How should you talk about numbers?
How should you talk to someone about interest rates, repayments, fees or other complex numerical information if they have the numeracy levels we’d expect of a primary school child? What if you only have one page or a few bullet points to make your point clearly?
Many organisations talk about numbers with the assumption that the reader will fully understand what they mean for them. Yet 49% of the working-age population in England have numeracy levels equivalent of primary school children. This can lead to difficulties when it comes to decision making.
Numerical jargon: what's the issue?
Behavioral insights research has found that we get overwhelmed, confused and can lose focus when numerical information is presented in a way that we can’t make sense of. In the case of banks and financial services it’s been found that over complexity can even lead to a breakdown of trust from customers.
So there are benefits for organisations who make every effort to present numbers and data with their readers’ numeracy levels in mind. They will be rewarded with happier, more satisfied, more attentive customers.
Help and support from National Numeracy
National Numeracy is working with organisations to help them to take a 'Plain Numbers' approach. We can help you to think about customer or client numeracy levels, look at information they might be struggling with, and present it in a way which is easier to understand. This could involve help with a document, website, staff training or a full communications audit. We will help you to:
Identify the numerical concepts that people struggle most with
Use graphics, colour, and images to present things more clearly
Provide worked examples
Rewrite content to cut out numerical jargon and gobbledygook
Simplify complex detail without losing important information
Find out more
Whether you need help with a document, website, staff training or a full communications audit, we can help you to take a 'Plain Numbers' approach. We draw on behavioural insights, numeracy experts, communications best practice and our wide range of partners.
For more information about communicating with Plain Numbers please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01273 915044.