LinkedIn kerää vuosittain listaa halutuimmista työntekijöiden taidoista. Tulokkaana listalle on noussut datan esittämisen kyvyt. Kerron, miksi datan esittäminen on yksi tärkeimmistä taidoista, ja miksi se on avainasemassa johtopäätösten muuntamisessa liiketoimintaa edistäviksi toimenpiteiksi.
Every year LinkedIn gathers a list of the hottest skills that can get you hired. For several years capabilities in statistical analysis and data mining have been one of the most wanted skills. As a newcomer, data presentation have appeared to the list. Businesses are more and more aware how crucial presentation skills are for business to be successful.
In 2009 Google’s Chief Economist Dr. Hal R. Varian stated, “The ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualise it, to communicate it—that’s going to be a hugely important skill in the next decades.”
Almost decade later it’s easy to see that Dr. Varian was right. Data Scientist has been stated the sexiest job in 21st century. This has meant that companies have hired mathematicians and statistical experts who are specialised in data mining and analysing.
Without a doubt these capabilities have increased amount of insights generated from data but companies are still struggling with data presentation.
Then how would you define good data presentation skills? As data visualisation expert Stephen Few has put it “Numbers have an important story to tell. They rely on you to give them a clear and convincing voice.” Data presentation isn’t only about beautiful charts, infographics or interactive dashboards. Data presentation is skill based on three key elements: data, visuals and narrative.
Narrative combined with data helps to explain what’s happening in the data and why particular insight is especially important.
When you map data using visuals you’ll enlighten the audience. As infographics expert Alberto Cairo has put it “Show, don’t tell”. Visuals, illustrations and images have an great impact in convincing your audience.
Combine narrative with visuals and you’ll have engaging presentation. It’s amazing how much we spend money for Hollywood and great storytelling. Stories have a great impact on every one of us.
For example think about TED Talks. They enlighten and inspire our imagination and appeal to our rational side. In a research about top 500 TED Talks it was found out that stories made up at least 65% of their content. TED Talks are the greatest examples of combining emotional and rational side. They challenge our thinking and drive for a change.
Better data communication is the secret weapon of actionable insights
The most important argument for the need of data presentation skill isn’t good storytelling. It’s about the change that good data communication drives. By investing in data communication you’ll enable insights to be more actionable. Without actions insights have no value.
In Forresters’ study 74% of the companies said they want to be more “data-driven” but only 29% are successful at connecting analytics to action. The gap is absolutely huge. It means that majority of the companies are struggling with converting data to actions.
I think that the largest problem is data communication. So many companies have done a great job by hiring data mining and analysing experts. However that’s not enough.
As author Richard Bach has said “Any powerful idea is absolutely fascinating and absolutely useless until we choose to use it.” We need to do better job communicating data, so that insights really become actionable.
According to Forbes you need six key elements for actionable insights:
1. Alignment. Insights closely tied to your key business goals are the most important ones driving your business forward.
2. Context. Insight without context is nothing. We need to be able to relate the findings with something.
3. Relevance. Are these insights brought to right persons at the right time with right setting? Reports are too often buried in the e-mail boxes of marketing manager. This is completely opposite of what we want from actionable insights. By investing on data storytelling we can make more compelling presentation which allows insights to get attention they deserve.
4. Specificity. The specific insights are more likely to be acted on. If you are selling more than last month you should probably find out why this is happening.
5. Novelty. We will become numb to insights if they don’t challenge our knowledge and preconceptions. Fresh insights with new angles are more likely to generate actions. Visualise data in a new way to find new perspective on existing data.
6. Clarity. Communicating insights effectively is crucial for insights to be actionable. If people don’t clearly understand insights, the content will be forgotten. Too many times reports are quickly gathered without understanding the importance of this stage. Poor communication will cause signals to be lost and money to be thrown away.
At least three (relevance, novelty & clarity) of these six attributes are directly connected to data storytelling and presentation. By investing in communication you will make insights feel more relevant to your stakeholders. They are more memorable and have that crucial data storytelling element with a real emotional impact.
How we help to make insights more actionable
In the future more and more people have access to data through visual and interactive analysing tools. This will mean that there will be growing amount of insights. To have actionable insights we need to learn how to communicate better to the stakeholders. Otherwise, the insights-to-value ratio will drop.
At Annalect we help our customers to find actionable insights in the ever-expanding amount of marketing data. We offer 10-15 pages wide infographic style conclusions of the key insights to all our clients.
Inspiring and visual presentation is a great tool for internal marketing. It might be that results are presented to a board of directors, or in a weekly team-meeting. Whatever the occasion, it makes the content feel more relevant for the audience and makes sure everyone understands the key insights throughout the whole organisation. Simply put, it’ll make insights more actionable.
Please, explore our Instagram Influencer Marketing in Finland research to get idea of the advantages of infographic-style reporting. Also read the success story how we managed to get better results with infographic style presentations.
The writer has several years of experience in data communication, data visualisation and infographics at Omnicom Media Group. Joel consults and helps professionals in OMD, ToinenPHD, Ainoa Resolution and Annalect to communicate data and insights better.