Monday, November 22, 2010

Public Speaker - Numbers

Most businesses have numerous uses for numbers, both written and oral (also
see Financial section of Chapter 17). Again, some numbers are funnier and more
interesting than others. A number like zero has other names that are funny that
aren't even numbers.

Goose egg, nada, nil, zip and zilch are all funny ways to express the number
zero. Even zero is funnier than the word none. Although none is funny when you
talk about the two chances of a hostile takeover as slim and none. A hundred
dollar bill is a C-Note, a five-dollar bill is a fin. If someone is outrageously rich,
they could be a zillionaire.

If you want to exaggerate a little bit, or if you have some tough news to
deliver that involves numbers, add a touch of levity to help soothe the sting.
One common rule of humor that does not apply to numbers is brevity. In all
other types of humor you should conserve the number of words you use.
Normally you want to use the fewest words possible to get to the punch line.
When using numbers in a presentation, pronounce them using the longest
version possible. This gives them more punch. The digits 1,500 should be
recited as one thousand five hundred, not fifteen hundred. The time of 8:15
should be a quarter past eight, not eight fifteen. 6'2" should be six feet two
inches not six-two.

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