How to Talk About Data and Analysis to Non-Data People | by Michal Szudejko | Sep, 2023

A step-by-step tutorial for data professionals

Michal Szudejko
Towards Data Science

In my recent articles, I noted that a significant challenge for many companies today is the vast amount of available data and their limited ability to use it effectively in decision-making. The core of this problem is mainly human-driven. Therefore, there’s a pressing need to build data literacy. If companies genuinely aspire to benefit from even a fraction of the data out there, they must elevate their overall competence with numbers.

88% of our potential audiences may struggle to read numbers, charts, or computations.

Based on a global literacy study, merely 12% of adults worldwide are numerically literate. In theory it means that 88% of our potential audiences may struggle to read numbers, charts, or computations.¹ That starkly contrasts the world’s literacy rate, which is currently over 86%.²

Remarkably, many societies overlook this issue. What’s more, numerous individuals take pride in their innumeracy.³ Have you ever heard excuses like:

  • I’m not a numbers person.
  • Statistics have never intrigued me.
  • Physics seems like sorcery to me.

Or the “ultimate” one:

  • I’m more of a humanist.

Often, it isn’t a matter of lacking ability but instead not having the right tools. Consider this scenario:

We’re attempting to cross the street. We observe traffic approaching from both directions. We must judge if there’s sufficient time for us to cross safely. And that car in the distance? How quickly is it moving? Is its speed increasing? Decreasing? Has the driver noticed us?

Source: image by the author

In reality, crossing the street presents a complex probability challenge. Yet, we navigate it daily, often multiple times, and usually get it right.⁴

That’s just scratching the surface.

Think about driving a car at 60 mph. How many factors come into play? When…

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.