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Monday, January 4, 2016
How to Better Explain Complicated Information
No one doubts the intelligence of technical people, but that doesn’t mean they’re good at everything. One of the areas where many could use some improvement is communicating technical information to non-techies.
Techies often believe that communication is one of those skills that is nice to have, but not critical to their career. If they ever need it, they believe they’ll figure it out. How difficult can it be?
What they soon discover is that communicating effectively is challenging, and communicating technical information to non-techies can be a nightmare. They can’t seem to convey what they believe to be simple information to a non-tech audience, who fire back that these techies look down on them because they’re struggling to understand.
To make matters worse, senior leaders become increasingly frustrated with the poor communication, letting the techies know this shortcoming could hurt their careers.
If you’re in technology, it’s time you started giving more serious thought to how you will communicate, especially with non-techies. With some planning, non-technical audiences will begin to applaud your efforts and really learn what you’re trying to teach them, instead of becoming frustrated and complaining about your efforts to their bosses.
If you’re asked to explain technical information to a non-technical audience, here’s what you need to do:
Don’t assume anything. Don’t sabotage your efforts from the beginning by assuming that your audience has some basic tech knowledge. Try conducting a brief survey of attendees before the meeting to determine the skill level. Consider providing a “cheat sheet” of terms you plan to use repeatedly, along with definitions so that your audience (read more here)