Saturday, April 30, 2016

Survey finds more U. S. homeowners fear their home being damaged by a natural disaster, or invaded by pests, than public speaking, global warming, or a celebrity reality star running for president






















A press release by Terminix at MarketWired on April 18th titled Survey finds pests are more frightening than zombies, tornadoes, or a celebrity presidential candidate described results from a survey done with over 1000 homeowners by Kelton Global. As shown above in a bar chart they found that:

Critter infestations trump other common fears. More than one-third (36 percent) of respondents said they fear pests invading their home - nearly as many as those who fear their home being damaged by a natural disaster (40 percent). In fact, a pest invasion is a scary threat for more homeowners than public speaking (32 percent), global warming (26 percent) or a celebrity reality star running for president (25 percent).”

Click on the chart to see a larger, clearer version. Their opening sentence also said that: 

“Ninety-three percent of Americans are afraid of pests, with many even experiencing nightmares about them, according to a new survey from the pest control company Terminix.”

Pests are feared either by 93% or 36% of homeowners - depending on exactly how you ask the question. How many homeowners would have feared Donald Trump rather than just a celebrity reality star?

Friday, April 29, 2016

Find your own darn speaking style







































Last week in Idaho City I saw the customized Chevrolet pictured above. What the builder of this coupé utility stake truck did starting from a Chevrolet Bel Air inspired the title for this post.

Back in 1959 Chevrolet began producing the El Camino (Spanish for “The Way”) - a coupé utility pickup. This vehicle isn’t an El Camino. Instead it’s a Mi Camino - My Way, like the Frank Sinatra song. The El Camino hid its spare tire either behind the passenger seat or under the bed. This vehicle has its two spare tires displayed very prominently.  

Last March I blogged about What’s your speaking style more like: Teppanyaki, Flambé,or Flying Greens? and in 2014 I blogged about Don’t just get on the bandwagon! find your own speech topic and approach.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Public speaking isn’t the greatest fear for Ukrainians

Diseases of relatives is. That’s one interesting result from a magazine article titled Population study of fears in two generations of Ukrainians which appeared last year in the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine (Volume 37, Number 3, pages 305 to 310). It was written by four researchers at the National University of Pharmacy in Kharkov : O. V. Filiptsova, Y. N. Kobets, M. N. Kobets, and I. A. Timoshyna.

They surveyed 867 residents of the Kharkov region between 2004 and 2007. Each resident filled out a 24 item fear survey schedule (Ivleva-Shcherbatyh questionnaire) where each fear was ranked on a scale from 1 to 10. Those fears were of:

Animals
Ageing
Aggression possibility in relative
Communication with an authority
Confined spaces
Darkness
Death
Depth
Diseases of relatives
Disease possibility
Exam
Future uncertainty
Height
Mental disorders development
Pain
Poverty
Problems in a private life
Problems in the case of diseases of relatives
Public speech
Responsible decision making
Sex function disorders
Street violence
Suicide commitment
War


They reported results by gender for two generations - younger than 35 and older than 36. The younger generation grew up in an independent Ukraine, while the older generation  was raised in the former USSR with its political regimentation.

Back in 2012 an article at Psychology Today by Glenn Croston titled The Thing We Fear More Than Death began by claiming that:

“Surveys about our fears commonly show fear of public speaking at the top of the list.  Our fear of standing up in front of a group and talking is so great that we fear it more than death, in surveys at least.”

In this study for younger females fear of public speaking ranked 9th (and death was 17th), and for younger males it ranked 5th (and death was 14th). For older females it ranked 10th (and death was 14th), and for older males it ranked 14th (and death was 16th). Public speaking indeed was feared more than death, but it wasn’t hear the top of the fears list. Detailed results are shown in a series of four bar charts. Click on one to see a larger, clearer view.




























The first bar chart shows fear rankings for 475 younger females. The top ten fears [and their 95% confidence intervals] are:

Diseases of relatives 7.6 [7.4 to 7.8]
Exam 6.6 [6.4 to 6.8]
Problems in the case of diseases of relatives 6.4 [6.2 to 6.6]
Problems in private life 5.8 [5.6 to 6.0]
Street violence 5.4 [5.2 to 5.6]
Animals 5.3 [5.1 to 5.5]
Poverty and Responsible decision making 5.2 [5.0 to 5.4]
Communication with an authority 5.1 [4.9 to 5.3]
Future uncertainty and Public speech 5.0 [4.8 to 5.2]
War 4.8 [4.6 to 5]


Public speech, 5.0, tied for 9th place with Future Uncertainty. Death and darkness 3.2 [3.0 to 3.4] were 17th, so speaking in public was more feared than death.





























A second bar chart shows fear rankings for 257 younger males. The top ten fears [and their 95% confidence intervals] are:

Diseases of relatives 6.4 [6.0 to 6.8]
Exam 4.9 [4.5 to 5.3]
Problems in the case of diseases of relatives and Problems in private life 4.8 [4.4 to 5.2]
Responsible decision making 4.7 [4.3 to 5.1]
Public speech 4.2 [3.8 to 4.6]
Poverty 4.1 [3.7 to 4.5]
Street violence 3.9 [3.9 to 4.3]
Future uncertainty 3.8 [3.4 to 4.2]
Animals and Communication with an authority 3.7 [3.5 to 3.9]
Height 3.3 [2.9 to 3.7]


Public speech, 4.2, was in 5th place. Death 2.4 [2.2 to 2.6] was 14th, so again speaking in public was more feared than death.

For 23 of 24 fears the mean fear level for younger females was higher than for younger males. The exception was Aggression possibility to relatives, and it was higher by just 0.3. The largest difference was 1.7 for Exam, followed by 1.6 for Animals, Problems in the case of diseases of relatives, and war.

  


























A third bar chart shows fear rankings for 101 older females. The top ten fears [and their 95% confidence intervals] are:

Diseases of relatives 7.8 [7.2 to 8.4]
Problems in the case of diseases of relatives 6.4 [5.8 to 7.0]
Depth 5.9 [5.3 to 6.5]
Animals 5.8 [5.2 to 6.4]
Exam and Poverty 5.2 [4.6 to 5.8]
Street violence and War 5.1 [4.5 to 5.7]
Problems in private life 4.9 [4.3 to 5.5]
Future uncertainty, Height, and Responsible decision making 4.8 [4.2 to 5.4]
Communication with an authority and Disease possibility 4.3 [3.7 to 4.9]
Public speech 4.2 [3.8 to 4.6]


Public speech, 4.2, was in 10th place. Death 3.3 [2.7 to 3.9] was 14th, so again speaking in public was more feared than death.

  


























A fourth bar chart shows fear rankings for 34 older males. The top ten fears [and their very wide 95% confidence intervals due to the extremely small sample size] are:

Diseases of relatives 7.1 [6.1 to 8.1]
Problems in the case of diseases of relatives 5.6 [5.8 to 7.0]
Poverty and Responsible decision making 4.8 [3.8 to 5.8]
Problems in private life and War 4.5 [3.7 to 5.3]
Exam 4.2 [3.6 to 4.8]
Street violence 4.1 [3.3 to 4.9]
Ageing and Pain 4.0 [3.0 to 5.0]
Disease possibility 3.7 [2.7 to 4.7]
Future uncertainty 3.6 [2.6 to 4.6]
Height 3.5 [2.5 to 4.5]


Communication with an authority and Public speech 3.0 [2.4 to 3.6] was 14th and Death 2.8 [2 to 3.6] was 16th, so again speaking in public was more feared than death.

Perhaps Ukrainians have other things on their minds. (Today is the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster).

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dismantling an awful pie chart






































At Kelly Vandever’s Speaking Practically web site there was a blog post on April 11th by Tom Nixon. titled Give your graph a point of view illustrated by a the pie chart slide shown above. My previous blog post on April 22nd discussed why I thought it was Another awful pie chart example. I also showed a horizontal bar chart which I thought was better.  A revised version of that slide also is shown above. Kelly Vandever had commented:

“Sorry but I like Tom's chart MUCH better!”

Tom’s slide is prettier than mine, but I think his does not clearly communicate that data. So, I’m going to gradually remove what I think is superfluous from his. The first problem with his chart was that it has ten wedges, one for just 1% and two for 2%. That’s way too many. On page 71 of her 2008 book slide:ology Nancy Duarte advised:

“Limit a pie chart to eight sections. More is too many to differentiate on a slide.”




















As shown above, those two 2% wedges should be combined with the 1% one, into one 5% wedge for Everything Else. 




















The second problem with his chart was the huge outboard data label (in a font larger than the slide title) pointing to the red wedge. It already was identified by being exploded from the chart, so I put that white label back on the wedge, but using a larger font than for the other wedges.




















The third problem with his slide was using a stock photo of a red BMW coupe with a German license plate (from Munich). The subtitle claims the chart is about North American car colors. Why does it show a foreign car? Note that after it’s removed you can see that the pie chart covers a relatively small area on the slide.


























The fourth problem with his slide was the title. Red was the fifth most common car color. Would you ever say that a pro sports team which is fifth in its division is HOT? When only 1 of 10 cars is red, how can you say that color is hot?

Saying red is hot also is nonsense when viewed as a temperature. White is much hotter than red, as you can see in a Colour chart for forging and hardening from Uddeholm.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Another awful pie chart example



















At Kelly Vandever’s Speaking Practically web site there was a blog post on April 11th by Tom Nixon. titled Give your graph a point of view illustrated by a pie chart with popular colors for North American cars similar to the one shown above. (His also was 3-D and had the segment for red exploded). His text said to:

“Give your charts and graphs a point of view by emphasizing the specific data that is critical to their understanding of your big idea or goal. Pull out the important numbers, enhance their display and show how those numbers are so important to the overall understanding of the content. Then add a headline and a sub headline that focuses their attention and have a powerful graph that both shows the data and delivers your point of view.”


















Just over a month ago on March 17, 2016 I blogged about how 3-D Pie Charts are the Spawn of Satan. I don’t think Tom’s chart delivers his point of view. As shown above, a horizontal bar chart would be better. Now you can clearly see how white is hot and red is not (since it’s in fifth place and less than half the percentage for white). The data for my chart are from Axalta.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

WHO knows how to wash your hands - an excellent demonstration speech topic



























Are you supposed to give a demonstration speech for a class or the Speaking to Inform manual at your Toastmasters International club?  The World Health Organization (WHO) has a solution. They have excellent information for talking about hand hygiene.

A good starting point is their seven-page pamphlet on Hand Hygiene: Why, How & When? There is a poster on How to Handwash? Also see their web page Clean Care is Safer Care.

There also is is a 14-minute YouTube video on Hand Hygiene posted by the New England Journal of Medicine. Detailed hand moves are shown starting at 6:15. The information is presented in clinical jargon though. If you want a clearer, funkier Philadelphia version, look at the six-minute Wash “Em - Hand Hygiene Music Video from Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals. They show the hand moves starting at 3:00. (The video was inspired by Michael Jackson’s song Beat It). Even more hand and dance moves are shown in another four-minute video Hand hygiene from rubbing to dancing

I found this topic via an article on page D1 of the April 19th Wall Street Journal by Sumath Reddy titled The right way to wash hands: A scientific inquiry. It also is discussed in a press release about a magazine article titled A Pragmatic Randomized Controlled Trial of 6-Step vs 3-Step Hand Hygiene Technique in Acute Hospital Care in the United Kingdom whose abstract is at PubMed

The image of hand washing came from Wikimedia Commons.