Bolster Your Believability

Bolster Your Believability


Did you know that you can increase your credibility by supporting your arguments with “fine-grained” numbers?

A recent study at the University of Michigan asked participants to predict the actual life of a battery based on its product description. When presented with a battery that boasted a “two-hour” life, participants estimated it would last only about 89 minutes, but a battery touting a life of “120 minutes” was estimated to last 106 minutes. That’s a 19% increase!

Why the difference? Researchers concluded that there is a benefit to fine-grained numbers as opposed to more coarse or general units. The participants perceived the battery promise to be more believable based on more precise numbers.

Quick warning: This is not a green light to bombard your audience with eye-chart spreadsheets and minutia. Please no. That’s a guaranteed disaster. Rather, use this as an encouragement to put a more specific touch on your numbers.

YOUR TURN: Before your next presentation, do a quick check of your data and ask yourself these two questions: 1) Can my numbers be more fine-grained? 2) Are my assertions (and promises) credible?

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