Safety in Numbers — Don’t Count On It!

This post was written by Dan Cooney, Director of Business Development at The Latimer Group.

Have you ever been in a meeting with a busy PowerPoint slide beaming on the screen while a confident speaker proudly proclaims, “The numbers speak for themselves!”  You look at the slide and wonder, “Do they?”

When a speaker makes this assertion, here’s what the audience might be thinking:

  1. The numbers do make sense to them, and in a way that’s consistent with the intended meaning of the speaker;
  2. The numbers do make sense to them, but in a way that’s inconsistent with the intended meaning of the speaker;
  3. The numbers do not make sense to them, and they don’t have a clue what point the speaker is trying to make.

Two out of three of the scenarios above are bad for the speaker. 

If you want people to “see” the numbers the way you “see” them, then walk your audience through the numbers like a student guide might lead a college tour. 

For example, “On the left side of the chart you will notice a second-quarter dip in sales. We believe this was caused by a familiar and expected seasonal effect. However, as we move from the left to the right side of the chart, third-quarter sales continue to lag and this result is neither familiar nor expected…” 

Each of us “sees” the numbers through different lenses. Our experiences, education, mindsets and filters can vary dramatically. When we assume that the numbers speak for themselves, we may miss an important opportunity to connect with and persuade our audience.  Have a persuasive 2020!

Does your team:
– Take too long to make decision?
– Fail to ask for what it wants or needs from you?
– Make things too complicated?
– Deliver unconvincing or disorganized presentations?
– Have new hires who are unprepared to communicate in the workplace?

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Dan Cooney

A book about change

The Latimer Group’s CEO Dean Brenner is a noted keynote speaker and author on the subject of persuasive communication. He has written three books, including Persuaded, in which he details how communication can transform organizations into highly effective, creative, transparent environments that succeed at every level.