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The Lost Art of the Great Speech: How to Write It * How to Deliver It by Richard Dowis

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Chapter Twelve. Statistics and Other Lies

We've considered at some length three devices that can liven up a speech and be used to make or reinforce serious points—quotations, anecdotes, and humor. Now let's look at a fourth one, one that might surprise you—statistics.

Of course, statistics can be made to prove almost anything. I heard about a statistician who always carries a bomb in his checked luggage when he travels on an airplane. He explains that the chance of a bomb being on a plane is one in a billion, but the chance of two bombs on the same plane is less than one in ten billion. So he feels ten times as safe when he brings a bomb.

When we think of statistics, we tend to think of a dry, tedious recitation of facts and figures. The use ...

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