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Communicating Complex Ideas

When presenting complex ideas, the key is to make them clear and simple enough for others to grasp and understand. Depending on what you’re sharing or presenting, always take into consideration your audience. They may not be able to grasp the idea in the same way you did, so it’s important to present the information clearly and concisely so that others with a different knowledge skillset, can easily understand. Here are some ways to communicate complex ideas…


Use Images and Illustrations When Possible

Having visuals and illustrations gives people something to follow and it’s especially helpful for those who are more visual learners. In an article on CuttingEdgePR, they write, “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 are making a big impact in communicating about complex topics, making information eye catching, shareable and easily digestible. 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.”


Know What You’re Talking About

Generally, the more knowledgeable you are on a topic, the easier it will be to share and communicate your ideas in simple terms and an easy-to-grasp manner. If you want to have broad influence and persuasion when speaking, you need to understand the topic on a deep level.


Put It in the Right Order

Think about ways you can break down and consolidate the information that you want to share. In an article on BuiltIn, they write, “When communicating complex topics to your audience, it is not what you say but how you say it — or, more specifically, the order in which you present all the information. Most topics can be broken down into small, digestible pieces, and if you present them in an easy-to-follow sequence, you can help alleviate the stress of having to absorb too much information at one time.”


Adopt a Framework

Having a framework to consider when presenting more complex ideas can be a useful tool. In an article in Harvard Business Review they write, “Much like the Swiss Army Knife, known for its versatility and reliability, this structure is flexible and can be used in many different communication situations. The structure is comprised of three simple questions:

  • What: Describe and define the facts, situation, product, position, etc.
  • So What: Discuss the implications or importance for the audience. In other words, the relevance to them.
  • Now What: Outline the call-to-action or next steps, such as taking questions or setting up a next meeting.

This structure not only helps in organizing your thoughts but also serves as a guidepost for your audience, making the information easier to follow and act upon.”