Impact Analysis for Public Speaking: Magnitude

If you haven’t checked out my original post on impact analysis for public speaking, you can check it out here.

In short, impact analysis is the ability to analyze different impacts in arguments and compare them against each other in order to form strong reasons for why one impact may outweigh the other. In order to do this, you need to use weighing metrics to determine how we can quantify if an impact outweighs another.

If you were to step on a scale and weigh 100 pounds, then pounds is the metric for you to determine how much you weigh. The same concept applies to comparing impacts — you need to have metrics that allow you to effectively communicate why your impact is important than another one. This article will be discussing timeframe as one of those weighing metrics.

Magnitude is defined as the size or extent of something that occurs. This is why whenever an earthquake happens, it is described in terms of its magnitude. A 4.3 magnitude earthquake is less devastating than a 9.4 magnitude earthquake because the size and impact it can have on a surrounding area are lower.

Magnitude can become an important weighing metric when evaluating impacts because the size or extent of something that happens can be used to indicate if the impact is meaningful.

For example, you may be comparing the impacts of an economic collapse and a war that occurs between two countries. One may say that the economic collapse outweighs in terms of magnitude because the devastation that it would cause (loss of jobs, inflation, more poverty, etc.) would be worse than the casualties caused by a war between two countries.

However, someone else could make the opposing argument and say that the problems caused by war (death, instability, political turmoil, etc.) outweigh because of the size of those impacts.

In terms of public speaking, being able to analyze the magnitude of the impacts you are describing can simply add a depth of analysis in the talk you give. Your audience can visualize and understand your impact analysis much more deeply by using this metric and then can ultimately connect to your message in a deeper way.

Here is an interactive document I created to help with understanding Weighing Impacts with Magnitude. It goes along with the ending activity that is linked above in the YouTube video. It has a couple of scenarios and then answers listed below on understanding how to answer the scenarios presented. You can download it for free here.

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