Why mathematical skills can add up to a career in PR

Having a good head for figures demonstrates problem-solving ability and other skills that are valuable in PR, writes Owen Cullen

I am always amazed when people claim that they are “hopeless at maths”.

It’s a confession you hear all the time: totting up the bill in a restaurant; helping kids with their homework; keeping a running tally while doing the weekly shop.

Confronted with a basic mathematical challenge, many otherwise capable and intelligent people will go pale, mutter a few random digits and promptly throw in the towel.

“Oh… aah… I don’t know… I’ve always been hopeless at maths!” Case closed.

What amazes me is that people who say they are hopeless at maths never seem to be the slightest bit embarrassed by this shortcoming. They shrug and smile as if to say, what am I supposed to do? Sometimes they actually seem proud of the fact that they are incapable of doing long division or figuring out a percentage.

Nobody admits bad spelling

What’s to be proud of? Put it another way, how many people do you ever hear admitting that they have always been “useless at spelling”? Nobody – because they know it makes them sound, well, not very intelligent. And yet, people sail through life telling everyone that they can’t do fractions or multiply 15 by 25 without a calculator, and nobody bats an eyelid.

The columnist Lucy Kellaway wrote about this phenomenon in The Irish Times recently, describing a talk she gave at the Oxford Literary Festival where around half the audience held their hands up to admit that, yes, they were useless at maths.

“None of them saw anything wrong with it