How to Communicate Complex Information: 4 Strategies
Fintech is notoriously complex: with the new digital currency, new digital tools and terms can be difficult to explain. Terms like blockchain, NFT, cryptocurrency can leave a lot of people who aren’t in the industry scratching their heads. What if it was your job to explain these nuanced and technical terms to someone who had no experience with digital currency? How would you do?
In an attempt to explain Bitcoin mining, it has been compared to a Rubik’s cube: “a mathematical equation that is difficult to solve but easy to verify that it has been solved correctly”. A recent video from CNN Business attempts to explain bitcoin mining like this: “Transactions are grouped together in a block…computers like this race to solve a complex math problem. The winner can upload this block to the blockchain. A large register. In addition to the voiceover, a simplified visual representation of Bitcoin mining helps audiences understand complex information.
Because Bitcoin and cryptocurrency are notoriously difficult for laypersons to understand, before CNN tried to use visuals to explain it, they used the plot to capture their audience’s attention with this statement. “A quarter of all electricity in this county powers Bitcoin mining. ” This leads the public to ask questions: in which county? Why does Bitcoin consume so much energy? What does mining look like?
An intriguing setup
By intriguing our audience with a setup statement that prompts questions, we engage our audience’s imagination. Like suspenseful narratives, an intriguing story setup “engages brain areas associated with mentalizing, predictive inference, and eventually cognitive control.” When our audience is engaged and asking questions, we prepare them to seek answers to their questions. Thus, they will be ready to listen to complex information.
It’s the premier tool business leaders can use to engage their audience when they need to share complex industry-specific information. The following three tools are strategies you can use to break down information into useful and understandable pieces.
divide and conquer
This strategy breaks down all the complexity into smaller categories so that your audience feels less overwhelmed when approaching new information. Sticking to the world of finance, we can use the range of financial products as an example of how to employ this strategy. To explain financial products, financial advisor Joel Moore divides them into two categories, lenders and owners. A wide range of financial products can now be divided into two categories: lenders include bonds, mezzanine debt, asset-backed securities, and owners include real estate, private equity and equities. Since everyone is familiar with the idea of lending and owning, the complexity of each product can now be understood at a basic level. Moore skirts financial industry jargon to divide and conquer the information he conveys to his clients. The two simple categories serve as anchors that help guide her clients when discussing their investment options.
Compare the unknown to the familiar
Did you know that the trees in a forest are all connected mycorrhizal networks, or symbiotic relationships with fungi, that allow trees to communicate, share nutrients, send distress signals and more?
To bring this unknown idea – that trees can talk and share information with each other – to a wider audience, scientists have started calling it the Wood Wide Web. In doing so, they compare the complex biological relationships between the plant and fungal kingdoms with a tool most of us use every day, the internet.
Why does comparing the unknown with the familiar work so well to unlock new concepts? Research has shown that when you “associate” a new idea with something someone has already experienced, the new idea is encoded with its own reliable past experience. In the example of mycorrhizal networks, a listener who has experienced what it means to extract information from afar on the Internet, can now personally connect to how a tree under beetle predation can send warning signals to trees. miles further in the forest. .
Comparing two things is actually a metaphor. Metaphors (from Latin and French roots meaning to carry) “carry” the attributes of one thing and attribute them to another. While metaphors may seem poetic and thought-provoking, in everyday conversation we use them all the time without thinking. For example, New York Times columnist David Brooks observed, “When we talk about relationships, we often use metaphors of health. A friend might be involved in a sick relationship. Another might have a healthy marriage…when it comes to money, we rely on liquid metaphors. We dip into savings, mop up our friends, or take money from the top.
In the complex world of cryptocurrency and fintech, new metaphors are springing up everywhere to explain new technologies: “Smart contracts, like vending machines, eliminate intermediaries”, “Blockchain is like a Google document… When you create a document and share it with a group of people, the document is distributed instead of copied or forwarded” [1,2,3].
The structure is the basis
A simple structure that provides the basis for providing complex information is AIA.
- Acknowledge: Recognize the experience of your audience.
- Inspire: Show a way forward that improves their situation.
- Strive: Help them imagine a new outcome.
Like fintech, healthcare administration is known for its complexity. Healthcare accreditation, for example, requires insurance plans and hospitals to verify provider credentials, including credentials, board certifications, clinical experience, malpractice history. , any criminal record, etc. It can take months for credential verification organizations or internal teams to gather all the necessary information. Additionally, this administrative process is often filled with errors, further burdening networks and providers during the time lapse.
Founder and CEO Mike Simmons and his team at andros needed to explain to potential customers that their cloud-based platform could reduce overhead and improve turnaround times 10 times. How can his team explain that he is there a new technology-based way of doing things in an industry rooted in decades-old systems without losing its audience to the disbelief and complexity of new technology? Using the AIA structure.
Acknowledge: We know accreditation is a headache for providers, administrators and executives across the entire healthcare ecosystem. It’s frustrating for vendors and internal teams trying to do the heavy lifting.
Inspire: Technology helps us do things in ways we never imagined and now it can help improve the way accreditation has been done for decades.
Strive: Our accreditation service reduces overhead, ensures accuracy at every step of the process, and provides verifications 10 times faster than industry averages.
Imagination is an underused muscle for many professionals, but sparking your audience’s imagination can have a huge impact. By acknowledging your audience’s experience, they are able to follow you into unimaginable new territory, like an accreditation process that takes days, not months.
Storytelling is not a silver bullet that provides a fairy tale ending to every business meeting, but storytelling helps us connect with our audience and provides the tools to structure how we can communicate complex information. . The next time you find yourself preparing for a client meeting or team retreat where you have complex information to convey, remember these five strategies for clarifying the complex:
- Intrigue your audience
- divide and conquer
- Compare the unknown to the familiar
- The structure is the basis
Business communication can be tricky, but with the right storytelling tools, there’s no need to start from scratch. You can also create a visual to explain your complex concept.