Jen Underwood CUNA TechOpSS

Storytelling with data

Explain your data so everyone understands it.

October 3, 2017

To make an impact, you must tell a story with your data, says Jen Underwood, founder of Impact Analytix, LLC.

But that can be a challenge, she admits during a breakout session at the co-located CUNA Technology Council and CUNA Operations & Member Service Council Conferences

Creating a visualization that people “just get” is hard, Underwood says.

So is dealing with people’s attention spans. "There is just so much information being thrown at us these days,” she says.

Underwood took attendees through various storytelling strategies and visualization tools, and shared best practices from experience.

A few of the nuggets from Underwood’s tip-laden presentation include:

  • Reach people on an emotional level.
  • Understand that your audience won't retain as much as 80% of what you present.
  • Know your purpose and desired outcome.
  • Know your target audience and how to connect with them.
  • Know how you will measure the success of your endeavor.
  • Use appropriate safe colors. Also, be mindful that color blindness is fairly common.
  • Provide context when you provide numbers.
  • Realize that sometimes the boring approach is better.
  • Put the information you want to stand out toward the top.

The bottom line: Visualization makes a big difference in comprehension.

“You have to find a way to make your information stick,” Underwood says.

Click here for more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNACraig@cumagazine, and  @CUNACouncils, and by using the #TechOpSS hashtag. Learn more about the CUNA Councils, a member-led professional society for credit union executives, at cunacouncils.org.