Each year, more than 8 million children die due to poverty (source).
That’s a huge number. But how large is it, really? The human mind has no easy way to “see” that number. For our brain, it doesn’t make much difference whether it’s 8 million or 80 thousand. Both is basically “a lot”.
Things change when we translate the numbers into dimensions we can relate to. 8 million per year means that every 4 seconds a child dies due to poverty.
Basically, during the time it takes you to read this sentence, a child dies due to poverty.
4 seconds is an easy to grasp value. 4 seconds is easy to experience. It has a clear meaning in our everyday life and therefore, it makes the abstract specific. It’s still the same information, but it’s much more tangible – even more so when you support it with a finger snap.
It’s hard to see 8 million children, but it’s easy to imagine one – which is precisely what most of us do when we hear that finger snap. With each finger snap we see a child.
Translating difficult numbers into values that make sense in our everyday life also makes it a lot easier for our audiences to understand what the numbers mean. It makes it a lot easier to relate to the info we’re trying to convey.