Facts and figures and data. These are the tools so many people use to try and convince whoever is listening to them that their point is valid. But here’s the thing about facts, figures, and data. They can be interpreted many ways. And because it’s objective, dry information, it invites push back. Attacking numbers feels different than attacking a person’s experience. When you use a personal example from your experience, that’s a lot harder to argue with. It also adds the personal touch to what you’re saying.
How many variations on Christianity are there? I’ve lost count. And each one arose out of a difference in interpretations of religious text. If we can disagree about how to interpret those passages strongly enough to create entire new denominations, we can fight about Bob’s numbers in the meeting.
But when Bob decides to share his personal experience with how those numbers came to be, our resistance to accepting them changes.
We’ve been communicating our experiences to one another through stories since the beginning of humankind. It’s how we warn each other of danger. It’s how we pass along history. It’s how we learn from one another’s experiences to avoid repeating mistakes needlessly.
Giving a personal example of your experience that resulted in some data being produced is more compelling than simply giving the data alone.
Maybe you’ve heard the expression, “What story do these numbers tell?” Or something like it. That’s all I’m suggesting. Tell the story behind the facts, figures, and data. It’s more interesting, more compelling, and less likely to be met with resistance. Bring yourself into your communication. You and your experience are what makes the case better than any numbers alone.