Scene 9: Dress up your numbers

‘We have sold four million iphones to date. If you divide four million by two hundred days, that’s twenty thousand iphones every day on average.’ Steve Jobs

  • Rarely do numbers resonate with people until those numbers are placed in a context that people can understand, and the best way to help them understand is to make those numbers relevant to something with which they are already familiar. Five GB may mean nothing to you, but one thousand songs in your pocket opens up an entirely new way for you to enjoy music.
  • Instead of saying 5% market share – our market share is greater than BMW or Mercedes in the car industry.

Twice as fast as half the price

Specific. Relevant (to the category). Contextual (addressing investors).

Dress up numbers with analogies

  • Size of chip of transistors compared to the city of Ithaca, New York, with continent of Europe

Number Smiths

  • Defining one thousand trillion
  • $700 billion bailout
  • Chipping down $13 trillion
  • Change your diet or pay the ultimate price

Numbers out of context are simply unimpressive

Whether you’re presenting the data behind a new technology or a particular medical condition, comparing the number to something your listeners can relate to will make your message far more interesting, impactful, and ultimately persuasive.

Director’s notes:

  • Use data to support the key theme of your presentation. As you do, consider carefully the figures you want to present. Don’t overwhelm your audience with too many numbers.
  • Make your data specific, relevant, and contextual. In other words, put the numbers into a context that is relevant to the lives of your listeners.
  • Use rhetorical devices such as analogies to dress up your numbers.

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