How to engage your audience when Data is the story …

data story

How can presenters keep an audience engaged when going over large sets of data? It can be challenging keeping an audience-focused during a normal presentation, but graphs and pie charts can make it even more difficult to keep their attention. Here, Jude’s written these tips to make sure your next presentation establishes the story first, and then uses data for context. 

Every good story needs a hero or heroine, a series of challenges the main character is required to overcome and, of course, a good ending.
No matter whether the challenges are internal or external, real or imaginary if you get the audience to sympathize with the main character you have a good story. A good story also needs supporting characters and events that surprise, engage or have a punch.
A story with a happy ending will make the audience feel good, while an ending that is sad or bad will leave them feeling bleak. In either case, both the main character and the audience go through a process.
Today, lecturers and speakers are taught how to tell a good story and how to fascinate their audiences. Every TED Talk and every successful campaign includes, or ought to include, a good story.


  • Remember the first rule: every datum or detail should be in context.
  • The next step is answering two questions: Where is the hero at the beginning of the story? What needs to happen to the hero in order for there to be a good ending?
  • Even if the data is interesting, you have to present it in a way that makes the audience pay attention and helps them to understand it.
  • Present clear data that makes sense.
  • Simplify the data and make sure the context is straightforward.
  • Don’t visually overload the presentation.
  • Get the audience engaged with the message and try to make them feel as much as they think. The audience needs to sympathise with the story and connect to it.
  • Walk your listeners through the challenges related to the data that you are going to cover without overwhelming them with too much information

This article was published on Presentation Guru website.

To the article

2 thoughts on “How to engage your audience when Data is the story …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content