## Present your statistics in context for more impact

Written by Helen Wilkie

“I didn’t have 3000 pairs of shoes. I had only 1600 pairs.”—Imelda Marcos

Everything’s relative. A million dollars sounds like a lot of money to someone who makes an average salary, but it’s a drop in bucket to a Warren Buffett or a Bill Gates. Running a hundred metres in a few seconds seems like a miracle to ordinary mortals, but a track and field athlete will work hard to shave even more off that time.

Yet presenters often quote statistics without benchmarks, so audience doesn’t know how to evaluate them. Is \$10,000 a lot of money? Well it is for a bicycle. It’s not much for a house, unless that house is in a small village in a third world country, where it might be exorbitant. If you quote numbers this way, you will lose audience while they try to decide whether \$125,000 is good, bad or indifferent in this context. Your statistics lose their power.

In a presentation skills workshop for a group of lawyers, one participant was practicing his delivery of an address to jury in an upcoming trial. He was asking for damages in amount of \$750,000, and hoped jury would consider it reasonable. It’s quite a large sum, and most ordinary folks think of that kind of cash as a lottery win. He needed to put it in context for them.

He might, for example, ask jury to suppose they were thirty-five years old and earning a salary of \$40,000 a year. By time they reached age of sixty-five, allowing for reasonable increases, they could expect to have earned a certain amount. (He would do arithmetic and insert actual sum.) That amount would be what is called their “expected lifetime income”. However, if they were involved in an accident and suddenly unable to work any more, that amount now represents their “forfeited lifetime income”. That is what happened to this claimant, and amount he would have lost was \$750,000. So in fact, counsel was asking no more than amount man would have earned, had he not met with this unfortunate accident.

## How to Command the Respect of Your Team

Written by Mike Bosse

When I was a child my father would take me ice fishing with him and his buddies. I remember very clearly first time he took me out on ice. I was so excited to be included in his fishing trip that I couldn’t sleep entire night prior.

So at 4:00am when my father came into room to wake me, he was a little surprised to find me wide eyed and full of energy. When we got out onto frozen lake I remember hearing ice creak beneath wheels of truck as we slowly approached small wooden shack that would house us from elements for remainder of day.

I remember being concerned as first ‘POP!’ resounded from crystal floor below. But then, I took one look at my father and all of my fears where dispelled. I knew that with my father at my side I was safe from harm.

Once inside ice cabin we lit small heater in corner and my father went over some of safety rules with me. After initial talk on safety, wooden plank which covered 4 foot long by 2 foot wide hole in ice was removed. One look into murky darkness below and I became poster boy for ice fishing safety.

My father went over basics with me and then showed me how to properly drop line and how to watch it for a bite from fish.

As he instructed me, I absorbed every bit of information he shared, and followed his lessons to tee. I never questioned him, or desired anything else but to make him proud of me, and have fun. Over course of that day I caught half a gallon of trout, and had time of my life.

I often think back on this story when I am in a position to lead men. My father commanded not only my loyalty, but my respect, my devotion, and I surrendered to his command on blind faith.

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