Lost in Translation: How to Clearly Convey Technical Expertise to a Non-Technical Audience

I am often asked to be the bridge between scientific/ technical experts and the non-expert who needs to know their information. And I’ve learned that the best way to do this is to:

Teach the scientists and experts how to communicate so that their audience understands not only the facts, but their impact.

Here’s what I teach them.

Advice #1

Understand what you want to accomplish by communicating your data.

Is there an action you expect the listener to take? A point of view to adopt? If it’s just to “inform them,” think again.

Advice #2

Consider the attention span of the recipient.

Hint: It’s always shorter than you think. So put the most important content first whether speaking or writing.

Advice #3

Use the level of detail that is meaningful to the listener.

Hint: it’s always less detailed than you think. And less detail than you would need if YOU were the audience.

Honestly, I wish I’d known this earlier in my career, when I was tasked with presenting my research team’s results to our pharmaceutical partners.

But I’m glad I can pass it along now.

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