There are a number of concepts I discuss in my workshops for helping to ensure that the story you're telling in your communication comes across. I'd like to discuss these in a series of brief posts over the next week. First, a couple assumptions to make clear:
- My first assumption is that you want to tell a story. My view is that you should always want your audience to know or do something, and story is what can help make that something clear as well as make it resonate with and stick with your audience. For me, great data visualization makes itself a pivotal point in a story.
- For this conversation, I also assume that the format of the story you're crafting is a presentation deck. While not always the case, I find that this often is the main form of communicating analytical results, findings, and recommendations at many companies. Some of the concepts we'll discuss will be applicable to written reports and other formats as well.
The first concept we'll discuss is horizontal logic.
The idea behind horizontal logic is that you can read just the slide title of each slide throughout your deck and, together, these snippets tell the overarching story you want to communicate. It's important to have action titles (not descriptive titles) for this to work well.
One strategy is to have an exec summary slide up front, with each bullet corresponding to a subsequent slide title in the same order. This is a nice way of setting it up so your audience knows what to expect and then is taken through the detail.
Checking for horizontal logic is one approach to test whether the story you want to tell is coming through clearly in your deck.
Stay tuned for the next post in this series, where we'll discuss vertical logic.