As an advocate for a reduction in TV violence, you would probably say, "watching violence on TV turns our young people into criminals." If you were an advocate for freedom of expression on television, you might find out the real number of young people in the 2%. Let's say it is 3 million. You might conclude that "millions of children watch violent programs regularly, and they don't end up as criminals."

Another common way in which statistics are manipulated is by leaving out key information. For instance, a company claims it is edging out its competitor with higher sales. They are correct in stating that they have had a 50% increase in sales, compared with only a 25% increase for their competitors. Is their claim valid? You can't know unless you have more information. What if the competitor sold two thousand bicycles last year, and 2,400 this year; the other company sold 40 bicycles last year, and 60 this year. Edging out the competition? Hardly.

When you hear a statistic, either in an advertisement, a political speech, a newspaper article, or other source, remember that it is not necessarily true. Then, ask yourself three questions: Is the statistic meaningful? Does it deliberately misrepresent the data collected? Does it give you all the information you need to evaluate it? Thinking critically about statistics will help you to avoid making the wrong conclusions, or relying on information that is faulty or simply untrue.

Friendly Persuasion

Friendly Persuasion

To do this successfully you need to build a clear path of action by using tools if necessary. These tools would be facts, evidence and stories which you know they can relate to. Plus you always want to have their best interests at heart, in other words, you know what is good for them

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