Facts & Figures

January 5, 2010

People are more likely to believe what you are saying if you can back it up with facts and figures.  Write any figures, you are intending using, on your cue cards to make sure you get them right.

Use illustrations to convey the size of a number.  For many people numbers are very abstract, so use familiar objects to give a comparative size.  That is why in newspapers things are often referred to as being as long as a number of London buses or the area of xx football pitches.

In the computer industry where reliability of service is a crucial measure, many companies talk about providing 99.9% availability.  But is 99.9% is good enough? 

A study by the Quality Control Institute of California determined that if we were satisfied with 99.9% accuracy, 22,000 cheques would be cashed by the wrong bank every hour, 50 newborn babies would be dropped every day, 500 incorrect surgical operations would take place each week, 20,000 drug prescriptions would be incorrectly filled each year.  More significantly, 32,000 heart-beats would be missed in every human heart each year.’

Suddenly 99.9% does not sound quite so reassuring.

Someone giving a talk on ‘keep-fit’ may have an objective of persuading the members of their audience to spend 15 minutes every morning exercising.  Fifteen minutes may sound like a long time for someone to add in to their hectic morning routine but 15 minutes is equivalent to 1% of their time.  Surely, 1% of your entire life is worth devoting to something that will make you live longer and live better.

Just how big is a million.  These days being a millionaire is not what it used to be but if you want to get across just how big a million is to your audience the following little snippet might help.

‘If you were given £1 a day, for every day since Jesus walked on this earth, you would still not have received £1million.’

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