I’m at the end of an 18 hour day, so I just want to share a few raw thoughts around telling compelling stories gleamed from sitting in on a fantastic workshop lead by eePulse Inc and CEO professor Theresa Welbourne (follow her on Twitter here). If you have energy around learning more about organizational effectiveness or data driven storytelling, consider attending one of her upcoming workshops or perhaps even joining USC CEO as a sponsor. With that said, a few thoughts:

-The value of a data insight isn’t necessarily strongly correlated with the costs to discover it. Sometimes the most valuable analytics are easy to produce.

– Regardless of audience, leading with a compelling story and then using data to support it can often be more effective than leading with the data itself.

– It isn’t always possible to have 100% accurate data, but if it’s still statistically valid it is often still valuable. Ergo, when evaluating the utility of a takeaway, ask yourself (and the audience) “Is the actionable item here still a good idea even if the data is x% wrong?”

– Stay away from talking points that will put your audience on the defensive. Instead, where possible look to present data in a way that is captivating as opposed to cutting.

– Too much data is confusing now matter what the audience. As such, look to tell your story by forging an emotional connection with the audience, then use your data to support that story.

– It’s okay to have an opinion. You don’t have to simply present data and then leave it to your audience to connect the dots.

As always, please share your thoughts in the comments section below.