How to communicate a complex idea

You’re struggling with trying to explain a complex idea or concept.

And the more you try to explain it the more complicated and confusing it becomes. The more obtuse, the more muddied and muddled.

You’re probably making the mistake of trying to incorporate logic or reason or, god forbid, facts in an attempt to validate and explicate. That’s totally ass about. Totally wrong-minded.

Don’t think about facts. Think about how you’d explain it to a child. Use a story and keep it simple, relatable and imaginable. Think color and movement.

Need to explain chaos theory? Don’t start rattling on about an interdisciplinary scientific theory and branch of mathematics focused on underlying patterns and deterministic laws highly sensitive to initial conditions in dynamical systems that were thought to have completely random states of disorder and irregularities. Instead, cite some variation of the butterfly flapping its wings causing a typhoon on the other side of the planet. Everyone can picture that.

Of course, that doesn’t explain the minutiae of a complex subject. It’s not meant to. It’s meant to distill the idea into an immediately understandable bit of information. A memorable, digestible and shareable bit of information.

Use analogies and metaphors. Everyone responds to stories instead of facts. Especially when it references something everyone already understands.

Find something normal in the world - whether it’s a thing or an occurrence - that encapsulates and demonstrates your idea.

Wrap a story around it and people will understand it immediately.

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