Credibility is a valuable tool to have in your public speaking toolbox.
Especially if you’re aiming to give a persuasive speech, it is useful to have the facts on your side. This is why statistics in public speaking can elevate your speech to the next level. Look at the following two approaches:
Ocean pollution should be something of prime concern for all of us. We are losing precious species that are going extinct every year. We should all look into what approach we can take to reduce it.
Each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans. In fact, 80% of all marine debris is currently plastic. As you can imagine, this has devastating effects on marine life.
As you can see, rather than merely talking about the adverse effects of pollution, statistics help you add a quantitative backing by showing impact.
Table of Contents
- Why you need to use statistics in your speech
- How do you know which statistics to include?
- Some Common Statistics Used in Speeches
- How to insert statistics into your speech naturally?
- How to amp up the impact of your statistics?
- Explain your statistics
- Wrapping up,
Why you need to use statistics in your speech
Are you still on the fence about whether to use statistics in your speech? Maybe you’re wondering if you might risk boring the audience while trying to add some credibility. This is precisely why we have below a handy list of benefits of using statistics in your speech:
First of all, adding statistics displays that you have come prepared. It is that touch of subconscious audience work that ensures they are taking your words much more seriously. Citing reliable resources makes sure that your speech is informative.
Audiences are much more likely to pay attention when they are getting something out of the speech. In this case, it could be knowledge or awareness. Pictures may speak a thousand words, but with facts, you can move an entire room by speaking volumes.
Facts are often associated with being plain cold numbers. However, that isn’t always the case.
Numbers are actually an excellent way to incite an emotional response from your audience. People have become quite numb to people preaching about the need for change. But numbers help people face the reality of the situation and tend to have an overall better impact.
No matter how well you pad your content and add in body gestures as well as transitions, spoken word tends to get repetitive after a point.
In order to make an impactful speech, you need to maintain your audience’s interest for much longer.
You can do so by integrating statistics every now and then to pique interest. It will also give the audience a good reason to keep listening as they might want to know the cause behind an interesting statistic.
Many speakers begin to make public speaking about grandiose gestures while forgetting that it is actually about building a connection with the audience. Using facts in your speech can help your audience connect better to your message.
How do you know which statistics to include?
Nowadays, information is an abundant resource. It is easy to find statistics on nearly any topic you pick.
As such, you might find yourself confused about which information to include and what to exclude. Don’t worry! We’ve compiled a list of questions to ask yourself when deciding whether or not a statistic should be included in your speech:
As information becomes abundant, it also becomes diluted. There are several websites on both sides of any argument.
This is where reliable sources come in. Besides, what data are you more likely to believe? Something off of a blog or a proper source from the organizations associated with your topic? Make sure you cite your sources so that your facts can make the impact you desire.
Using statistics can be a double-edged sword. They can make you gain but also lose credibility.
If you’re not certain about the accuracy of a fact, you are better off not using it. It is not a good idea to get the audience questioning your research as it might hamper your main message as well.
When it comes to statistics, the main thing you aim for is impact. Think about what this number does for your audience. Is it meant to surprise them or aware of them? Is it meant to pique interest or a powerful note to end on? Deciding the purpose of the statistic can help you decide whether or not including it is beneficial to your speech.
Alignment with Your Message
At the end of the day, adding statistics to your speech should help your main message. There is no amount of credibility or accuracy that will sway the audience if this alignment is not well thought of.
Even if the statistic is surprising or impactful, make sure you do not include it just for the sake of it. It should have a meaning, and only then will it be able to support your speech.
Some Common Statistics Used in Speeches
There are many forms in which statistics can be utilized. Some of the common uses of statistics in a speech format are as follows:
- Findings from a survey or discussions of such research that include data value.
- Comparison data that present disparity or similarity between benchmarking results.
- Research papers and findings with meaningful charts and figures that outline significant variables.
How to insert statistics into your speech naturally?
Public speaking is an art form. There are all these invisible ropes that go into it. Sure, you can simply bark a number at the audience, but we’re here to learn how to make sure it makes the most impact. The important thing to remember is that the statistic needs to be backed up by context.
For instance: the fact that Instagram has over 500 million daily users, you might assume that this is a big number.
However, without context, there is no way to know. But what if I complimented it with the data that Snapchat, on the other hand, has about 238 million daily users. This information makes the statistic a lot more meaningful.
So, how can you insert a statistic more meaningfully into a speech?
- First and foremost, tie your statistic with a relatable comparison.
- Use your story-telling skills to turn cold hard facts into a story that touches hearts. If you are giving a statistic of events or diseases that affect human life, saying one in every 1000 people can numb people out. But if you take one close example and humanize that statistic, people are likely to care much more.
- Check your statistics regularly to make sure it is up to date. Similarly, you can show growth or decline through comparison with an earlier statistic. This can help your audience visualize the impact of a change.
- Follow up your statistics with explanations on exactly what it means. Don’t feel like your audience will feel patronized. They are there to listen, so make full utilization of their time and attention.
How to amp up the impact of your statistics?
We’ve learned how to insert statistics into your speech, but the more important lesson is, how to make sure it lands? A mere fact does not add anything to your speech if it isn’t able to amaze your audience.
- Create a build-up. Don’t just let them have the statistic as it will lose it’s shock value. Make sure to spin some intrigue. You can go with, “Get ready because I’m about to tell you a shocking fact that will change your mind about the soft drinks companies…”
- Use pauses to your advantage and lets the audience teeter at the edge of their seats.
- When giving out data, speak slowly and articulately so that your audience can follow along easily. Changing your pace will also signify the importance of your statistic.
- Give your audience time to absorb your information by letting them simmer in it with a brief pause.
- Use body gestures to your advantage. Utiliza your arms wide open to signify magnitude or your facial expressions to convey sadness or surprise. You can lead your audience in any direction based on your delivery.
Explain your statistics
- No matter how tempting to go for complex and multi-color coded charts, stick to simple. Your statistic is only as strong as how much your audience is able to grasp it.
- Cite your sources. Whether the data is from a reputable peer-reviewed journal or a random blog about your topic will make a big difference to your credibility. So make sure to uphold it with good sources, and then, remember to flaunt them.
- Plain data does not wow the general audience. So try to make your statistics as visually pleasing and easy to follow as possible.
- When using charts and graphs, the key points might be clear to you, but your audience might not understand exactly where to look. So double-check your labels and highlight any significant sections of your graphs.
Credibility is a large portion of what makes our content stand out. People will remember an impactful speech more than a factually correct one.
As such, no matter how important your statistic is, how you package it is arguably one step more important. Make sure you give your illustrations and correlations just as much practice time as your research.
Remember that humans will remember how you made them feel much more than a number they will forget on their way home. So you need to weave a statistic just about the same way you’d weave a story.