Data Storytelling Principles and Best Practices

In this practical, interactive workshop participants build on their knowledge of data visualisation principles and best practices by learning the importance of using narrative structure and storytelling techniques to enhance the way they present their data visualisations to stakeholders.

Participants will work in small groups to prepare and deliver a data story presentation and receive constructive feedback on their presentation content and delivery from the experienced facilitator.


This course is intended for people who want to build on their knowledge of data visualisation so they can communicate the results of their analysis in a compelling way.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course participants will:

  • Explain why presenting data visualisations in a narrative format increases audience attention and increases follow-up action
  • Use the storyboarding technique to plan the content and structure of a data presentation
  • Use the narrative structure and storytelling techniques to create compelling data presentations that will capture the audience and increase the chance of action
  • Improve single data visualisations by adding data storytelling elements to them

Course Agenda

Module 1 – Data Storytelling Concepts & Principles

  • Data Storytelling
  • What is Data Storytelling?
  • What is the role of Data Storytelling in analytics?
  • Data analysis, visualisation and storytelling
  • When and when not to use a data story
  • Breakout activity – Matching data communication format to analytics tasks
  • Data Storytelling Principles
  • How and why do data stories work?
  • Elements of a data story
  • Anatomy of a Data Story
  • The Three Act Play
  • Common narrative structures
  • Narrative sequence and tactics
  • Breakout activity – Identify and critique the structure and content of data stories
  • Choosing the Content
  • Identify the key insight
  • Identify supporting material
  • Maximise credibility of your story
  • Review your visualisations

Module 2 – Data Storytelling Design Process

  • Planning a Data Story
  • Understand the audience
  • Decide the format and delivery method
  • Planning the outline with a storyboard
  • Data Storytelling Mini-Project


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