Yet most conventional wisdom about how to open a speech will tell you to scare the audience with a number which brings us to….
Day 4: The Startling Statistic
The startling statistic is often suggested because it can be effective. However, as I mentioned in my post, Transforming Technical Presentations from Boring to Soaring, numbers are difficult for an audience to relate to. In fact we are bombarded by numbers every day. Numbers that we are not able to put into context. Statistics have a huge potential to bore the audience.
If you say that 80% of Americans watch at least one cat video a day (a statistic I made up for illustrative purposes). 80% is an abstract number that is hard to relate to. However, if you have an audience of 20 people and say by the end of the day 16 people in this room will watch a cat video on YouTube, you just made that number come to life for the audience.
Numbers alone won't startle an audience, but how you relate that number can have a lasting impact.
Tomorrow, we will end our five part series with absolutely the worst way to start a presentation.
Until then…enjoy my startled cat video! Kitty was not surprised by statistics either!
[youtube_sc url=”http://youtu.be/0Bmhjf0rKe8″ playlist=”Surprised Kitty”]