So – so far, we have chosen the right chart, decided to display our data in the correct way, and have made choices to draw the attention of the reader to the part of the data that we’d like to open a conversation about. So what’s next? How do we move forward?

What is the take away from your visualization?

Ask yourself the following question: What is the one thing you want people to take away from your graphic? What action do you want them to take?

Because without an action, no matter how amazing your chart is, people are likely to forget it.

This graph for example, shares an interesting insight, but what is the person you’re presenting to supposed to do with this insight? The attention is drawn to the right spot, but why have you decided to draw their attention there?


A nice-to-know doesn’t change anything. If there is no action that immediately follows from a conclusion, people are likely to forget it.

However, what if we simply change the title..


It immediately becomes clear why we are looking at this plot. It opens a conversation.

This is especially the case if you use an active title, like ‘we need to..’, ‘we must..’ or ‘we should..’

In order to convey what you would like to happen moving forward, you can incorporate the following aspects in your chart:

  • Put your point first, often as an active title.
  • Present the visual data that supports this point. Here, it helps to guide the focus. Usually three ways that focus the attention is optimal (e.g. color + text + title).
  • Emphasize the action to take. This can also be a story that you tell along with the graph, but it usually doesn’t hurt to put it into words and add it to your graph specifically.


And with that, you’ve converted a simple insight into an actionable one that you can effectively communicate.


Data storytelling is the art of successfully communicating about data, and hopefully, this blog has made that a tad bit easier for you. With a good chart as a foundation for your data, titles, colors and text to help guide the focus, and lastly, a way to present how to move forward.