High-stakes communication matters...

Storytelling Techniques can help you win

If you are in any mid-senior level leadership role, you know one thing: High-stakes communication events matter.
These events could be business reviews, board meetings, key client presentations - if done well, they can drive a ton of impact.
But in today's world of exploding data-sets and expiring attention spans, you realise one thing. It's not enough to just present information.
You need to tell a story with your data.

... especially if you present data for a living!

This course is ideal for the following audiences


  • Consulting, Analytics, Data Science

    Present your findings to senior audiences with clarity and impact and persuade them to act


  • Business and Project Leaders

    Put your best foot forward during critical review presentations and get audiences to approve your proposals


  • Finance, HR, Functional leaders

    Present compelling data narratives and convince your audience to accept your recommendations

This comprehensive course makes Data Storytelling as easy as ABC(D) - Audience, Build Narrative, Charts, Delivery...

  • Audience and story foundation: Understand your audience and set a strong story foundation with the right data and analysis

  • Build the Narrative: Craft insightful messages, build a coherent narrative and add the right engagement elements

  • Charts and visuals: Choose simple charts, create intuitive slides and apply visual highlighting

  • Delivery prep: Leverage the audience's curiosity to engage their attention and deliver with impact

(Here's the detailed Course curriculum)

  • 1

    Module 1: Introduction to Storytelling and Audience Analysis

  • 2

    Module 2: Crafting insightful messages from the data

    • What is a 'message'?

    • Can you differentiate between 'messages' and 'titles'?

    • What makes a message a message?

    • The Data Storyteller's Core Objective

    • Why do 'longish' messages help in achieving the data-storyteller's objective?

    • What makes a message an 'insight'?

      FREE PREVIEW
    • How to craft a message: the 6W1H method

    • A cool way to remember the 7 questions :)

    • Craft clear messages for the given data

    • The soul of a message - framing

    • A viral ad uses a key storytelling principle...

    • The magic ingredient that makes a message impactful

    • How do you build surprise: the underlying principle of norm-variance

    • A real-life example of norm-variance from one of the world's best storytellers

    • The parameters you can use to derive norms

    • Example of 'Context' based norm

    • Example of 'Perspective' based norm

    • The Norm-variance quiz

    • Making numbers relatable

    • Curiosity quiz

    • Using the power of Curiosity

    • A 3-step process for crafting the question to ask the audience

    • Covering your bases when trying a 'risky' Curiosity Play

    • Module 2 - Wrap up!

  • 3

    Module 3: Building a coherent Narrative from your messages

    • Introduction to Story Narrative

    • Beginning with the end in mind

    • Identify the right Point B

    • Starting trouble!

    • Figuring out the right Point A

    • How to choose the right Point A

    • The blue pill or the red pill

    • Find the main point of these paras

    • You need to BLUF your communication

    • Organise ideas about podcasts

    • Messages have buckets - and levels!

    • Introducing the Minto Pyramid Principle

    • Deriving the 'higher-level' messages for the Pyramid

    • A fun Bollywood example of 'vertical flow'!

      FREE PREVIEW
    • Find the higher-level idea

    • Debrief: Example on deriving higher-level idea

    • Deriving the main message for an email

    • My personal journey with the Pyramid Principle!

    • Understanding 'horizontal-flow' in the Pyramid

    • Navigating the pyramid - top down or bottom up

    • Creating the most important slide in your presentation

    • The 5-step process from Excel data to the PowerPoint Slide

    • Steve Jobs reinforces the point about Narrative trumping visuals

    • Some standard data-story formats

  • 4

    Module 4: Choosing the right charts and highlighting the key finding

    • Introduction to Visuals

    • Choose the right chart for this data

    • The first step in choosing your chart: Your message

    • Identify what is wrong with these charts

    • When we choose the wrong chart even after knowing the message

    • The second step in choosing your chart: Identify the comparison factor

    • Quiz - Identify the right comparison factor

    • Debrief - Identifying the comparison factor in a message

    • Presenting: The Charts Cheat Sheet!

    • Choose the right charts for the data

    • It's not all about charts: A few tips from Infographics

    • What can we learn from Comic-strip panels!

      FREE PREVIEW
    • How to ensure perfect sync between the message and slide contents

    • Identify the type of error

    • Debrief - the Type 1 and Type 2 error examples

    • Use of animation to release the information in bite-sized pieces

    • Introduction to the Declutter-De-emphasise-Highlight sub-module

    • Choosing the chart to be 'de-cluttered'

    • How to declutter a chart - example 1

    • How to declutter a chart - example 2

    • Why just decluttering isn't enough

    • Learning about visual highlighting from Bollywood's song and dance routine

    • Why do we need visual highlighting in charts?

    • Examples of de-emphasis and visual highlighting from real life

    • A detailed walk-through of a visual highlighting example

    • Applying highlighting principles to a table

    • Exploring a cool feature to use animation within a chart!

    • Summarising concepts on visuals

  • 5

    Module 5: Story Engagement Elements and Delivery Tips

    • It's time to add some engagement!

    • Why do we need the 'human' story element?

      FREE PREVIEW
    • The need for a bird's eye and a worm's eye view

    • A vivid human story example

    • How to refine your human story before sharing

    • Quiz - Human stories

    • Introduction to analogies - the need for relatability

    • An example and some tips on using analogies

    • Quiz - analogies

    • Intro: How to begin and end well

    • 5 techniques you can use to begin well

    • 4 ways to end memorably

    • Introduction to Delivery!

    • Basic do's and don'ts for virtual delivery

    • Advanced delivery tip 1: How to present individual slides

    • Advanced delivery tip 1: Creating a script for presenting individual slides

    • Advanced delivery tip 2: What happens when you present without transitions between slides

    • Advanced delivery tip 2: How to transition between slides

    • Advanced delivery tip 2: The secret ingredient that drives a great transition

    • Quiz - Delivery tips

  • 6

    Wrapping up!

    • It's a wrap!

...and is facilitated by a 'battle-hardened' coach

A Story coach who drives impact through a balance of structure and creativity

Founder, Story Rules

Ravishankar Iyer

Storytelling is both a science and an art. You need to combine both ‘left-brain’ and ‘right-brain’ elements to make it work well.
I come from the world of numbers and business, given my past as a CA, MBA and management consultant (hey, don’t judge me… we all make mistakes!).
But I also understand and appreciate the importance of ‘right-brain’ elements - an understanding that flowered during history-storytelling startup days (don't ask).
So, essentially you get the holistic, complete picture about storytelling!
For more details about my profile please visit my LinkedIn page

A course that's been proven to work...

Ravi has successfully delivered this course across leading firms

...and has gotten rave reviews from clients

"Ravi knows the science behind the story. His is a simple repeatable and scalable approach that brings real results.
Kevin Ignatius, KPMG Management Consulting

"His approach of storytelling is not only unique but simple enough for everyone to understand. It's been six months since the session, I can clearly see a marked improvement in the way my team (including myself) think about the story even though we have only numbers to present.
Vineet Jain, CFO India and Pricing COE APAC, Medtronic

We could observe vast improvement in all the review presentations given by the business heads…. Once again, you have gone above and beyond in your efforts to bring out the best in each of them!
HR Leader, InterGlobe Air Transport

Ravi is a master of storytelling. Lots of people have the ability to take your idea and create a great story. Very few people can take an already great story and make it ‘wow’. Ravi did that magic for our speakers
Ashwin Naik, Serial Entrepreneur, TEDx Pune Leader

More questions? Great!

In case you have any questions other than these below, drop an email at ravishankar@storyrules.com

  • I'm not sure if this course works as a self-paced one

    That question is valid. This course will suit those who are self-driven about their learning needs.
    If you are someone who needs external push to learn, I wouldn't advise that you take this version of the course (The Cohort-based course version would be a better option for you then).
    Having said that, there are two reasons why this specific course will work as a self-paced course.
    1. It's a 'How' Course: Skill-based courses are of two types - the Whys and the Hows. The Whys motivate you to learn the topic and leave you to figure out the How yourself. The Hows go into immense amounts of details into the tools, tactics and techniques that can help you in various work situations. This is a 'How' course. It is for serious students of this craft.
    2. It's comprehensive: My endeavour is to ensure that this course will be the last word on this topic. You will not find another e-Course that is as comprehensive (I have looked, let me know if you do)!
    Net-net, if you are self-driven, this course will transform your presentations and amplify your impact at work.

  • What if I start it and then lose interest midway?

    Here's the deal. Don't think of this course as one that you have to "finish". There is no completion certificate. This is not a box to tick.
    This course will be your encyclopedia on everything to do with Data Storytelling. The next time you have a high-stakes presentation coming up, browse through the topics and watch a few videos which seem relevant. Treat it as a reservoir of (updated) ideas that you can keep dipping into, to enhance your skills and impact at work.
    Remember, you have lifetime access to the course.

  • I think having a robust community is critical

    I agree. I'm working on that. I'll be announcing details about an option to join a community of like-minded Storytelling learners soon!

  • What if I want to take the cohort-based version of ESD later?

    If you do the self-paced version of 'Effective Storytelling with Data', you can attend any Cohort-based Course (CBC) batch of the same course later by paying only the differential amount. So (for illustrative purposes) if the CBC is 100 and you paid 30 for the self-paced course, you will be required to pay only 70 for the CBC.

  • Would there be updates to this course and would I have access to them?

    Here's how I think about updates. I'm constantly updating my training material with the latest that I learn. This e-Course (2021) itself is an updated version of what I put out last year (2020).
    When you sign up for this course, you get lifetime access to all updates to the ESD self-paced course - and here's the important point - locked in at the price at which you got in!
    This course's price can go only one way, which is up. So yeah, you get all the updates to this e-Course for free, once you join.

  • What if I have some questions after taking the course?

    As mentioned, I'm working on building the Community for Storytelling, which would be a great place for QnA.
    If you still have any questions till then, you can drop me an email at ravishankar@storyrules.com and I'll try my best to answer them

  • The fee seems higher than typical online self-paced courses!

    On the contrary for the value it offers, it's a bargain. Think of it this way. How many critical presentations do you make in a year? Say 6? (once every 2 months?).
    What makes these presentations critical? Mostly because you are pitching valuable ideas to clients or to the top-management.
    How valuable would these ideas be? You might be pitching ideas worth millions in some meetings, but let’s take a conservative average of Rs. 1 million per pitch.
    If, after attending the course, you convert even one pitch in a year - because of better storytelling - then the value of the program would be more than realized! :)
    To give you the example of just one such person - Here is the story of Nitesh (name changed) - a business leader from one of the companies I worked with.

    (As an aside, the pricing also ensures that you put in the effort to actually watch the videos).

    Finally, I have priced it at an inaugural discount. You can expect the price to go up later!

  • Does the fee include GST? Also, can I get a GST invoice?

    Yes! The fees are all-inclusive of taxes.
    In case you need a GST invoice, drop me an email with your entity name, address and GSTIN and I'm happy to provide the same. Please note that invoices would be batch processed on a monthly basis!

  • What is your refund policy?

    I am confident that you will get massive value from the course - and achieve tangible impact at work.
    Having said that, I'm committed to full learner satisfaction. And so, if you watch all the video lessons, complete the quizzes, and still don’t find the course valuable, I’ll happily refund your full payment.

Inspire change through the power of story

Convert complex data into simple, compelling, visual narratives

ESD CBC

Cohort Based Course option

If you'd rather take the cohort-based course option, which involves learning this skill with a cohort of participants through a mix of self-paced and live-online sessions (more details here), then you can click on the link.