Anyone who can make CEOs quiver in fear at the sight of math on a whiteboard clearly deserves to be named our Measurement Maven of the Month. Heck, the whiteboard of U.S. Representative Katie Porter, D-California, has its own Twitter account, with nearly 5,000 followers. Never mind that her official @repkatieporter account has nearly a million.
Katie Porter knows how to make her point
We can all learn a lot from Ms. Porter. (Who, by the way, graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law, where she had Elizabeth Warren as a professor, and who was a law professor herself before being elected.) First of all, she knows a thing or two about how to make her point in any interview or presentation: She starts with the answer she wants.
As she told Vanity Fair:
“I always try to start from not a topic really but an answer—like what do we want to know, what is the change we want to make? For me, this goes back to teaching. At the top of my lesson plans I always had: these are the questions I want to ask the students, these are the points I want to make, but I always had at the very top what I wanted the students to understand at the end of the day.”
That’s how every communicator should approach every presentation of any data. She goes on to say,
“…and then it’s rehearsing. You have to think about all of the tools that you have; it’s not just the words that you say. It’s the look on your face; it’s the tone of your voice; it’s the pacing. I’m trying to get an answer and I’m going to use every tool that I can, whether it’s a prop or a look to get there.”
Katie Porter makes math cool
But that’s not the only reason she is our Measurement Maven of the Month. We also credit her for making math cool. Millions have watched her take apart CEOs, department heads, and stupid arguments (see Steve Mnuchin)—with nothing more than a whiteboard, data, and some basic math. Here she eviscerates former pharmaceutical CEO Mark Alles over his company’s 300% price hike on a cancer drug:
We trust that at least some of those watching saw her as proof of the power of data and arithmetic to make a convincing argument. If you haven’t been following her, check out Katie Porter being interviewed about GameStop and Covid Relief by Jon Lovett.
The lesson Congresswoman Porter has given all of us is that if you do your homework, crunch the numbers correctly, and present your arguments in a clear visual, you can get the results you want. We can all learn a lot from Katie Porter, our Measurement Maven of the Month. Congrats! ∞