Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Manager on the People Analytics team at Google, author of Storytelling with Data, and data visualization expert.

Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic tells stories with data. She is the author of storytelling with data: a data visualization guide for business professionals (Wiley, October 2015) and writes the popular blog www.storytellingwithdata.com. Her well-regarded workshops and presentations are highly sought after by data-minded individuals, companies, and philanthropic organizations all over the world.

Her unique talent was honed over the past decade through analytical roles in banking, private equity, and most recently as a manager on the Google People Analytics team. At Google, she used a data-driven approach to inform innovative people programs and management practices, ensuring that Google attracted, developed, and retained great talent and that the organization was best aligned to meet business needs. Cole traveled to Google offices throughout the US and Europe to teach the course she developed on data visualization. She has also acted as an adjunct faculty member at MICA, where she taught Introduction to Information Visualization.

Cole has a BS in Applied Math and an MBA, both from the University of Washington. When she isn’t ridding the world of ineffective graphs one pie at a time, she is baking them, traveling, and embarking on adventures with her husband and young children in San Francisco.


Keynote

Storytelling with data: bringing data to life through pictures and story

Stories resonate and stick with your audience in ways that data alone does not. Why wouldn’t you leverage the power of story when communicating with data? Join this engaging session, during which Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic demonstrates the untapped potential of combining the magic of story with best practices in data visualization for communicating effectively with data. You’ll leave the session inspired to bring your data to life and make it a pivotal point in an overarching story that motivates your audience!


Workshops
 
Could your organization or team benefit from being better able to tell a story with data? Meet this need with a custom storytelling with data workshop. Sessions range from 45-minute presentations to day-long sessions.
 
Short presentation 45-60 minutes
This short session provides a condensed overview of select key lessons for communicating effectively with data. It is ideal for conferences, large audiences, or very diverse groups, where the primary goal is to provide some exposure to the basics for effective data visualization and storytelling with data.
 
WARNING: this short session will leave you wanting more!
 
Half-day workshop 3-4 hours

The half-day workshop covers the fundamentals of effective storytelling with data. Core content is focused on 5 key lessons: (1) understand the importance of context, (2) choose an appropriate visual, (3) identify and eliminate clutter, (4) focus your audience’s attention, and (5) tell a story.

The half-day workshop can be structured as a 3- or 4-hour session. The first part is spent discussing best practices and applying them in many real world scenarios. Examples are also collected from participants in advance and the remaining time is spend discussing how to apply the lessons learned to select examples. Cole also presents her makeovers and discusses the specific design thought process that led to their creation.
 
The half-day session incorporates a break and time for Q&A. It is best for groups of 15-30 participants.
 
Full-day workshop 6-7 hours

The full-day workshop expands on the half-day session with the incorporation of additional content and hands-on practice. The latter typically takes the form of individual and small group exercises centered around each of the five key lessons, to highlight practical application and help drive the lessons home.

Depending on needs, practice can also take the form of a case study that participants focus on throughout the day in small groups. This approach works best when there is a specific example that is relevant to the entire participant group.
 
As in the half-day session, this full-day workshop also incorporates examples from the participant group.
 
The full-day workshop includes time for multiple breaks (including lunch) and time for discussion and Q&A. It is best for groups of 10-30 participants.
 
All sessions (irrespective of length) are low tech: pens and paper are the primary tools used for practicing the lessons covered. The focus is on foundational principles for communicating effectively with data that can be applied to varying extent in any tool. Because of this, no specialized tool knowledge or laptops are required (best to leave the latter at home!).

A sampling of storytelling with data clients

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Praise for Cole…

“Cole was a ROCK STAR! The insights on how to be effective in telling a story with data will improve the quality of my work tenfold.” 

“Thank you so much for your hugely successful presentation. EVERYONE loved it, was inspired by it, and is revved up to put it into practice.”

“Thanks so much for your outstanding session on storytelling with data. I learned so much!

“I just wanted to thank you for a very inspiring presentation, especially the ‘hands-on’ part. I’ve sure learned a lot and saw many of my own ‘mistakes’ on screen. Many thanks!”

Excellent presentation. Topic was 100% relevant. Tips about colors and ‘more is less’ are my biggest takeaways.”

“What did I like most? All of it. Super informative, fascinating, applicable content. Great, engaging presentation. Interesting content. Great tips and tricks.”

“Cole is an excellent presenter. The presentation was clear and communicated an accessible list of techniques to apply to a range of charts and graphs.”

“Your session was remarkable! I went to your session the year before and decided to go again as you have a gift of communicating clearly and meaningfully with and without data so I learn twofold!

“My biggest learning was the realization that I’m not alone in my lack of design experience, and how easy it is to make a huge impact.”

“Thank you so incredibly much for the extremely informative and inspirational session. I’ve already used your suggestions countless times and will certainly continue doing so. I’ve raved about your presentation (and flawless presenting skills!) to colleagues here; they dream of attending one day as well.”

“Cole – your session was awesome. Can’t wait to take these lessons back to my team.”

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