driving outcomes and action.

About Brent Dykes

Brent Dykes has spent more than 18 years in the analytics industry, consulting with some of the world’s most recognized brands, such as Microsoft, Sony, Nike, Amazon, and Comcast. Nowadays he is the Founder and Chief Data Storyteller of AnalyticsHero.
In his spare time, we can see that he’s a regular Forbes contributor with tens of published articles under his belt. He’s also a book writer, with his latest published book “Effective Data Storytelling: How to Drive Change with Data, Narrative and Visuals”.


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George Firican

Data governance & BI professional, ranked among Top 5 Global Thought Leaders on Big Data, founder of LightsOnData.com and Co-Host of the Lights On Data Show.