Do you quickly want to get the attention of your customers when you’re speaking? Well, here’s a quick method to do so.
It’s called ‘put in a number.’ Because numbers add a bucket load of curiosity.
So what’s a number?
A number is a figure. Like 23% Or 55 people. Or $7 million.
Numbers attract. And if you simply stood up and said: How to increase your prices by 23% (without losing customers). Bing!
Suddenly you’ve got the attention of your public. Or ‘How 55 people in Nagasaki, have a secret that slows down aging.’ Or ‘Why most people who win $7 million at the lottery end up broke.’
We’re a curious lot, we humans.
But give us a number and our curiosity goes way, way higher. And there’s a reason why. It’s called specifics. We lurrve nitty-gritties, even more than we love curiosity. And you don’t have to believe me at all. You’ll prove it to yourself in less than three seconds.
The proof: Which opening do you like better?
How to increase your prices by 23% (without losing customers). OR How to increase your prices (without losing customers).
‘How 55 people in Nagasaki, have a secret that slows down aging.’ OR‘How people in Nagasaki, have a secret that slows down aging.’
‘Why most people who win $7 million at the lottery end up broke.’ OR‘Why most people who win the lottery end up broke.’
Yeah, I thought so!
You do like the numbers, don’t you? You even liked the fact that I told you that you’ll ‘prove it to yourself in less than three seconds.’
Numbers are part of what makes things more solid, so hey, what’s not to like?
But how do you use numbers to spike interest for the rest of your presentation?
Here’s how you do it.
Step 1: Outline your presentation.
Step 2: Find at least three spots where you can insert a number.
Step 3: Put those darned numbers in at decent intervals.
So for example, here’s where I’d find my three spots:
1) The headline or opening statement.
2) A story with numbers.
3) Another story with numbers.
So my opening would be: How to increase your prices by 23% (without losing customers). And that would instantly get attention. And those heads would stay up for a while. But then inevitably there’s a droop in the heads. And you want them to bob up again.
Well, I’d bring up a story with numbers like ‘imagine you had seven red bags.’ Again, the numbers get the attention. And then somewhere down the line, I’d slide in another story with specifics.
You see what’s happening here, don’t you?
Yeah, yeah, I know it’s clever, but that’s what you’re supposed to do as a speaker. You’re supposed to keep the audience awake. And since it’s almost impossible for an audience to listen to you yakkity-yak for 30-45 minutes, one of the best ways to stop them from snoring, is to give them numbers.
But numbers alone can get too hard to handle. This is why we wrap up the numbers in a story. Or a case study.
You know stories and case studies work don’t you?
And yes, they work darned well. But you’ve probably not been conscious of the importance of numbers meshed within story-telling. But now you know, eh? Yes, you do, but there’s a way to get it all wrong.
Numbers are attraction devices
If you misuse them, you’ll muck up your presentation beyond belief. And if you don’t believe me, go and sit in a presentation where you’re snowed under an avalanche of numbers.
Too many digits flying at you, and the numbers become counter-productive. Because while numbers do get your attention, if you throw two-hundred and seventy five numbers at me, my brain has to be alert all the time. And that’s kinda tiring.
The brain needs its rest
And the droop in the audience’s attention isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s just the way the brain assimilates information, and while it’s doing that assimilating, it kinda gets a bit tired and droops.
Using the numbers at pre-designated intervals, allows the brain to snap back without having to be on attention all of the time.
So yeah, numbers work.
And si, they create intense curiosity. But use them to spike interest, don’t misuse them. Misuse numbers and one thing is guaranteed.
100% of your audience will think you’re a dope. Guaranteed.
Next Step: Want to learn more about Presentation Techniques? Find the entire presentation series in text, audio with cartoons!
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