A while ago, a LinkedIn user complained about his frustration in explaining technology to nontechnical people. His customers became resentful, bored, and impatient with the very information they asked for. When you feel the urge to talk tech to a non-technical audience–whether in print, online, or in person–try one of these approaches first:
- Listen. Why is that particular audience seeking you out for this particular technology? What is their problem or need? What do they expect?
- Accept your role. Your audience has turned to you because of your expertise. Therefore, you do not need to baffle them with technology. They know they don’t know as much as you.
- Accept their role. Consider this: when you consult your physician, you want answers, not a medical education. When your audience consults you, they also want answers, not a degree in engineering, robotics, quantum computing, or biochemistry.
- Define the problem. Make sure you are talking about the same problem. Your audience may have diagnosed the wrong problem; they may have the right problem but misguided expectations; or they may not realize they have a problem.
- Concentrate on benefits. How does your technology solve the problem and benefit them?
- Use analogies. When possible, compare your technology to something nontechnical and within the experience of your audience. For a great example of how analogy makes it easy to talk tech, see this article in Cosmos about quantum physics.
- Use pictures. People understand diagrams, photographs, simulations, and tables where words confuse them.
- Use stories. Everyone loves a good story. Case studies, testimonials, videos, and insight papers bring people along in part because they provide context and in part because they appeal to the story-loving heart of us.
If you struggle to translate technical information into everyday language, please contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. I have 20+ years of experience writing and editing website content, insight papers, blog posts, articles, proposals, and manuals that bring customers and technology together.
From our base in Peterborough, NH, TWP Marketing & Technical Communications writes marketing copy that engages your customers and delivers your message with accuracy, clarity, and passion.