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Build an insights-driven org

Improve Your Insights Storytelling With Speedthrough Stories

Cinny Little
Cinny Little
Senior Analyst
March 22, 2018

Have you ever met an executive by chance in a hallway and they asked you about some data-to-insights work you’ve presented? And you were caught off guard and didn’t explain it well?   We’ve all been there. When we come up short like that, we’re leaving money – and time – on the table. We just lost an opportunity to drive more value, faster from our data / insights / analytics work.  Solve for this with a speedthrough story: a 30-second, ready-to-go version of a data-to-insights story that’s as well-crafted as your full insights story.

Storytelling is your most important data-to-insights activator
Fact: business insights pros with mature data-to-insights-to-actions abilities say they initially overfocused on data and tech and underestimated the need for soft skill activators.  Insights storytelling is one of those activators. “Without storytelling, data offers just a rear-view mirror,” said Clive Humby, cofounder of customer science company Dunnhumby. And you want people looking forward, not backward.

Even if you’ve already had  storytelling training, you need to hone the specifics of data-to-insights stories that truly drive more actions.  As part of that work, always prepare a speedthrough version of the story.  That way, you’ll be ready for those chance encounters with executives and decision-makers.

Use a repeatable approach to craft insights stories with purpose
This report of mine (full version accessible to Forrester clients) gives practical advice on techniques for insights storytelling that incorporates both logic and emotion, including a speedthrough version.  The techniques I cover in the report include

  • Analyze the setting you’ll be in when you deliver your story
  • Analyze audience members’ roles and frame of mind (per what you may know about their receptivity to what you’re going to talk about).  People won’t “hear” you unless you help them relate to “what’s in it for me”
  • Structure your story effectively
  • Instill customer empathy into your audience to increase your story’s memorability
  • For your speedthrough story, distill it down to a 30-second version – and make sure to rehearse it – out loud. Professional performers such as actors and musicians rehearse.  Guess what:  you’re a professional performer, too!

Get started with the 5-step insights story playbook from my storytelling webinar (recording, slides available to Forrester clients with webinar access).

As always, feel free to schedule an inquiry with any questions: inquiry@forrester.com.

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