During presentations and meetings people often address points that involve numerical statistics. Numbers don’t have to only be stimulating to the statisticians, mathematicians, and financial analysts of the world.
Numbers can paint a picture and can explain a lot if you describe them in the right context. You can make any number in your presentation come to life using a couple of the tips we list in this article.
When you describe numbers in your presentation, it can be help to compare the numbers with something else. For example, if you say that “there are now 2,000 Pine trees remaining in the state of Virginia after the drought,” you will probably hear the number and then let the number pass right through your head. If you say instead, “there are 2,000 Pine trees remaining after the drought compared to the 4,000 that existed two years ago,” you will see a huge difference in an audience reaction and the number will actually mean something to them. The number will make sense now that you have some more context to see the comparison. Using a comparison while describing statistics is a tool that can be used in any sector or industry.
Non-profit and environmental organizations master this technique, as these organizations know that using comparisons are the only way to get people to care about their cause and take action. When you make a comparison, be specific and provide relevant context because you don’t want the audience to feel more confused after hearing your comparison, which was intended to clarify the topic.
Another helpful tool is to use a graph or another image to add visual context to the number you announced in your presentation. You can show the progression or decline over time in a graph. You can also use a graph to compare your company’s numbers with competitors or industry standards. It is a proven fact that combining text or audio with visual images increases a person’s retention rate during presentations and speeches.
Similarly to a comparison, you can also provide an analogy to help describe the numbers presented. When you describe a story and relate that story back to your numbers, your audience will retain the information better and understand it. You can use an actual story to make your point or you can describe a hypothetical situation to explain the figures.
As you can see, numbers do not have to be scary. They can be important aspects of presentations and it is important for your audience to hear and understand the figures as they are described. Don’t simply list the numbers as they appear on the spreadsheet and bring the figures to life!
Reference: Gallo, C. The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. Print.
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