Lots of communication consultants give advice about clear communication with business teams. One of the most common tips is to use language the audience understands. But what does that really mean? And what is language they understand?
Do you need to learn their job to explain things in a way they understand? No!
You 100% do not need to learn another person’s job to be able to explain something to them. Given the number and range of business teams the IT teams interact with, that would be impossible.
The key to translating any technical topic into words a non-technical audience can understand is to use language that is relevant, relatable, simple, and jargon-free.
- Relevant: It is obvious why I need to hear this information
- Relatable: I see the connection between the message and things I am familiar with
- Simple: I understand the ideas and information
- Jargon-free: I know the meaning of the words
Why are these four characteristics important?
- Relevant: We pay more attention to messages that are relevant to us. Your audience will pay closer attention to you if you make the relevance to them obvious at the start
- Relatable: Understanding information is easier when we can make connections between the new information and information we already know. It is hard to understand abstract ideas or concepts
- Simple: Simple messages are easier to understand. Complex messages lead to misunderstandings and take longer to deliver
- Jargon-free: Unless someone does the same job as you, or has the same expertise, they won’t understand the jargon you use. Jargon can turn a message from simple to confusing
What happens if any of the four characteristics are missing?
If any of the four characteristics are missing the message will not be clear. It is possible to get the message across but it won’t be as efficient or as effective without all four.
- Irrelevant: People won’t pay as much attention because they think the message is not meant for them
- Not relatable: The audience will struggle to understand the core message
- Complex: The audience may get confused and not understand what you need them too
- Uses jargon: The audience wont understand the words in the message.
Communicating technical topics with non-technical audiences isn’t always easy. But it is always possible. If you want to have clear communication with business teams start by making sure the topic is relevant to the audience. Know why they should care about it and tell them. Then explain the topic making references to tools, processes, or ideas they are already familiar with. And keep the message simple.
This overview is deliberately high level. In other articles I show exactly how to create a message that is relevant, relatable, simple and jargon-free. Contact me and we can talk about how I can help you or your team learn these important techniques.
Learn more with my online course
Get your message across
In this course you’ll learn how to:
- Communicate effectively with people in different teams
- Discover how to create relevant messages your audience can relate to and understand
- Simplify complex ideas and communicate in a way that is jargon-free
Please contact me for bulk purchase discounts.