Study finds 90% of people don’t use statistics effectively

Study finds 90% of people don’t use statistics effectively

No, that’s not a real finding. But many writers do indeed struggle to use statistics effectively, especially when it comes to persuading readers. Here are some tips to help you maximize the impact of your stats:

First, avoid getting bogged down in numbers. Instead, frame the stat in an easy-to-understand way.

Say you’re trying to persuade someone to go to Chipotle. You do some digging, and find a study that states: “A survey of 1,618 Chipotle restaurants found that 92 percent of customers who order burritos are satisified 87 percent of the time with their experience.” Sure, that’s a strong stat. But some quick rephrasing can make it easier for a reader to digest: “More than nine in ten Chipotle burrito eaters are usually satisfied.”

Next, cite the research in a way that highlights the credibility of the source without putting the reader to sleep. Suppose the aforementioned study was conducted by a long list of Harvard faculty members. Don’t write all the names out. Just say “according to researchers at Harvard University.”

Follow these tips, and you’ll see the effectiveness of your statistics increase by 384 percent, according to a study by Keybridge Communications.

Carolyn Clendenin