From Numbers to Narrative:
A Data Visualization Webinar

Our Sweet Slides 101 webinar series focuses on crucial presentation and visual communication skills. In March, we explored how to cut down on text to make more visual slides in From Wordy to WOW. This quarter we offered a data visualization webinar, From Numbers to Narrative.

Check out the highlights below and keep an eye out for the replay, coming soon to our YouTube channel!

Data-savvy professionals enjoy more success

In our data-driven world, decision-making processes hinge upon the insights gleaned from data analysis. From optimizing operations to driving strategic initiatives, data underpins nearly every aspect of business today.

It’s not enough to simply possess data – it’s how we interpret and communicate that data that has a profound effect on how we perform in our professional lives.

In fact, 85% of those who consider themselves data literate report performing “very well” at work. Only 54% of non-data literate professionals would say the same. (From Qlik)

By honing data skills, from analyzation through communication, professionals can strengthen their careers and expand their opportunities.

How do you make a story out of data?

When faced with a set of data, the challenge is to understand that data and be able to communicate important insights with context so that the recipients of the information take appropriate action.

To get from raw data to a true story, there are four major steps:

  1. Review data for understanding

    The first step to telling a data story is to take the time to really understand your data. What elements do you have to work with? Is there a time component? Are you working with absolute numbers or percentages? Given all of the data that you have, what are all the questions that you could answer?

    In our example, we identified many answerable questions from a fairly simple set of data about calls into a call center.
    Data Table example for data visualization webinar

    But we can’t tell ALL of these stories – it’s simply too much for an audience to process. So how do we decide what we need to share?

  2. Identify simple insights

    Data doesn’t happen in a vacuum – once you are familiar with the data, widen your lens and consider context. Instead of focusing on all of the data you have access to, change your focus to only what your audience needs or wants to know.

    What is the business question at hand? Might the data support a decision regarding budget allotment? Or marketing strategy?

    In our example, the title told us that we are hunting for areas for improvement. Where we are fielding the most calls, we might have some opportunities for changes that will reduce call volume. Once we know what we’re trying to answer, we can review the data from that lens, searching for things that might provide insights:
    Things to look for when analyzing data for data visualization webinar

  3. Choose the right graph

    Different graph types are best for different usages. Some graphs, like line graphs, are best for evaluating trends over time. Bar graphs, on the other hand, make comparing data easy. Pie graphs, of course, are best at showing a snapshot of composition.

    We explored several graph types, but ultimately landed on this clustered bar graph, split by category. This graph allows us to see the general composition of the call categories, with the largest volumes listed at the top. We can also easily assess the year over year change in each category.
    Graph example for data visualization webinar

  4. Provide context and action items

    While the above is a good data expression, it is still not a story. Remember, data doesn’t happen in a vacuum, so consider what context might be necessary for the audience to arrive at the correct conclusion. Be selective! If we share too much detail, we might muddy up our main takeaway.

    But beyond context, for this data to really become a story, we need to supply the “so what?” It’s not a story without an ending, so include the recommendations and action items – what should we DO about the data?

    In our example, we added crucial context to explain outliers, used color to draw the eye to important data and strengthened our title in include our conclusion so that the data wasn’t just a statement, but a story.
    Data story example for data visualization webinar

When it comes to data, think about creating TRACTion

Graphic of TRACTion acronym from data visualization webinarWhen we gain traction, we’re making progress and gaining buy in on our ideas or guidance.

To make sure that your data visualization is working hard, check to see if have included the following:

Titles that provide guidance on what the data is telling us

Recommendations on what changes or decisions should be made according to the data

Annotations that draw attention to the right things, or explain outliers

Conclusions drawn from your evaluation of the data

Takeaways about next steps and action items

What did the attendees think about this data visualization webinar?

100% of attendees said they learned something at our data visualization webinar, From Numbers to Narrative. This session in particular was filled with a lot of action in the chat, so thanks to all of the attendees!

Here’s what some of them said:

Loved the practicality and step by step example.


I liked the real life examples being used and interaction with the participants.


I liked the pace and the TRACT acronym – a good refresher of what to keep in mind.

Our next webinar is coming up!

Presentation Skills webinar on creating engagement with an audience


What: Captivate & Engage

In this session, we will explore tactics and strategies to hold the attention of any audience, whether in person or virtually.

When: October 2, 2024. 11am PT/2pm ET.

Where: Register here!

Don’t miss another session!

SlideRabbit's Sweet Slides 101 presentation skills webinar series for creating powerful presentationsReady to transform your presentations into powerful tools for success? Each session we’ll tackle a crucial skill for impactful presentations. From data, to narrative, to design tips & tricks, there will be something for anyone looking to make better slides.

Looking for something more comprehensive? We also offer workshops and trainings for teams! All workshops are built-to-suit with a custom curriculum built around your teams’ skills & needs. Get in touch to discuss further!

Or stay in touch with us for more information and opportunities to attend the right presentation skills webinar for you.

Get in touch however you prefer:

Connect with SlideRabbit on LinkedIn   See more presentation skills training on SlideRabbit's YouTube channelSign up for SlideRabbit's newsletter

(We’re also on Facebook & X)