Monday, May 18, 2015

Communicating Technical or Complex Information: Make it relatable

One of the most common challenges a professional communicator faces is how to educate or inform targeted audiences of complex or highly technical information.  A new medical treatment.  An electronic component that enables the equipment that enable your smart phone to work.  A chemical coating that protects the paint on your car from sun damage.

None of this sounds all that interesting, does it?

And that’s the challenge for the communications writer.  How do I clearly, thoroughly and accurately present information of a highly technical or complex nature and not lose my reader or audience?

The simple answer is, tell a story.  Tell an interesting story.  Make it about people not data, or components or acronyms.

If you don’t know where to start, then begin with the people behind the new development or advancements. Who are they? Why did they see a problem?  What made their journey to a solution so innovative or interesting?  Put it all down in your notes and early drafts.

Find out more about the people to be impacted by the innovation or new technology. Who are they?  Why will they benefit?  How will they benefit? Will this change their lives in any way?

The answers to these questions help turn technical information into knowledge with which people can relate. The challenge then for the writer is to put it all into an order that gives all of this a cohesive narrative, one that takes the story from its beginning to its end, and in the process, opens the readers’ eyes to the possibilities.

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