Your stats are paralyzing your audience

Huge numbers can daunt your listeners, preventing them from hoisting aboard concepts—and from opening their wallets. Try these techniques for more accessible info.

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When you’re using statistics in a presentation, it’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. Unfortunately, just because those numbers are meaningful to you, it doesn’t mean they’re at all fathomable to your audience.

This is why it’s important to break down big numbers into manageable and concrete concepts and visuals. Here are two ways to do so:

1. Portion large numbers into bite-size chunks.

I’m working on a project in which 20 nonprofit leaders are getting training and coaching to develop three-minute “fast pitches.” The top 10 finalists will go on to an event at which they’ll be judged, and the winners will get cash prizes. (Read about Fast Pitch here.)

Many nonprofits have big numbers: They serve large numbers of people, they provide large quantities of food to their clients, or they need large sums of money to do their work.

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