13 Strategies to Effectively Communicate a Complex Idea to Your Audience

Members of the Young Entrepreneur Council share some foolproof ways to break down a complicated concept for your target market.
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
February 18, 2021
Updated: February 19, 2021
Young Entrepreneur Council
Expert Contributor
February 18, 2021
Updated: February 19, 2021

You come up with a great idea. On paper, it makes perfect sense. You and your team talk about it together all day long, but when you go to explain the idea to your target audience, the idea just doesn’t translate well and you lose them.

It can be frustrating to not have the skills or words to properly articulate your concept, but effective communication is a core skill for any entrepreneur. That’s why the members of the Young Entrepreneur Council shared some simple ways you can successfully explain challenging concepts to their audience. Try these strategies to help you get your idea across, no matter who you’re talking to.

1. Present Information in the Right Order

When communicating complex topics to your audience, it is not what you say but how you say it — or, more specifically, the order in which you present all the information. Most topics can be broken down into small, digestible pieces, and if you present them in an easy-to-follow sequence, you can help alleviate the stress of having to absorb too much information at one time. —Jacob Tanur, Click Play Films

2. Find an Analogy

Find a relatable analogy and then use it to approach your topic. When we can identify with something, its never too complex. Over the past few months, Ive had to explain many challenging concepts to my six-year-old. For instance, the election controversy boils down to how to appropriately handle winning and losing. Its been a good reminder of how to do that in the business world too. —Britt Fero, PB&

3. Present It as a Hypothetical Situation

Lately, Ive had success demonstrating heavy concepts with hypotheticals. If done right, your audience can get the same insight as they would with a well-done A/B test. Its important to understand your audiences perspective if you want them to go along with your hypothetical, but its also great for engagement. —Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

4. Use Visuals

Communicating complex concepts is hard if you dont provide visuals to break them down. People need something to follow, and thats exactly what a visual prompt can provide. —Diego Orjuela, Cables & Sensors

5. Develop Tutorials and How-To Guides

The best way to make things clear for your audience is to document them through tutorials and how-to guides. They can help you explain things in a detailed and step-by-step manner and make it easier for your users to understand them better too. —Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster

6. Break It Into Three Points

Most people can only retain three things from a conversation. Breaking down challenging concepts into three points will make them easy to understand. Buying a house can feel super complicated, but real estate agents break it down into simple steps for you. Be the guide and walk your target audience through a simple three-step process. —Kara Brown, LeadCoverage

7. Be Clear and Concise

Treat your audience as if they are educated people who happen to know nothing about this particular subject. Don’t patronize your audience and talk down to them as if they are uneducated, but don’t assume they know everything you know about the subject. Avoid jargon, corporate-speak and vague industry phrases. Instead, be clear and concise so that anyone listening could understand by the end. —Jordan Conrad, Writing Explained

8. Break It Down Into a Problem-Solution Structure

If we need to explain a complicated concept or pain point to our target audience, we break it down into one or two sentences that include key elements like the problem and how our company can help. It may look something like this: Struggling with (problem)? We can help by (solution) with (product). You can break basically any concept down into this structure. —Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights

9. Host a Webinar

A great way to effectively communicate a challenging concept to your target audience is by hosting a webinar. We hold internal webinars for our employees so they can understand concepts in detail, learn new things and ask questions. Its a great way to spread knowledge and get to know your team members better. —Jared Atchison, WPForms

10. Repeat the Message Across Platforms

Post the message in all forms (text, graphics, videos, tweets, blog, vlog, memes, etc.) on repeat. Make the context simple and basic. Have relatable influencers post about these things using their own platforms and in their own style. Spread the message without the feeling of redundancy. Come up with fresh, new ideas to make the concept clear. —Daisy Jing, Banish

11. Employ Metaphors Effectively

I wrote a book about SEO that did extremely well because it communicated complex concepts in simple language and in the context of early learning. Model your communication strategy after a simple metaphor that can draw an audience in and back when a subject might become too dry. Effective metaphor use really eases the cognitive load for complex subjects. —Matthew Capala, Alphametic

12. Give Strong Examples and Case Studies

If its a challenging concept and something new to the audience, you cant expect them to understand it perfectly by giving them a simple definition. You need to provide content in multiple formats, such as text, infographics and videos. Its also good to give examples when possible. If I want to explain the benefits of a certain app my company offers, I include case studies to illustrate it. —Kalin Kassabov, ProTexting

13. State With the Fundamentals

Lets go back to class for a moment. Remember the incremental difficulty of math problems? You start with fundamentals and then other knowledge blocks are added to form a theorem, and we struggled if we didnt get the fundamentals right or got lost along the way. Thats how you should approach complex concepts when interacting with your audience. Work from the ground up while connecting with people along the way. —Samuel Thimothy, OneIMS

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