One of the benefits of delivering a lot of speeches is the chance to watch others, and learn from them as well.
Here are three things that I’ve learned and used along the way. I hope they serve you well:
1. Don’t Let “The Facts” Speak for Themselves
People can make facts and numbers mean almost anything. I think it was Mark Twain who noted, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”
Facts need interpretation, so interpret yours. And, be prepared to cite the source and how those facts were determined.
2. Use Two Kinds of Numbers
Exact numbers sound very credible: “The number of survey participants who said the company is communicating “very well” is 61.7 percent.” The human mind processes that as “sounding exact” and, therefore, accurate.
Rounded numbers offer the appearance of an estimation. “Almost two-thirds” is easier to remember than 61.7 percent.
Which to use if you want the numbers to be credible and memorable?
Both. Use the exact number first and round it off later when you refer to it in examples.
3. Capitalize on the Legitimacy of the Printed Word.
For some–actually about 75%–having something on paper makes it official and “real.”
Think about this: Even small business owners (smart ones) print fees, prices, terms, and conditions on their official stationery. When you quote something verbally it makes it subject to negotiation. Whether you’re selling a concept, a motorcycle, or a holiday cruise, put it in a written form–even if it’s a picture–that someone can see, touch, and hold.
Make it real.