What persuades best: stories or statistics?

by on April 16, 2014 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Rapid Learning Insights
Young speaker at a meeting

When presenting new information, which method is more persuasive: telling a story or using statistics?

Researchers have been debating this question for years, and a growing body of research suggests that statistical evidence may have a slight upper hand.

One study brings a novel approach to the debate: Use both.

The experiment, which included more than 1,200 participants, measured the persuasiveness of 15 discrete messages. The messages that combined narrative and statistical evidence were found to be significantly more persuasive than the messages using either method by itself.

Takeaway: When presenting new information to your learners, tell a story that incorporates statistical evidence to maximize its effect.

Source: Allen, M., et al. (2000). Testing the persuasiveness of evidence: Combining narrative and statistical forms. Communication Research Reports 17(4), 331-336.

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