5. Telling Stories with Data

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There can sometimes be a disconnect between technically minded data analysts and managers focused on the big picture. This lesson provides some thoughts on how to overcome this potential issue by treating data as a storytelling tool.

Lesson Notes

Lesson Goal

The goal of this lesson is to learn how to tell stories with data.

Structuring a Story

Converting data analysis into a story is a great way to overcome any disconnect between technically minded analysts and business-focused executives. The key to keeping people interested in a story is to provide a structure. The notion of storytelling goes back to Aristotle’s time, and he proposed the following structure for a story:

  1. Present an interesting story or statement

  2. Deliver a problem that needs to be solved

  3. Propose a solution to the problem

  4. Explain the benefits of your solution

  5. State a call to action


When creating a story, you need to tailor it to the audience involved. We consider this more fully in the next lesson.


A good story should be objective and unbiased. It should reflect how things actually are, not how you want them to be. You should let your data tell the story, instead of manipulating the data to fit the desired story.