Three simple tips for communicating technical information to audiences outside of your field

Have you ever had to communicate to an audience outside of your field and watched a sea of confused faces?

Prepare for your next job interview in four simple steps

Have you found it difficult to synthesise years of research into a short presentation that captures and maintains your audience’s attention?

If you are not accustomed to it, communicating technical and specialist information to a non-technical audience can be tough.

You are not alone. All organisations and departments typically have their own sets of specialist jargon and acronyms that we often assume audiences outside our field will be familiar with and understand. This is common in industries such as engineering, science, information technology, finance, education, the medical industry or trades, but all specialist areas use their own sets of in-house language.

Its likely that you pursued this field of study or work because you wanted to make a difference in the world. But if can’t get your message across to the average person with confidence and clarity, then you can’t make a difference because you limit yourself to people within you field.

Let me show you how to communicate technical content with three simple tips

1. Explain ‘the how and why’

If you want others to be interested in your work, then they need to understand how it relates to them and why it should matter to them. For example, sharing research that has taken you years to complete usually means that you are completely invested in it. Even though the relevance of your topic is obvious to you, you need to spell it out if you want your audience to sit up and listen.

2. Be aware that jargon and acronyms need to be explained

Be aware that your field is full of jargon and acronyms that you use with your colleagues every day. It is easy to lose sight of what everyday language is to the broader population. Many people outside your field may never have heard of such terms. Start by breaking down your acronyms and this will help you to break the rest of the terminology and concepts into smaller and easier to digest chunks for better understanding.

3. Make it brief and succinct

Be prepared to cull any content that does not support your message. When planning a presentation or explanation of your work, determine the key message and takeaways that you want your audience to think when they have finished listening. Place your message on a sticky note at the top of your computer as a reminder and keep referring to it when preparing your content.

If you want support in preparing for your next presentation or you would like to book a workshop for your team on how to communicate technical content to audiences outside your field, sign up for a one on one coaching session or group workshop

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