How finance officers can better communicate numbers using insights from behavioral science.
Numbers are at the core of public finance officer's job. A big part of the job is communicating those numbers to other people. However, numbers are not a first language of many in finance officer's audience.
Numbers are abstract concepts. Abstractions require effortful thinking. This is why young children are taught to count objects, like fingers and toes this makes the numbers more concrete. The numbers that public finance officers need to communicate often go well beyond what can be accommodated by fingers and toes. However, we can take a cue from our childhood and transform numbers into human experience. GFOA's research report Fiscal Fluency Made Easy provides essential strategies for transforming numbers into human experience, based on the popular book, Making Numbers Count. Here, we are highlighting three ways in which large, potentially confusing numbers could be translated to human scale. Download the report for more strategies to make fiscal fluency easy for your audience.
Fiscal Fluency Challenge
GFOA is looking for outstanding examples of good communication of financial information using the principles described in the GFOA report Fiscal Fluency Made Easy. This could be a PowerPoint, a report, a video of the presentation being given at a meeting of the elected board, or whatever medium you think best captures how you’ve used the ideas of Fiscal Fluency. If you can also provide evidence that your presentation was effective in achieving the goals of the presentation, then that increases your chances of winning! The Grand Prize is an all expenses paid trip to the GFOA's 118th Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, June 9-12, 2024.