October 23, 2017

Numeracy counts

88% of adults worldwide are incompetent at math

Nope, this isn’t a joke about writers’ math skills: Just 12% of adults around the world are numerically literate, according to an enormous global literacy study.

Numeracy counts

Count them out Most of your audience members can count and perform easy math problems. But they struggle to comprehend simple charts and graphs. Image by Here Fefe Is

Which means that 88% of your audience members may find your bar charts, financial objectives and other communications involving numbers discombobulating.

Welcome to the world of numeracy, or numerical literacy, today, according to the to the 2013 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, or PIAAC.

PIAAC is an enormous, every-10-year study of adult literacy, developed and organized by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The study seeks to determine how well adults are prepared to function in today’s society.

Here’s how they stack up …

Read full article >

“Numbers without context, especially large ones with many zeros trailing behind, are about as intelligible as vowels without consonants.”
— Daniel Okrent, The New York Times ombudsman

Take the ‘Numb’ Out of Numbers

Help readers understand and care about your stats

Even those of us who are competent at math still feel our eyes roll back in our heads when we see paragraphs packed with numbers.

Take the 'Numb' Out of Numbers

Number crunching “Great clots of numbers dropped into a story with a steam shovel create a wall of abstraction,” writes William Blundell, author of The Art and Craft of Feature Writing. Image by Becky Lai

But at Cut Through the Clutter — a two-day tight-writing Master Class on May 11-12 in Chicago — you’ll learn to make numbers compelling as well as comprehensible.

You’ll learn how to avoid statistics soup and data dumps, help readers “see” your data — even make readers care about your statistics with a simple reframing process. Plus, you’ll learn how to make every piece you write easier to read and understand.

This is the only Cut Through the Clutter Master Class we’ve scheduled for this year and our only Chicago workshop.

Don’t miss out. Register now.

Register now

“Absolutely the best money I’ve ever spent. I learned more about writing for my audience from Ann in one day than I have in any other seminar.”
— Carie Behounek, marketing communications coordinator, COPIC Companies

Polish your skills at our 2016 Master Classes

Learn to Catch Your Readers, Get Clicked, Cut Through the Clutter and more

Register for persuasive writing workshop in Atlanta on April 20-21
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Rather bring Ann in to train your whole team?
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Catch Ann on the road

Save when you book a workshop while I’m in your neighborhood

Ask about piggybacking on my upcoming engagements in:

  • Atlanta: April 20-21
  • Chicago: May 11-12
  • Houston: Nov. 2-3
  • New Orleans: June 6-8
  • New York: Sept. 28-29
  • Portland: July 27-28
  • Raleigh, North Carolina: May 3-4
  • San Diego: June 28-29

Keep up with my calendar.