Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Bring statistics to life when you speak

Numbers don’t lie, but they don’t necessarily convince people on their own. When you’re giving a presentation, or just talking informally to co-workers or customers, keep these tips in mind to give your facts added heft:

• Supply some context. Tell your listener what the numbers mean. If 27 percent of consumers buy your product that may not mean much unless you explain that you’re the top-selling brand, or that your biggest competitor captures only 9 percent of the marketplace.

• Get specific—and general. Concrete figures, like $287,642, give your statistics credibility, but expressing them in round numbers (“over a quarter of a million dollars”) makes them memorable. Use both: Start with the specific number, and then later round up or down to drive home your point.

• Put it in print. When possible, give your audience something tangible. A one-page summary with hard facts can emphasize that you stand behind your words.

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