In Conversation

Laura Warren, Storylytics Founder

Over a 20-year career in leadership roles within Canada’s largest syndicated research and loyalty firms, Laura became known as the ‘data whisperer’ because of her ability to clarify complex issues through data, graphics, and narrative.

All Good (Data) Stories Start at the End


Mar 24, 2020

How do businesses keep insights flowing when physical distance is the norm? It’s harder, but not impossible. Data storytelling frameworks help lead the way.

We’ve had an unprecedented rate of change over the past few weeks, and with that has come an unprecedented use of data. And it’s not only the surge in information sharing prompted by COVID-19. I’d go a step further: If we sit back and consider our own working environments, there has been more of a demand for timely data on production, shipments and financial metrics, let alone the wide range of human resource considerations.

The way in which we work and interact has fundamentally changed in what seems like the blink of an eye.

At Storylytics, we believe that we need data stories to make faster, better decisions in a rapidly changing world.

This need for data stories is something we discuss a lot, and at no other point in time has the importance of telling stories through data been greater.  The storytelling element is underscored by the fact that, with many of us working from home, data is often now shared without a voice-over or human touch. So, how do we keep the insights flowing? We need to develop and deliver stories that can stand alone.

To tell a good story, in any realm, we need three key elements – something meaningful to share, a common language with the audience, and a relatable framework to engage. If a story is missing the mark, we need to focus on what makes up each of the pillars. Where is the gap? Is it in the interpretation of the data, understanding of the audience, the intent of the problem, the design of the story or the delivery technique?

“Whoa. Okay. So, where can we start?” I can hear you asking from here, physical distancing in my home office. Well, the same place all good stories start – at the end. To build your skills, focus first on the delivery of the story. It’s where your audience feels the greatest frustration, and where you’ll get your biggest return on investment.

At the end of the day, all your audience really wants is to know why the data matters – what it means and how it helps them determine what’s next. In remote work we lose the luxury of chatter, which puts even more pressure on story delivery to ensure insights are understood and actions are clear. Using a data storytelling framework like the POET Technique™ helps you maintain that laser focus on making the data matter for your audience.

POET lives in three forms – verbal (presentation), visual (page) and email. When working remotely, POET on the Page is where we make the data matter and allow stories to be told without us being present. Our audiences will understand exactly what they need to do differently, based on the data, and can share the same insight with others. This speeds up communication of results, and ultimately the action needed.

Ah, data in the time of COVID-19. And this is exactly why we’re going to be offering free webinars on the POET Technique™ in the first few weeks of April. Keep an eye on our website for more details, and keep in touch for more tips in the weeks to come.


Stories Must Stay True to Data

Reaching business goals does not come from spin. And putting conclusions before data helps no one. It is the storyteller’s job to translate the truth in the data—no matter how difficult it is to hear.

Read More

POET Technique

Every Page is a Story

Strong data stories stand alone – they don’t depend on a human voice-over to deliver clear insights that demand action. Read on to see how the POET Technique™ works to make every page matter in your story.

Read More


Make Data Matter

It’s never about the data. It’s about what the data can help us understand, and how it can bring us together to act. Articulating that value is how we truly make data matter. [Disclaimer: This article was written just before the start of Canada’s COVID-19 lockdown, and so much has changed in the months since […]

Read More


What Story Is Your Data Telling?

Presenting data to create a business case that inspires action goes far beyond charts and graphs

Read More


Using Data Stories to Inspire Action

Ever wondered why your leadership team decided to proceed in a direction that’s completely counter to the research you just presented? Your data may present the facts, but you need a clear data story to influence action.

Read More


The Three Core Steps to Data Storytelling

Building an effective data story is based on a sequential process;  – first data, then narrative, and finally visualization.

Read More

With Storylytics, anyone can be a storyteller

Turn your data into action with Storylytics

Turn your data into
 action with Storylytics