Why It’s Clear To You And Not Them

You have worked tirelessly to get to the top of your field. With the determination of a gun dog on a scent, acquiring all the knowledge you can has made you the expert you are today. But why don’t your fellow employees share the same hunger for the subject matter that you do? You feel like you’ve tried everything: detailed PowerPoint presentations, Q&As, tests at the end to keep them on their toes and frequent breaks with enticing refreshments. Alas you are still struggling to convey important information to your employees. You question who could be better at explaining it than someone who knows every detail. Well, you may simply know so much that everything becomes fundamental information; sorting the crucial from the background noise becomes testing. Here’s where you may be going wrong.

blog_clear to you and not to them

You’re making it all about you.
Of course it is as clear as day to you, you are the expert! You have honed your skills on the topic leaving no stone unturned. While this is excellent news for you it can be frightening to an unsuspecting audience of 3oo employees. It is worth noting that you acquired the ins and outs of the topic over time. Unfortunately your employees might not have the luxury of weeks or even days to grasp it. See yourself as a delivery man on a bike, in a clown costume. You need to deliver a concise message swiftly while captivating them. Throw in an inhuman amount of knowledge on an obscure topic and you have lost them at hello.

Different departments, different needs.
One of the reasons for their initial lack of enthusiasm could have something to do with biology. Sadly our primal instincts, which have us hardwired for survival, care little about digesting an after-lunch PowerPoint presentation. Running from predators, finding our next meal and procreating are encoded in our every fiber. While our brain knows that we need to store new information, instincts don’t care as much. However, an area that you might be able to control is, understanding whom you are talking to. Topics specific to your field may not be understood by for example, the Marketing department. Note that not all employees are the same. Just because you are catering to a large audience, it doesn’t mean the one-size-fits-all rule applies. Factor in different departments, backgrounds and levels of company knowledge. It would be much easier ¬¬to come up with a presentation for a room of clones. If only.

Too much fancy jargon.
Don’t take it personally if not everyone in the room shares your unique enthusiasm for a topic like Market Segmentation and Analysis. Terminologies can be often more confusing than the content itself. Big statistics and fancy commercial jargon may sound impressive to your big boss. However, when filtering a message downstream: to employees on the ground, or sideways: to other departments, it can soon become a bad game of charades, fast. To a non-expert this might be an information overload that could have them losing focus and completely missing the point.

Serious topic equals serious presentation. The thought of trying to make your presentation lighthearted makes you think that your very serious topic will not be given the attention it deserves. This need not be the case, as a corporate style presentation does not mean a more effective one. We know it’s tempting when it comes to a complex topic to assume that a 2-inch thick document is absolutely necessary. Nevertheless, you want to avoid posing the topic as an obstacle that the audience will subconsciously be less willing to understand. At this point some demystification might be needed.

So how can we break it down without losing what you want to say? Believe it or not, 1 minute of moving images is equivalent to 1.8 million written words. Who would have thought? This illustrates the sheer ease of digesting visual images as opposed to text alone. Look at your complex topic as a delicious fish. Let the audience take away the flesh, which we’ll say is our essential information, and leave the bones and unwanted stuff. We understand that telling a story at first glance can seem like unnecessary fluff when you just want to get to the juicy content. However, narratives can help to captivate and enchant an audience. Who doesn’t want to feel part of something? By introducing a character that can join them in their struggles we can create a sense of community. The answer to your problem? Hook them with a story and present the essential. Voilà, you have information that your target audience will walk away feeling good about and better yet, understand.

(Sophie)



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