We all have a preference — stories or numbers. Some of us prefer numbers, because they are concrete and hopefully dependable. Some of us prefer stories, because they add depth, meaning and entertainment value. The good news is, we can have both!
To get a full picture of whatever we are learning about, measuring or considering, we must have both because each provides a different kind of information in answer to some of the same questions. For any program, project, organization, product, or service — you name it — we look for the answers to these kinds of questions:
What is the outcome?
Who is involved?
Where does this happen?
Why should I get involved, offer support, advocate, buy?
How is it beneficial?
When can I expect to see results?
Numbers will provide one kind of information; stories another. We need both.
So next time you need to communicate why you do what you do, and why someone should care, remember to use both stories and numbers. Stories amplify your points and make those all important numbers come alive. They humanize your message. They help us connect.