Data Doesn’t Communicate… People Do

Data Doesn’t Communicate… People Do

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Data doesn’t communicate – people do.

We’ve never been more able to assemble, analyze, compare and distribute data than we are today.  We know more about how many, how much, where it came from and where it’s likely to go than we ever have. We share it, sell it, and stuff it into everything we say to each other. Data is everywhere, and yet we still have such a difficult time solving problems, driving business, and achieving success. With an overflow of data and a variety of methods for delivering that information, we have to be intentional with our communication.

So, what does this mean?  Just because people understand, doesn’t mean they care.

Communicating the data behind a strategy or an action is fairly easy.  Making someone care about what that means – to them, in their world – requires more.

Data informs decisions, it does not dictate them.  The way we humans settle on what we believe and, more importantly, what we DO, is a complex process. We “feel” our way to our critical decisions and we need more from each other than just numbers to navigate that path.

Your raw data, once refined, becomes information.  When that information is combined with insight, connected to the human experience, and transferred to your listeners, it becomes something different – knowledge.  Yet, even that knowledge isn’t enough. It’s necessary to make the information relevant to the individual.  You have to make the audience “feel” something about it. You have to make them care.

Pixar Writer/Director Andrew Stanton, in his well-circulated TED talk on storytelling ( pleads:

“Make me care” — please… emotionally, intellectually, aesthetically, just make me care. We all know what it’s like to not care. You’ve gone through hundreds of TV channels, just switching channel after channel, and then suddenly you stop on one. It’s already halfway over, but something’s caught you and you’re drawn in and you care. That’s not by chance, that’s by design.”

You may not be telling the same types of stories, but they are stories none-the-less… and your task is the same:  Move people beyond understanding and make them care.

Using your communication to move those critical to your success requires that both your content and your delivery style connects with them. Inform and transfer knowledge, but then, work hard to influence, connect and make them care.  Because data doesn’t communicate, people do.