a fresh perspective

This is the final post in the series on helping ensure the story you aim to tell is coming across effectively in your communication. Prior posts have been on horizontal logicvertical logicBing, Bang, Bongo, and reverse storyboarding.

Today, we'll briefly discuss the value of soliciting a fresh perspective.

Once you've crafted your communication, give it to a friend or colleague. It can be someone without any context (it's actually helpful if it is someone without any context, because this puts them in a much closer position to your audience than you can be given your intimate knowledge of the subject matter). Have them talk out loud through what they pay attention to, what they think is important, where they have questions. This will help you understand whether the communication you've crafted is telling the story you mean to tell, or in the case where it isn't exactly, help you understand where to concentrate your iterations.

There is immense value in getting a fresh perspective when it comes to communicating with data in general. As we become subject matter experts in our space, it becomes impossible for us to take a step back and look at what we've created (whether a single graph or a full presentation) through our audience's eyes. But that doesn't mean you can't see what they see. Leverage a friend or colleague for their fresh perspective. Help ensure your communication hits the mark.

This ends my series of posts on concepts that can help ensure the story you want to tell comes across clearly in your communication. Here's a quick recap of the concepts we've covered (click the blue text to see the full related post):

  • Horizontal logic: if you read through just the headlines, they tell your story.
  • Vertical logic: everything on a single slide is reinforcing.
  • Bing, bang, bongo: tell your audience what you're going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you just told them.
  • Reverse storyboarding: flip through the pages and write down the main point from each; this should reveal clear logic and progression and tell the overall story you're aiming for.
  • A fresh perspective: seek input and feedback from others to refine your story.

What other methods do you use as you craft and refine your storytelling with data?

Leave a comment with your thoughts!