Advantages of Data Storytelling CPD Courses

Advantages of Data Storytelling CPD Courses

12 Apr 2024

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In this CPD article, we look at the art of data storytelling, a valuable skill that blends data analysis with narrative and visualisation to make complex information both accessible and compelling. Data storytelling is becoming a useful tool in a world of information and increasingly reliant on data - providing a powerful means to communicate insights in a way that is engaging and actionable.

This article explores the core aspects of data storytelling, including its benefits, practical steps, and how CPD courses can help you become an effective data storyteller.

What is Data Storytelling?

Data storytelling is a multi-disciplinary approach that combines elements of data science, storytelling, and visual design to communicate information. It goes beyond the presentation of facts and figures; it involves crafting a narrative around the data, using visual elements to highlight key points, and contextualising the information to resonate with the audience's experiences and challenges. This methodology not only aims to present data but to narrate it in a manner that elicits understanding, emotions, and action.

What Are the Benefits of Data Storytelling?

Using storytelling to convey complex information in an engaging and digestible way can provide a wide range of benefits – both for the producer of the information and the consumer. The following highlights some of the key benefits:

Enhances Comprehension

Data storytelling makes complex information more accessible. By giving data context within a narrative, audiences can better understand and retain the information. The storytelling aspect appeals to our innate affinity for narratives, making it easier to grasp the significance behind the numbers.

Facilitates Decision-Making

One of the primary advantages of data storytelling is its capacity to highlight insights that inform decision-making. Through a well-crafted story, decision-makers can see the implications of data in a real-world context, making it easier to draw actionable conclusions.

Engages and Persuades

Data stories are more likely to capture attention and persuade stakeholders. They achieve this by engaging the audience emotionally, making the data not just a set of numbers but a narrative that has a direct impact on their lives or work.

Promotes Data Literacy

As data storytelling demystifies data analysis, it also promotes data literacy among wider audiences. It provides an entry point for individuals who may not have a background in data science, thereby fostering a data-informed culture.

Improves Visibility

Creating visuals and compelling narratives transforms previously overlooked information into engaging content that captivates audiences, prompting them to engage with the data. Many platforms, particularly social media, are saturated with text. Diversifying the medium of your message through videos, infographics, and podcasts can elevate your message above the noise.

Creating compelling data stories

How to Create a Data Story

Creating compelling data stories is an art that blends analytical insight with creative narrative and effective communication. Here is how to embark on the journey of data storytelling, from initial conception through to the final delivery.

Step 1: Know Your Audience

Understanding who your audience is shapes the entire storytelling process. Different audiences have varying levels of familiarity with data and distinct interests or needs. Conduct audience research to identify their demographics, knowledge level, interests, and what they hope to gain from your story.

Step 2: Define Your Objective

Having a clear objective guides the selection of data, the crafting of your narrative, and how you present your story. Determine what you want to achieve with your story, be it to inform, persuade, or inspire action. Your objective should align with your audience’s needs and interests.

Step 3: Gather and Analyse Your Data

The data forms the foundation of your story. Accurate and relevant data ensures your story is credible and impactful. Collect data from reliable sources and use data analytics tools to explore this data, uncovering trends, patterns, or insights that will form the core of your story.

Step 4: Craft Your Narrative

Data alone does not engage an audience; the narrative does. A well-constructed narrative can turn complex data into a relatable story. Identify the key message or insight from your data and structure your story with a beginning that sets the scene, a middle that presents the data and its analysis, and an end that concludes with a clear takeaway or call to action.

Step 5: Choose the Right Visuals

Visuals enhance understanding, retention, and emotional impact. They transform abstract numbers into concrete, understandable concepts. Select visualisation tools and formats that best represent your data and narrative - using charts, graphs, infographics, or even interactive visuals to help tell your story.

Step 6: Integrate Narrative and Data

The integration of narrative and data defines data storytelling. This ensures that your story and visuals complement each other. Seamlessly weave your data visuals into the narrative, ensuring each visual aids the advancement of the story, clarifying complex points, or evoking the desired emotional response.

Step 7: Refine Your Story

Refinement ensures clarity, coherence, and impact - polishing your story to make it as effective as possible. Review your story for flow, accuracy, and engagement. Get feedback from peers or your intended audience and make the necessary adjustments, paying attention to pacing, language, and the overall presentation.

Step 8: Deliver Your Story

The way you deliver your story can significantly affect its reception and impact. Choosing the right platform and format for your audience ensures your story is seen and heard. Decide on the most appropriate medium for your story (e.g. presentation, report, video, webinar), based on your audience’s preferences and the context of the story. If presenting live, focus on engaging your audience and conveying your passion for the topic.

Step 9: Follow Up

The conclusion of your story doesn’t mark the end of its journey. Following up can provide valuable insights into its impact and effectiveness. Solicit feedback from your audience using surveys, discussions, or analytics (for digital stories) to measure engagement and understand how your story was received, using these insights for continuous improvement.

What Are the Seven Elements of Digital Storytelling?

The seven elements of digital storytelling often serve as a framework to guide creators in producing compelling narratives, particularly in the context of leveraging digital platforms. They emphasise the combination of traditional storytelling techniques with digital media's unique capabilities, ensuring stories are engaging, meaningful, and effectively communicated. Here is a brief overview:

  1. Point of View: What is the main point of the story, and what is the perspective of the storyteller? This element focuses on the narrative voice and the unique perspective or insight that the storyteller brings to the audience.
  2. A Dramatic Question: A key question that keeps the audience engaged and drives the narrative forward. It is usually introduced at the beginning and answered by the end, providing a satisfying story arc.
  3. Emotional Content: Stories that evoke emotion tend to be more memorable and impactful. Emotional content connects the audience to the story on a personal level, making the narrative more compelling.
  4. The Gift of Your Voice: The storyteller’s voice brings authenticity and uniqueness to the story. It can convey emotion, nuance, and personality, making the digital story more relatable and engaging.
  5. The Power of the Soundtrack: Music and sound effects can greatly enhance the storytelling experience, underscoring the emotional tone and setting the pace of the narrative.
  6. Economy: This element stresses the importance of brevity and choosing words, images, and sounds carefully to tell the story efficiently. A good digital story must convey its message without unnecessary detail that could detract from the core message.
  7. Pacing: The rhythm of the story and how slowly or quickly information is revealed. Pacing affects how well the audience absorbs and retains the story’s information and emotional impact.

These elements are not strict rules but rather guidelines to help storytellers craft more effective and engaging digital stories. Whether for educational purposes, marketing, or entertainment, applying these fundamentals can help storytellers connect with their audiences more deeply.

Business Intelligence (BI) courses provide insights

CPD for Aspiring Data Storytellers

To become proficient in data storytelling, professionals should consider engaging in a variety of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) courses that encompass the key skills and knowledge areas related to this discipline. These courses not only enhance specific competencies but also contribute to a holistic understanding of how data can be used to craft impactful stories. Here are some broad areas of study that are instrumental for aspiring data storytellers:

Data Visualisation

Courses in data visualisation focus on the effective presentation of data through graphical means. These programs teach the principles of design, the psychology of visual perception, and how to use visualisation tools. Learning to present data visually is crucial for data storytelling as it aids in illustrating complex information in an accessible and compelling manner.

Data Analytics

Understanding how to interpret and analyse data is foundational for storytelling. Data analytics courses cover techniques for data mining, statistical analysis, and predictive modelling. These skills enable storytellers to uncover the narratives hidden within datasets and to present these insights with accuracy and depth.

Storytelling for Business

Storytelling for business courses concentrate on the art of narrative construction and its application in a corporate context. These courses often include elements of narrative structure, audience engagement, and the use of storytelling to convey brand messages or corporate values. This knowledge is applicable in creating stories that not only inform but also connect with a business audience on an emotional level.

Business Intelligence (BI)

Business Intelligence (BI) courses provide insights into the use of data analysis in business decision-making. Topics might include data warehousing, dashboard development, and BI tools. For data storytellers, understanding BI concepts is essential for crafting stories that support strategic business objectives.

Communication Skills

Effective data storytelling requires excellent communication skills. Courses in this area can help improve both verbal and written communication, ensuring that data stories are articulated clearly and persuasively.

Digital Media Production

With the rise of digital media, courses in digital production can be valuable for learning how to create multimedia stories. These might cover video editing, podcasting, and the use of digital storytelling platforms, equipping storytellers to leverage various media for their narratives.

Selecting the Right Data Storytelling CPD Courses

When choosing CPD courses, professionals should consider their current skill levels, the specific competencies they aim to develop, and how these skills align with their career objectives or the needs of their organisation.

By taking a broad approach to professional development, encompassing technical, analytical, and creative disciplines, individuals can become adept data storytellers, capable of turning cold numbers and facts into compelling stories that drive action and change.


Data storytelling bridges the gap between raw data and actionable insights, creating a deeper understanding and engagement among audiences. Through CPD courses focused on data storytelling, professionals can hone this essential skill, ensuring their narratives not only inform but also inspire action. As we advance in an increasingly data driven world, the art of data storytelling stands as a great skill to help guide people to more informed decisions and enriched perspectives.

Where to Find Suitable Data Storytelling CPD Courses

If you are interested in undertaking CPD courses to boost your skills in data storytelling or to progress your chosen career, please visit the CPD Courses Catalogue. Here you will find thousands of accredited courses and events from across all industries and learning types, which would be beneficial for fulfilling any wider personal and professional goals.

All the certified courses and training have been reviewed and recognised as meeting the required industry standards and benchmarks. To find out more about a particular CPD course listed on our website, you can complete an enquiry form and the details will be sent directly to the relevant CPD provider.

How to become an accredited CPD provider

We hope this article was helpful. Established in 1996, The CPD Certification Service is the world’s leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors. If you are looking to provide training courses, workshops, eLearning or educational events that may be suitable for Continuing Professional Development, please visit the Become a CPD Provider page or contact our team to discuss in more detail.

Alternatively, if you are looking for a free online CPD record tool to help manage, track and log your ongoing learning, as well as store your professional training records and attendance certificates in one simple place, go to the myCPD Portal page.

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