Why is Data Storytelling Important?

Learn why data storytelling is an important skill. Discover why compelling stories with key insights can help drive smarter business decisions.

Data Storytelling is an essential skill everyone must learn. Here are five reasons why.

Data storytelling is abuzz across organizations around the world. More and more professionals seek opportunities to upskill and integrate data storytelling into their work. But why is there this growing demand to get teams up to speed? We’ve rounded up five reasons why data storytelling is important and has become an essential skill everyone in the workplace must learn, not just data scientists.

1. Data storytelling elevates the value of data.

Ever wonder how much data we produce in this day and age? According to Statista, global data creation will grow to more than 180 zettabytes by 2025.

Unfortunately, while the amount of data has increased astronomically, the skills needed to analyze and use data effectively are lagging behind. The reality is that data only becomes valuable and meaningful when the people with access to it can understand it, uncover valuable insights from it, and pass on these insights to those who need it. Data storytelling does precisely this. It maximizes the value of data by generating and communicating insights in a way that is accessible, meaningful, and memorable.

2. Data storytelling aligns with how humans are wired to think.

Stories, with their intrinsic, magnetic ability, have captivated and engaged humans since they were first etched on cave walls millennia ago. Recent research reveals that storytelling is more than a time-honored art form; it’s an integral component of human cognition, deeply embedded in our brain’s internal processes.

Highlighting this connection, Princeton Neuroscientist Uri Hasson’s groundbreaking research used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scans to show that when people are immersed in the same story, their brain activity synchronizes. This phenomenon, known as ‘neural entrainment,’ results in a profound connection between storyteller and listener, paving the way toward enhanced mutual understanding, idea transfer, and memory retention.

Photo from Uri Hasson’s research on how storytelling can synch brain activity shared via TED Talks.

Storytelling is a powerful tool that facilitates and sustains the connection between the messenger and the recipients. It turns complex information into something that is memorable and meaningful to our audience or stakeholders.

Through effective data storytelling, we can demonstrate to our audience not only that we value the data but that we also value their understanding of it.

3. Data storytelling helps us honor our stakeholder’s time.

Have you ever sat through a presentation where you spent much of the time making sense of a single chart or data visualization? You are not alone. Data analysis can be complex, and its insights are often elusive, so seeing data-focused reports on a meeting’s agenda can be intimidating.

However, data needs to be presented to decision-makers to fulfill its purpose and inspire action. And decision-makers are human. Like all humans, they can miss essential takeaways, get overwhelmed by large amounts of complex information, and let their internal biases get in the way. Considering the effort invested in creating dashboards, presentations and reports, the goal should be to enhance clarity and efficiency for the stakeholders.

Communicating to our stakeholders at work can be challenging, with or without data. In a Wall Street Journal article, Microsoft’s Jared Spataro shares, “People feel quite overwhelmed, a sense of feeling like they have two jobs, the job they were hired to do, but then they have this other job of communicating, coordinating, and collaborating.” The same article references a 2022 Harris Poll survey, which reports that based on the 1,200 workers it surveyed, an average of 7.47 hours a week is lost due to poor communication. That is practically a whole workday wasted.

Communicating insights from data continues to be crucial to drive meaningful impact at work. However, we must ensure that what we share is thoughtful and understandable. Data Storytelling forces us to streamline our ideas and present data in a way that caters to the audience and prioritizes precisely what they need to see. In the same way that every page in a book serves a purpose, so should every element and slide in a data story. This cohesion and structure that storytelling provides minimize confusion and wasted effort, making good use of everyone’s

4. Data storytelling opens a wealth of learning and career opportunities.

Gone are the days when only data analysts and data scientists were expected to work with and interpret the data. With data becoming more and more accessible, the need for companies to be equipped to manage, analyze, and communicate data across departments has grown.

It’s been 15 years since Google’s Chief Economist, Dr. Hal R. Varian, expressed in an interview how the next decades will see “the ability to take data—to be able to understand it, to process it, to extract value from it, to visualize it, to communicate it,” as a necessary skill not only for professionals but even for students across levels. Over a decade later, we are witnessing and living in this forecast. Forbes.com declares the second most in-demand skill for the next decade—following digital literacy—is data literacy, and part and parcel of this is effectively communicating data to others.

As more roles require the ability to influence others with data, it is safe to say that having this storytelling skill can lead to more career opportunities across all levels and industries. Especially now that more organizations are gearing towards having a good data culture.

5. Data storytelling gets a broader audience engaged with data.

Data storytelling isn’t exclusively contained within the walls of businesses in the private sector. From the media to multilateral institutions to non-profit organizations, effective data storytelling is so important that it has proven to be a crucial tool in getting the attention of the mass audience.

The recent pandemic is a testament to how communicating data accessibly can inform the public of the facts and move them to take action. In this way, data storytelling was used as a tool to inform and also served as a way for people to feel connected to the world and reclaim a sense of control over a global issue.

The necessity for storytelling in data visualizations and communicating data perseveres in other global matters like climate change, social welfare, public policies, and more. It is through accessible data communication and storytelling that the private and public sectors can continue to involve and empower teams and communities toward action.

 To become a data storyteller and learn how to get key insights from data, check our scheduled workshops or contact us to set up an exclusive class.  

Learn with us and earn your certificate. See you at our next workshop! 


Volume of data forecast

Uri Hasson’s Research on Storytelling

What happens in the brain when we hear stories? Uri Hasson at TED2016


Volume of data/information created, captured, copied, and consumed worldwide from 2010 to 2020, with forecasts from 2021 to 2025. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/871513/worldwide-data-created/


Hal Varian on how the Web challenges managers | McKinsey

Marr, Bernard. The Top 10 Most In-Demand Skills For The Next 10 Years. Forbes.com,



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