September 8, 2017

How to write about facts and figures Part 1

When we write texts for readers or speak in public, talking about the company or project, we often have to rely on numbers and cite specific facts. How to do it so that in the mind of the reader or listener to draw clear picture, not a set of abstract signs, which immediately fly out without stopping? Offer you some of my thoughts on this.

Facts and figures are very important for the credibility and visibility of our speech and texts. No one likes abstract reasoning and unsubstantiated claims.

  • We have huge warehouses.
  • Our distribution network is the largest in the region.
  • We have many customers, and we ship them large quantities of goods.

Reading these arguments, I do not believe the author. I think he’s just showing off or exaggerating.

All this is nothing more than an abstraction, not born in reading almost no pictures in my head. And because pictures persuade and sell. Draw an interesting picture, and people will believe you.

Image result for facts and figures

How do you do it?

We need to tie abstract words to concrete concepts, and so that the reader saw the real picture.

  • “We have huge warehouses.” The concept is huge. Suggests a specific figure.
  • “The total area of our warehouses of 21,000 square meters.” Better.

Now let’s think, whether born in the mind of the reader the picture? Probably not. 21 000 square meters is just a number with lots of zeros. I can’t imagine a lot or a little. I don’t know what to start from, estimating this figure.

I don’t know what to compare it. Comparison is the key to clear the picture. If we help the reader to compare our figures with something it can understand, the picture will draw itself.

We can compare the area?

With something that the reader has seen in life or on TV, and at least roughly imagine how it looks and how big it was. For example, the football field. Certainly almost no men who have not seen the football field and do not represent even approximately his size. To the eye.

Let’s find out the size of a football field in meters.

The length of a football field usually 90-120 meters, and the width of 64-75 – tells us Wikipedia.

We take the average value, multiply and get the result of about 7 000 square meters.

A great standard for measuring large areas.

Now we can write:

“The total area of our warehouses of 21,000 square meters, equivalent to about three football fields”. Or: “The total area of our warehouses is three football fields”.

But if we write for women or other people, not really infatuated with football? What benchmark do we take?

Why not take it as a benchmark?

The length of red square is 330 meters. Width – 70 meters.

Square red square is 23, 100 square meters.

In the case of the warehouses, we can say that “the size of our warehouse space is slightly smaller than the red square.” And it sounds impressive.

Image result for facts and figures

Of course you can take and other landmarks. Most important to your target audience is well-imagined their sizes. If we need to show the diminutive size of the object, everything is a bit easier. Take items that are all familiar and easily come to mind in the form of pictures:

  • a box of matches,
  • apple,
  • orange,
  • mandarin,
  • berry red,
  • berry black,
  • hand,
  • fingers,
  • pen,
  • coins,
  • bills,
  • the needle,
  • button stationery,
  • eraser and so on.

Example: “Our listening device smaller than nickel coins, but is able to transmit a signal over a distance of two kilometers.”

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