How to communicate complexity? Five tips

1. You know more than you realize

I am the founder of AskHow India. We take complex issues and simplify them for common citizens. It takes us months to understand a subject. We may read scores of documents and talk to tens of people. By the end of this process, we forget how little we knew when we started. We have to remind ourselves to say things that have become ‘obvious’ to us. If we don’t do this, our audience would not understand what we are saying. This is called curse of knowledge. Let me take an example.

2. Use metaphors

Many people believe that the police in India is inefficient, politicized and corrupt. One of the main reasons is that police forces are organized similarly to military. Constables, who form the bulk of the force, only get one promotion in their career. How would you communicate this information so that your reader understands it quickly?

3. If you are trying to tell your audience something new…

If you are telling someone something new, start with something they know. Scott Adams calls it pacing and leading. Agreeing with someone creates empathy and allows them to be receptive to whatever new that you are telling them. Let us take an example.

4. Create catch phrases

Simplifying complexity is not enough. Your core message should be memorable. Creating catch phrases helps. Another example.

5. Repeat without boring your audience

Even if your communication is very clear, most of your audience would have forgotten what they learnt in a few days. You have to repeat yourself. How do you do that without boring them?



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Yogesh Upadhyaya

Yogesh Upadhyaya


Entrepreneur. Economist. Investor. Actor. Technophile. Policy wonk. Comedian. I love to explore places where these worlds intersect.