I recently heard Dr. Steve Duncan, Marcus Professor of Human and Molecular Genetics at the Medical College of Wisconsin and director of MCW’s Program in Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Biology speak at the Milwaukee Rotary Club. In 20 minutes, Dr. Duncan explained stem cell science, genetic testing, animal testing, and the FDA approval process. I actually felt like I understood everything he said. That’s a gift.
Most people think that in order to seem more intelligent, it is important to use bigger words and construct more complicated sentences. Actually, the reverse is true. People who are truly intelligent can explain something very complex in such a way that ordinary people can understand what they’re saying. This doesn’t mean that you need to be Albert Einstein in order to write clearly, but it does mean that good writing requires the willingness to get away from industry jargon and stick to plain English. That’s hard. It’s much easier to rely on buzzwords and generalizations.
The next time you need to explain something, try these five tips:
- Think about the one thing you want the other person to do. Focus your explanation on achieving only that one goal.
- Explain just enough for the other person to understand the basics, then stop.
- Use short words.
- Write short sentences.
- Be specific.
When you’re trying to sell something, your prospect doesn’t need to understand EVERYTHING, just enough to ask the next question.
Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Pinterest.