Executive Rewind: Paint a Picture

Numbers are difficult to follow in broadcast interviews. Without the advantage of print, when you can see/read the numbers, in broadcast, your mind immediately wants to create an image to help you comprehend what’s being said.

The result, audiences often are left behind doing the numbers mentally, missing the main message.

So, how do you overcome that to make sure your message gets through? When possible, by creating a picture.

Example: it’s prime time season for UPS during the holidays. The delivery service’s typical “normal” day serves several million customers. When Christmastime nears, those numbers, both in terms of customers and packages, explodes exponentially.

So, when UPS CEO Dave Abney was asked about the holiday volume in a Bloomberg TV interview, he synthesized the anchor’s question with the perfect mental image:

The anchor said: “600 million packages, up 11 per cent.” Not too difficult to grasp in this case. Certainly 600 million is a big number, but can you picture that? Eleven per cent offers no mental image. But when you hear you can wrap those packages around the planet four and a half times, that’s easily remembered.

The animation of that example springs to mind. And you’re left with a lasting impression, and that’s the ultimate goal in message delivery.

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