THE ART OF EXPLANATION

This topic is important for everyone who has to explain something new. We all depend on our own ability to explain complicated things. The correct approach to the explanation is the compilation of a chain of understanding. It consists of links:

Preparation → Context → (History) → Connection → Description → (Implementation) → Conclusion

Let’s examine each link.

Preparation

When we begin to explain something new, we assume that our interlocutor is at the same level as we. This is logical, but fundamentally wrong. The other person is always at another level with a different understanding of the world and different contexts. He can talk to you in the same words but do not understand most of them.

When we communicate with someone in person, we can determine if the person understands us. And when we talk to five, fifteen, one hundred people, it is impossible.

Check the level of preparedness of your interlocutors. In a personal conversation, it will be a good start. During a speech, it will warm up the audience and create interaction:

Maybe some of you have already heard about our new product?

Context

It’s good to start with the phrase your audience agrees with. To attract the interest of the audience, it’s better to tell about the problem which is relevant to everyone.

We all have a lot to do. Generally, the very fact that you’ve come here is quite surprising: few people manage to find some time to visit a conference instead of working. However, I can see people writing letters, sending messages, returning calls. This is another proof that we are very busy.

Good job! After warming up the audience, switch to yourself not to get into the personal space of the listeners.

I see that more than a half of the audience are businessmen. I also have a business for 5 years. 20 employees are working for me, but I still fail to find time for proper rest. Does this sound familiar?

When the reader is in the context, he already knows that your story is important, though he is ready to listen.

Story

This method is quite controversial and does not work everywhere, but you need to know it. The idea is to talk about difficult things through the story of a real or fictitious person:

We have begun to develop an online store. After three months, we realized that we are drown in the amount of tasks and information we needed to organize…

And so on. The main thing is that it should not sound out of tune. Otherwise, the audience will switch on the advertising filter even before you get to the point.

Packing of the facts

Consider the story a method of packing the facts. Here are the facts:

Sales managers must keep customer information available to their colleagues and supervisors. A customer list becomes the property of the company, and not the property of the manager.

And here’s the story, built on the same facts:

We have noticed that the managers treat their customers as their property. It’s unacceptable. We did so that managers must keep customer information available to their colleagues and supervisors. Now the list of customers is the property of the company.

The facts are the same, but there is humanly understandable communication between them. Remember that the story gives facts sense and works perfectly.

Connection

New things are easily explained by the example of what people already know.

Everyone knows what a blog is? So, Twitter is like a blog. But the messages are very short and easy to read.

Analogies create the foundation on which you build the explanation.

Description

When the foundation is prepared and the audience understands you, it’s time to move to the very description. Only now and not before. Description should be simplified:

  • Get rid of the details that do not relate directly to the point.
  • Use simple words instead of technical terms. Even if they are fine and accurate, they should be clear to the listener.
  • Sacrifice accuracy for the sake of clarity. Neglect special cases and exceptions.
  • Limit yourself in time and amount of items that you describe. You’d be surprised how many things can be explained in 5 minutes.

Implementation

If you explain something immaterial: concept, idea, scheme, service, you have to materialize it.

Explain how the idea will be used by people. Show the scheme in action. Describe a scenario of the interaction of the user with the product.

Remember the power of the story: a person is interested in people and events, rather than concepts and things.

Conclusion

It is well-known, but we repeat: any connected speech has an introduction, body and conclusion.

Reflect the main provisions of your speech in conclusion. If you are selling something – it is appropriate to give the opportunity to take a step to purchase: for example, write down the address of your website.

Here are a few rules of correct explanation:

  1. Well “packaged” idea spreads itself. Bother to ensure that any person who heard your explanation, could easily explain it to his friends and colleagues.
  2. Do not make assumptions about your audience. Know for sure. Ask questions and build dialogue.
  3. First “why” and then “how”. When a person is not particularly versed in your subject, he must first understand the general idea: why do you need to describe it. What is its practical sense? Realizing this, one begins to wonder how it works.
  4. The best is the enemy of the good. A more precise explanation may be less obvious.

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