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Making the complex understandable

August 31 2011 | Stories, Communications,

A few years ago I wrote a post called "secret handshake." It pointed out that regardless of what we think, we all use jargon. Using jargon is a bad thing if we are seeking to be understood by people outside our professional bubble. When we use jargon we lose people, we fail at communicating... and thus fail to maximize our impact.

None of us are immune to this and we all see others make this mistake. Picture it, you're at a party and someone from another industry is telling you what they do and how they do it and you're immediately lost... because they are using "insider speak."

Now think of the best communicators... why are they so good? One thing I've learned is that "packaging is everything." What I mean is if we don't put a large amount of thought into HOW we present an idea then there is a very small chance the idea will be conveyed, understood or embraced. This is the case regardless of how good the idea is.

One way we connect is via personal stories. This is why I've recorded coming up on 100 podcasts. These are stories of people connected to our mission.

Related to connecting and communicating, this past weekend Randy Olson gave a workshop on Public Service Announcements at our California Conference. It was among the best presentations/workshops I've seen in the past five years.

It's not enough to be smart, what matters is being able to communicate and share.

Randy points to scientists as being among the worst communicators as they over-intellectualize things. They seek to be accurate and comprehensive and end up losing everyone in the process.

In his book Randy suggests that before we try to fulfill with our messages we need to arouse the listener. We need to prepare them to accept the message or it will be lost.

If you get the chance to connect with him, do. In the meantime you should check out his book, which tackles these issues head on.

Check out his site for this book here and you can buy the book here.

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