Provide real-world examples to make huge numbers meaningful to your audience
Numbers numb many readers, but, if used correctly, they can demonstrate the depth or breadth of an issue.
Make your statistics more meaningful by comparing them to something tangible and familiar to your audience. That’s what American Public Media’s Scott Jagow asked to help his audience members get their arms around the 2008 economic relief package tab in this broadcast (you’ll want to fast-forward to the 7:43 mark).
“It is hard to comprehend $700 billion, so I thought maybe we’d consider what else we could buy with that money. $700 billion would pay for about 600 gallons of gas for everyone in America, or we could build high-speed train routes from coast to coast. We could buy about 300 Hubble space telescopes or take a trip to the International Space Station 35,000 times. We could send 30 million kids to college for free, at public universities, or get a laptop for every child in the world.”
A laptop for every child in the world. OK, now I see.
1. Do the legwork.