Using Facts and Figures in Your Speech

by | Nov 15, 2010 | Marketing & Selling

If the point of your presentation is to persuade someone to your point of view … and what business presentation isn’t? … then sprinkling in some facts and figures can be very compelling.

However, you don’t want to bore your audience. So you need to bring those facts and figures to life. Here are a couple of tips for making your statistics, facts and figures lively, engaging and compelling.

Use Word Pictures

This commercial for Trident gum illustrates this point … sort of. The statistic is “4 out of 5 dentists recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum.” In this commercial, they take that fact and create an illustrative story about the fifth dentist.

Of course, in this case, the story is fictional … but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t communicate the point. In fact, it just makes it memorable.

  • Can you compare your dry fact to a more common image?
    For example, “If you took a French horn and unrolled it, the tubes would be the about the length of two basketball players laying down head to toe … 12 feet.”
  • Can you use common objects to illustrate the fact?
    For example, I saw a presentation by urologist once who used an orange to illustrate what a prostate looked like. He literally had an orange in his hand and it made his topic much easier to understand.

Tell a Story
Humans are hard wired to understand stories. If you can illustrate your fact, figure or statistic with a story, it will bring it home much more powerfully.

I love biffy
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Let’s say the statistic you want to get across is “25% of dogs who enter local shelters are purebred.” You could tell the story of Biffy, a purebred Australian Terrier, who was found on the street and brought to your local shelter. Biffy didn’t have any tags but was very well behaved and obviously well taken care of. Maybe the staff at the shelter fell in love with Biffy and finally, after a week in the shelter his rightful owner heard he was there and came to pick him up. After telling this story, you could say, “Biffy’s story is not uncommon. 25% of dogs who enter local shelters are purebred ….”

By prefacing the statistic with as story that gives it a face, you just made that fact much more compelling. Your audience is not thinking “purebred dogs,” they are thinking “dogs just like Biffy.”

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What is your biggest challenge around giving presentations?
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