For people who work in technical fields, there is always the task of selling ideas and concepts to those who run the companies. Sometimes the technical people get so mired into their given fields of work that they have difficulty breaking down complicated ideas into simple concepts. But it is critical to get upper management to understand the needs of technical people – so being able to communicate these ideas can be a very important skill.
But the professional scenario may not be the only one while we need to breakdown complex ideas. There are times when we wise to convey ideas to our friends or for community projects – or even to members of our own family. In any event, let us examine 4 ways that will help us convert complicated ideas into simple concepts.
1. Know your Audience
This is also one of the great keys for public speakers or for people giving professional presentations. Knowing your audience is always important in communication. Not only is it helpful to know their education background, technical expertise, and their employment levels, it is also helpful to know something about them personally.
It is very advantageous to know the things that are important to them and what type of language they tend to use. Why? Because it allows you to present things in their terms and in ways they would prefer. Being able to do this gains their respect and attention. They will make more of an effort to hear your message.
Do not be afraid to point blank ask your audience about their current level of understanding. You can say something such as, “Alright, before I go any further, how well do you guys know about [topic]?”
Their response will tell you how to proceed.
2. Pick the One Thing that They Would Understand
You have to remember that many speakers screw up by tackling too much information at once. This often only confuses their audience. When you do this, you might as well forget about it – you have lost them.
So if you want to improve your odds of not overwhelming your audience and making your complicated information much more memorable, you should answer a few questions ahead of time. 1) What is the one thing that your audience will most likely remember from your explanation?, and 2) Why would the audience care about this “one thing?”
Knowing this one thing gives you a focal point to speak around and refer back to as necessary during your presentation. More importantly, it will make much most probable that your audience will understand your message.
3. Give Plenty of Context and Examples
At every opportunity, provide context and examples to illustrate your points. And you should use examples and comparison that apply to their world. This will immensely improve your odds of having them understand what you are saying.
Remember that painting verbal pictures can be very effective in virtually any setting. Brainstorm ahead of time as many scenarios in their world to illustrate for them. When you do this, you make the problems real and tangible for them, and you make the solutions appealing.
4. Be Careful with your Language
Be careful with the words you use. If you use too much verbiage from your world and not theirs, you can lose them. Remember that once a person hears a word or phrase that they do not understand, it makes it very difficult to follow anything that is said afterwards.
You can never go wrong with using everyday language. You need to be especially mindful of jargon and acronyms – most people outside of your world will not know them.