If you’re in any leadership position, from parent to CEO, then explaining things is just part of your job. And being able to make your explanations better is a significant step towards effectiveness in that job. We’ve put together a few of our most helpful tips on how to be better at explaining things.
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Tips for Explaining Things
Write It Down First
Writing down your explanation beforehand imprints it in your mind, and in a way, just going over it in your head cannot. You are sure to remember what you want to say better if you go through the process.
It also helps you to iron out the kinks or the confusing bits when you can actually see the explanation laid out in front of you.
Make It Relatable explaining things
An explanation finds its audience better if it hits on problems they specifically might be having.
In other words, an explanation of something should not be the same for every audience. Personalizing an explanation makes the audience care more, which always helps with reception.
Start at the End explaining things
When explaining anything, it’s best to state the end goal or end result first. Then go back to the start and explain how to get there.
Having the endpoint in mind will put the explanation into perspective, and the audience will be able to follow it more easily.
Use Body Language
Get animated! Use hand gestures and other motions to explain what you mean.
Most people are visual learners, so they respond more to active explanations than purely verbal ones. They find them more engaging and fun, so they pay more attention.
Watch Your Audience for Cues
During your explanation, watch your audience to see what they’re thinking. If they look confused at a certain point in the description, take an extra minute to elaborate on the point. If they start to look bored, it’s time to spice things up with some hand motions or a humorous anecdote.
Basically, just be adaptable.
Use Analogies explaining things
A good analogy is a fantastic way of explaining a difficult-to-understand process. By comparing the process to something the audience is already familiar with, you can make the explanation seem much less daunting.
Read up on how to construct a good analogy.
Use Sound Effects
Onomatopeias and other sound cues are a quick way to “wake up” your audience members and grab their attention if they’ve drifted off. Because of that fact, it’s a good idea to make one of these noises before you explain an especially important point so that you have everyone’s full attention.
Extra credit if you make the noise very loud and accompany it with an animated hand gesture.
Just to clarify, we’re not talking about a random noise only intended to startle people to attention. The noise cue should be worked into your explanation naturally. Something like, “And then, BOOM! Before you know it, you’re in business.”
Emphasize the Main Point
Most people are bad listeners, especially when it comes to lengthy explanations. It’s very unlikely they’ll listen to every word you say, so you need to make it clear when the most critical bit of the explanation is coming up.
The sound cues we just discussed are one excellent tool to signify the approach of the main point. Or you could say something like, “if you are only going to take away one point from this explanation, it should be this…” Whatever you do, make absolutely sure all eyes are on you during the crux of the explanation.
Ask for Questions explaining things
After you’re done explaining, ask if anyone has any questions about what you just said.
This serves two purposes. The first and more obvious purpose is to let people get clarifications for what they don’t understand. The other purpose is to make people go back over the information in their heads and connect the dots of your explanation.
Now that you’ve learned some explanation techniques, you need to learn how to use them subtly. Your explanations shouldn’t come off like a prepared speech. Instead, they need to seem friendly and casual. If you can synthesize all or most of the tips above with that laid-back style, your explanations are guaranteed to land better.
DO YOU HAVE ANY FURTHER TIPS YOU FIND HELPFUL IN EXPLAINING THINGS WITH STYLE? DROP THEM IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW!