While very similar, there are some fundamental differences between storytelling and presenting, especially when presenting complex business information to key stakeholders.
If you have problems presenting your data or communicating your story in an engaging way, read on.
PowerPoint has been the norm for presentations in the workplace for years, but it's static, linear, and often fails to engage, not to mention needs endless updating as things change before, during and after the presentation. PowerPoint offers all kinds of templates and new graphics tools, but all anyone ever uses is boring bullet points on a white background, leaving most content well short of 'interesting'.
Designed purely to inform, a bit like a lecture, presentations are often delivered at passive audiences, moving from one slide to another. Post-event knowledge transfer is limited as the audience are not engaged and have often lost interest.
Storytelling is designed to inform and engage, making business content more interesting and memorable.
What is data storytelling?
Data storytelling is the ability to effectively communicate insights from a dataset using narratives and visualizations. It can be used to put data insights into context for and inspire action from your audience.
The audience is active - the story has been delivered to them and designed specifically for them. Knowledge transfer is higher as a result of the non-linear, more visual and interactive style presentation, and an audience who are involved and stimulated.
Data visualization storytelling
We remember 30% of what we read, and 80% of what we see. A presentation can't consist of just talking – visuals are key. However, the visuals can't just be a script of the words you’re saying – that adds no value. You need to enhance what you're saying by directing your audience's attention to where you want them to focus and increase the audience’s ability to fully understand and process your ideas with well-chosen, relevant visuals.
Visuals need to live in harmony with the content of your presentation or story – not overpower it. Visuals instantly emphasise and help communicate your point in a more powerful and accessible way.
Imagine you’re trying to communicate the relationship between two or more areas of a business. Perhaps how the impact of a project running behind schedule will affect the budget of another project and slow down the progression of an entirely different project again.
Being able to display this visually, maybe with an infographic will only help to clarify what you are presenting – and that is just with a static image.
Interactive data visualization
Better yet would be an interactive visual – one that displays the high level information of the various projects at first, then allows you to drill down further and explore the complexities of the relationships, but immediately let you return to where you are and continue your presentation. No longer would you be constricted to the traditional linear method of business storytelling, but instead, an interactive story that enhances interpretability. Visuals keep things moving, they engage and add authenticity to your business story.
Move beyond static presentations
The need for more interesting styles of flexible data driven dynamic presentations is obvious! Storytelling is the way forward...just because you're talking business, doesn't mean you can't tell a great story.
SharpCloud automatically produces visually rich interactive presentations that keep audiences engaged. Make changes to the data as you present, or take the time to delve deeper into your story as questions arise. Become a great business storyteller and success will come much easier.
Create a free SharpCloud account to see how our platform can support you in every step of your data storytelling.
Read our Introduction to Business Storytelling, it has everything you need to know to start telling great business stories.