It is hard for the human brain to conceptualize huge numbers. It is simply out of reach. If you present huge numbers to an audience, you have to keep that fact in mind.

As a speaker, we need to translate those numbers into something more concrete, understandable, digestible.

Today, I came across this illustration of the size of the Internet. It gives the answer for the question: How big is the Internet? It is named: If you printed the Internet. It is a good example of huge numbers translation.

 

Printing-the-internet-bed1

 

Printing-the-internet-printer

Those illustrations are effective because they translate the numbers in something we know. Minutes, days, years.

Sometimes, the numbers are still too big after being transposed. We need a second transposition.  3 800 years doesn’t mean anything to me. It is too big.  Imagining Ancient Babylonians with inkjet printer is more effective. That comparison is talking to me.

While presenting data in a document or, while speaking, we must translate it to be reachable. We have to put it at audience level.

Best, adapt the example to your audience. If you’re talking to car dealers, tell them: If you printed the Internet, you will have enough paper to fill the trunk of 12 000 cars (I am guessing). How big is 12 000 cars? Bumper to bumper, it is a 66 km long file. THAT means something to car dealers.  (Adapting your speech to an audience – blog post: Put your audience glasses)

In your next speech, make your number digestible and adapt your example to your audience.

Other illustrations in the complete post of: If You Printed The Internet …

 

Share with me: What good adaptation of huge numbers have you done lately?

 

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Posted by Denis François Gravel

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Source: @DesignerDepot