Explanations transform facts into comprehension.
Great Explainers have the ability to picture themselves in another person’s shoes and communicate from that perspective (this is empathy). Empathy can be difficult because most explainers suffer from the Curse of Knowledge.
Review each of these explanations, as you do so, use this checklist to identify how the examples incorporate each of these style elements.
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Agreement builds confidence from the very first sentence. It is accomplished through big-picture statements that most people will recognize.
We can all agree gas prices are rising...
People are consuming media in more ways than ever before…
Content is king, but context is the kingdom. Context describes the situation and complication.
Context moves the points we have agreed upon to a specific place. It gives the audience a foundation for the explanation and lets them know WHY it should matter to them.
Context provides a broad perspective before zooming into the details.
More of your hard earned income is going towards paying for transportation…
Businesses want to know where they should focus their ad revenue…
Storytelling makes our facts more meaningful and interesting. Story applies the big ideas to a narrative that shows the person who experiences a change in perspective and the emotions that accompany that change.
Stories need facts. And facts can be explained more effectively in story. Facts give stories substance. Stories give facts meaning.
Meet Sally; she’s tired of paying so much for gas…
Sam is a brand manager and he is deciding where to spend this years budget..
Connections often accompany a story and are analogies and metaphors that connect new ideas to something people already understand.
Sally could see that taking the bus was like multitasking because she could work and commute at the same time…
Descriptions are direct communications that focus on how versus why.
Facts provide substance.
Sally found that she could save more than $20 a week by taking the bus three times a week…
Conclusions wrap up the script with a summary of what was learned and provides a next step with a focus on the audience.
The next time gas prices get you down, remember…
Source: The Art of Explanation