how to use statistics in public speaking

How to Use Statistics in Public Speaking

 What’s the best way to use statistics when speaking in public?

In this post, taken from my book “CAPTIVATE: Public Speaking Secrets from TED Talks“, you will discover one great tip for how to use statistics in public speaking.

First though, watch this great TED talk by Jack Andraka:

Put statistics into context

As speakers, we can learn a great lesson from Jack on how to use statistics in a speech. Jack doesn’t just give raw statistics, but puts them into context for his audience through comparison. For example, when describing carbon nanotubes, Jack says:

“…and that’s just a long, thin pipe of carbon that’s an atom thick and one 50 thousandth the diameter of your hair.”

By comparing a carbon nanotube to the size of a string of hair, Jack conveys the size of a carbon nanotube in terms that his audience understands.


Use comparison

Furthermore, towards the end of his presentation Jack talks about the effectiveness of his paper sensor to the current solution by saying:

“This makes it 168 times faster, over 26,000 times less expensive, and over 400 times more sensitive than our current standard for pancreatic cancer detection.”

Again, using comparison, Jack puts his point across to his audience in a way that allows them to comprehend the significance of it.


Your audience should be able to grasp the significance of the statistic

Next time you’re delivering a statistic or talking about the effectiveness of a product or idea, use comparison to put it into perspective for your audience so that they can grasp the significance of it.

Want more great public speaking tips from TED Talks? Then check out my book, (appropriately titled) “CAPTIVATE: Public Speaking Tips from TED Talks” 🙂

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