Why Your Sales Pitch Needs More Graphs

Relevant visualizations—even if they're unnecessary—trump mere words, according to a recent study. How to make your claims more believable using diagrams

Written by PROFIT Staff

People are almost 30% more likely to believe a product claim to be true if it comes with a graph, according to a paper published by the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab in the journal Public Understanding of Science.

The co-authors, Aner Tal and Brian Wansink, had two groups read a paragraph extolling the virtues of a new medication, but one group was supplied with a complementary but superfluous graph. When asked, “Does the medication really reduce illness?” more than 96% of those who saw the graph believed the medication worked; 67.7% of the other group thought so.

“Sometimes a graph is just a graph!” wrote Tal, and yet we have a tendency to trust information that simply looks scientific. You can look at this two ways: Yes, you should always scrutinize what you read. But consider it another great reason to keep that pie chart in your PowerPoint deck or sales pitch.


Do you normally use charts and graphs in your presentations and pitches? Why, or why not? Let us know by commenting below.

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