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Ten smart ways to communicate complex ideas | Cutting Edge PR Insights: Boost Your Career

Infographics

Information graphics or data visualization (infographics) are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly to a live or online audience.

Infographics are making a big impact in communicating about complex topics, making information eye-catching, shareable and easily digestible. 

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Ten smart ways to communicate complex ideas | Cutting Edge PR Insights: Boost Your Career

Ten smart ways to communicate complex ideas | Cutting Edge PR Insights: Boost Your Career

https://cuttingedgepr.com/free-articles/core-pr-skills/ten-great-ways-communicate-complex-ideas/

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10

Key Ideas

Data

It comprises the facts without necessarily showing clarity to a situation.

  • What do the numbers mean and why should you care? Go past the data to capture the imagination or interest of the audience.
  • Make the data actionable. Facilitate cooperation between technical people and communicators.

Logic

Carefully check that the logic of your case is clearly explained. Observation or even intuition can create an initial structure for explaining a complex problem such as an issue.

Pictures

Pictures, visuals and images offer your audience an invaluable way of remembering the relationships between different variables. The right visual offers an easy way to see, internalize and later recall even complicated information.

Infographics

Information graphics or data visualization (infographics) are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present information quickly and clearly to a live or online audience.

Infographics are making a big impact in communicating about complex topics, making information eye-catching, shareable and easily digestible. 

Stories

Stories that summarize certain logics or relationships between variables are perhaps stickiest of all. 

When thinking up stories, don’t be afraid to channel the ridiculous. The dopier the story, the more people may groan—but years later they remember it.

Participation

Tools like data or equations or even stories are of limited value if an audience feels they can’t push back, disagree, or ask for clarification. 

The higher the status of your audience, the more important it is to actively create pauses or other spaces where misunderstandings can be voiced and clarification requested.

Metaphors and analogies

See if you can simplify important concepts by using metaphors. 

“Think about a cake,” says Scott Johnston, senior vice president of product at Docker, likening the cake part to a server and the icing to a program. “You want to be able to change frosting from chocolate to vanilla. If there’s paper between the two, you can lift up the frosting and replace it.”

Find ways to make it matter to them

We tend to learn best when we’re interested in something – and we’re interested in topics when they relate to us directly

When you’re trying to explain a complicated topic to an individual, you should seek to find out what matters to them, and then base your approach on those angles.

Use details they already know

Find related information people already know, and expand on that.

The more you can pull from information people already have and analogies they already understand, the better they’ll understand the core concepts you’re showing them.

Leave out unnecessary details

When you understand a concept, you can find it’s all-to-easy to fall into the trap of thinking every detail is important. 

Your immediate objective is to get the main points across to help others understand a difficult concept. Describing too many details to others unnecessarily complicates the picture. You can always come back to those details later.

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Ask Them If They Want to Learn

Generally speaking, if they're interested, they'll learn better, focus more, and actually take something away from the conversation. 

Some people want you to do the work for them and can...

Find Ways to Make It Matter to Them

When you're trying to explain a complicated topic to someone, it's best to show what's in it for them. For technology, you can usually play off of people's desire for security, privacy, or simplicity.

You want to find the hook that catches them and go from there. Keep fishing until you find what matters and the rest of the explanation is easy.

Use Details They Already Know

Find related information people already know and expand on that. For example, understanding what a blog is can be described as "it's a magazine, but online."  That's incredibly simplistic, but it gets the point across. 

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Signs of poor communication skills
  • People only approach you with questions or feedback when they absolutely need to do so.
  • If you walk away from a conversation or meeting and can’t remember what the other person said or...
Do a Self-Assessment
  • Take an honest look at how you communicate. Are you thorough, clear, and factual in how you convey yourself? How consistent are you in how you communicate?
  • Look at how clear you make your expectations—and how open you are to understanding what others expect of you.
  • Assess how do you handle “crucial conversations” that can be emotionally or politically charged.
Ditch Your Assumptions and Ask

To be effective in information gathering, you need to let go of assumptions and be aware enough to recognize when you’re jumping to conclusions, making judgments, or using labels.

Asking curious, open-ended questions encourages dialogue instead of dictating what other people should do or think, And the best communicators listen more than they speak.

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Enjoy intelligent company

Being in the company of intelligent people will indirectly make you want to continue developing your own intelligence.

Read

Well-read people aren't just articulate--they also have a vast pool of knowledge and an always-evolving mind.

Reading improves your vocabulary, expands your communication skills and develops your analytical abilities. 

Rest

A lack of sleep, relaxation, and excessive stress can diminish your brain's capacity. The brain requires plenty of energy to function, so if you're exhausted all the time, your mind simply won't have the ability to learn and improve.

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