I am always grateful that managers at my previous company signed me up for Nancy Durate’s data storytelling course.

I wouldn’t say I became a master at it, but that course opened my eyes to a new world of how to improve my data storytelling skills, not just presentation.

One key lesson, which seems obvious afterward, is to explain data in a way that inspires action.

“We saw this trend, which signals that you should do this action. If you do so, the estimated impact is this, and it could lead to this new trend.”

You know, something like that.

Otherwise, you are talking about numbers with no point. Yes, this is the metric. So what?

Nancy Durate summarized this into a one-sentence rule for persuasive data storytelling:

What is, what it could be, what is the ideal bliss

You might notice that you see this pattern in motivating speeches, captivating movies, and of course Steve Jobs’ famous Apple presentations.

This is indeed the common thread Nancy Durate deduced from all of those.