lead with story

When asked to write a guest blog post for this month's focus on storytelling on the Tableau Public Blog, I spent some time reflecting: if I had just a single lesson to share, what's the #1 piece of advice I'd give in this space? I'd boil it down to three simple words: lead with story. The following is the guest post I authored.

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leverage animation: what you present vs. what you circulate

A common challenge in storytelling with data is the following conundrum. When presenting content live, you want to be able to walk your audience through the story, focusing on just the relevant part of the visual. However, the version that gets circulated to your audience - as pre-read or takeaway, or for those who weren't able to attend the meeting - needs to be able to stand on its own without you, the presenter, there to walk the audience through it. In this post, we examine a strategy for dealing with this challenge.

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the story you want to tell...and the one your data shows

This is a case where the story being told wasn't quite right, or at least wasn't exactly the story I would tell after looking at the data in a couple of different ways. Here, I'll walk you through my thought process and makeover.

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multifaceted data and story

This is a rich dataset on 7th graders meeting fitness standards by race over time from kidsdata.org in terms of the number of facets one could focus on and the number of stories one could use it to illustrate. In this post, I look at some of these stories and how to make them visually clear.

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slopegraph template

I've found myself increasingly using slopegraphs as of late. They can be useful when you have two time periods of data and want to quickly see increases/decreases between the two periods (example below; see second half of this post for more discussion and another example).

From a formatting standpoint, however, they are annoying. They take a lot of time to set up because basically everything is different from graphing application defaults. I realized as I was making a recent one that I make the exact same changes every single time and may actually leverage a template for this (I say "may actually" because I thought that would be the case once before, but it didn't happen, though I've heard from others that they do use it).

In case you find yourself wanting to use a slopegraph (or quickly see whether one will work given the specifics of your data), you can download the Excel template I created here (screenshot below).

"animation" with power point

In this post, I discuss leveraging animation in PowerPoint to build the story you want to tell and show what it can look like live in a video with narration.

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