Post from Transformation Tom- Give Numbers Context—Chapter “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide” from the section “Make Your Message Count”
I often hear statistics tossed out in speeches as a way to grab the audience’s attention. However, numbers can be risky if they are left alone. Let me share an example. In a speech about animal euthanasia, I stated, “Each year, six to eight million animals are euthanized in shelters across America.” The number “six to eight million” can be either large or small, depending on the context. It sounds like a lot, but there is very little for the audience to grab hold of beyond the number itself, which can easily be forgotten and its impact potentially lost. I did some additional research and was able to find out that this number was similar in size to some other large numbers that I could compare it to. I was able to hook the audience into remembering the estimates by simply adding the following line: “Did you realize the high end of that estimate is the same as the population of New York City?” Give a number some contextual teeth to make it memorable.
Thomas B. Dowd III’s books The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World (Honorable Mention at the 2012 New England Book Festival) and From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide (2013 Axiom Business Book Awards Gold Medal Winner and 2013 Paris Book Festival Honorable Mention) are available under “Products” on www.transformationtom.com. Book and eBook purchase options are also available on Amazon- Please click the link to be re-directed: Amazon.com