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How Useful Are Statistics In Getting A Click With People?

by Dr. Rick Kirschner on August 8, 2011

So riddle me this:  How effective are statistics when it comes to connecting, relating and communicating successfully with people?

At least 3 out of 5 times that I speak about using your influence to produce desirable outcomes, I’m asked this question:  What about statistics?

And my reply, 10 out of 10 times, is this.  Unless a statistic raises eyebrows or gets a good laugh, in my opinion, it’s boring and you’d be better off not to use it.  This may come as a shock to you, but the best statistics are shocking!

“A recent survey of our employees reveals that 35% of you dread coming to work, and 68% feel indifferent and disinterested in what they do. That’s you. So you can imagine my excitement at getting to talk to you today about increasing your productivity!”

Here’s another one.  “One out of every three people is an idiot.  Look to your left. Now look to your right.  If it isn’t one of them, you’re in trouble!”

And here’s my personal favorite.  “A recent study concludes that 83% of all statistics are made up.”   And at least 90% of the time, that’s true!  (That’s also ironic!)

What are your thoughts about statistics?  Shock me!  (You have a 1 in 3 chance!)

Be well,

Rick

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