I enjoyed sushi for lunch the other day. The Itamae recommended the tuna as lovely and fresh, and re-assured it was not bluefin, I had six Maki and also four salmon Uramaki (or mere Rolls & California Rolls as my heathen Western ears knew them).
I polished off each in two bites. This meant I’d eaten my tasty little morsels in twenty bites. Even with a couple left to go, it occurred to me that I was getting full. Did this mean that I should restrict myself to eating a specific number of mouthfuls? Is a limit of twenty enough to both keep me sated and prevent onset of over-indulgent middle-aged spread?
It’s a challenging thesis and one that some offshoot of the diet industry has daresay already debated.
But what then of an obvious parallel in selling?
How many points is it ideal to make on a sales call?
What number of agreed next actions is an optimum that helps guarantee their execution in your favour?
How many slides it it best to have in a presentation?
In the context of the number meaning that you will both avoid audience exhaustion whilst giving just the right amount to maintain healthy interest, I’m pretty sure that one must exist.
In many a meeting I’ve cringed as a rep oversells onto yet another meaningless opaque point, cried inside at another impartation for the prospect to do something when they’re clearly struggling to work out how they’d get the first request done and cowered in meetings where the squillionth slide mumbles up.
I’m not altogether certain I could arrive at an optimal number in each case, but I suspect that whenever we enter into such forums, it must surely be good practice to assess if your number really is the right number.
What are the odds that this magic number isn’t far away from just One?