Primary Blog/Communication & Public Speaking/How to Explain Myself Better - 5 Tips to Explain Things Clearly

How to Explain Myself Better - 5 Tips to Explain Things Clearly

Tuesday, September 05, 2023

Have you ever felt that sinking feeling in an important meeting when you tried to explain your position, but it just didn't come across right? You knew what you wanted to say in your head, but somehow it got lost in translation. Before you knew it, you were misunderstood and embarrassed. If this scenario sounds familiar, you're not alone. Many professionals struggle to explain themselves clearly and concisely under pressure.

The good news is that communicating ideas clearly and effectively is a skill that can be learned. This article will explore five tips to help you articulate ideas persuasively and confidently in critical conversations. With a few tweaks to your approach, you can convey thoughts coherently, avoid confusion, and exude confidence when presenting to decision-makers. Read on to learn simple skills tailored for professionals that will transform how effectively you explain important concepts. The next time you speak up, you'll be ready to get your point across flawlessly.

Align with Their Values

The first tip for explaining yourself clearly is to connect your message to your audience's core values. As human beings, we all have deeply held beliefs that guide our thinking. When communicating complex ideas, frame your explanation in a way that taps into what your listeners already care about.

For example, if you're presenting to executives, consider what matters most to them before launching into details. Are they financially motivated? Emphasize how your proposal drives revenue. Do they value innovation? Highlight how your idea pushes the cutting edge. Link your message to their top priorities right away.

This value alignment captures attention, boosts recall, and makes your ideas feel relevant. We all listen more closely when something resonates with our highest values.

A common mistake is overwhelming people with intricate details without considering their perspective. In high-stakes conversations, there's often an urge to demonstrate everything we know to appear smart to our audience. But information alone leads to confusion about what matters most, especially if the information does not connect to the other person's values

To avoid this, first reflect on your own values and what matters most to you. This self-awareness helps you recognize what drives others. When crafting explanations, be patient, listen closely, and bridge to what your audience deems important. Connecting to their values is key for coming across clearly.

Benefits and Payoffs

When trying to explain yourself clearly, ensure that you are spotlighting the specific benefits and payoffs for your audience. People won’t care about the nitty-gritty details until they understand how your message benefits them directly. Adopt the mindset of “what’s in it for me?” as you craft your explanation.

Articulate upfront exactly what the payoff will be if they understand your position. How will grasping your idea help them achieve their goals? What outcomes or advantages will it produce? Get clear on the tangible benefits first, before diving into process and methodology.

Sometimes you’ll need to help your audience connect the dots between your message and their potential gain. Explain how they’ll profit, enjoy advantages, or accomplish objectives by following your approach. Reference their values here too – they’ll evaluate benefits through the lens of their priorities.

When people see how your ideas align with their values and deliver clear payoffs they care about, their level of interest and comprehension skyrockets. They’ll be far more receptive to the details once you’ve spelled out the “what’s in it for me” upfront. Make sure your explanation highlights the wins, achievements, and advancements that your listener will enjoy as a result of grasping your perspective. The benefits and payoffs are their motivation for paying close attention.

Clarity Trumps Cleverness

Since childhood, we’ve been programmed to believe sounding intelligent is important. This causes us to overload explanations with complex vocabulary and excessive details - all in an effort to appear smart. When trying to explain yourself clearly, it is critical to prioritize clarity over cleverness.

Obsessively trying to sound brilliant often backfires. When we focus on cleverness over clarity, we lose the audience. They get buried under an avalanche of facts and miss the core essence of what we’re conveying.

Rather than flexing your intellect, aim for basic understanding. After achieving that foundation, you can provide more details if requested. Remember to frame additional information around your listener’s values and the benefits to them.

The more addicted you are to sounding intelligent, the greater your fear of seeming unintelligent. This pressure causes you to fixate on your own performance rather than genuinely connecting with your audience.

Shift your focus from impressing others to empowering their comprehension. Strive first for clarity before cleverness. When you make it about your listener rather than yourself, you’ll communicate ideas persuasively and forge deeper rapport.

Draw Out What's Familiar

When you explain an idea at work, you usually want to create positive change - whether it's getting support for a new concept or moving a project forward. But change is hard for people. We like to stick with what we know. This is called "status quo bias."

When something is familiar, it feels safer and more predictable. New ideas that shake things up make people nervous. So when you share a new perspective, start by linking it to what your listeners already know. Find common ground between their experience and your explanation. Say something like "Based on X that we already know, here's how Y can benefit us."

Bridging from their known to your new idea makes the unfamiliar feel less threatening. People need a bridge between current reality and the change you suggest. Blend the familiar and novel artfully when explaining yourself, easing their transition.

When listeners grasp how your perspective aligns with and builds upon their existing mindset, resistance disappears. Anchoring to the known lays the groundwork for adoption. Help them view your explanation as an insight stemming from within their comfort zone. Connecting to the familiar is key for explaining yourself persuasively and inciting change.

Embrace A Dialogue

Professional communication goes beyond one-way explanation - it involves dynamic dialogue between diverse perspectives. Adopting an inclusive, discussion-based approach enriches understanding and fosters mutual comprehension.

While some may view challenging perspectives as a hindrance, it's essential to perceive them as valuable feedback. These differing viewpoints provide valuable feedback to refine ideas and make them more resilient. Engaging in open dialogue facilitates collaboration and shared ownership.

This inclusive atmosphere empowers individuals to arrive at their own conclusions about the significance and alignment of your concept with their values. When people feel acknowledged in the conversation, they more profoundly connect with the idea.

Effective communication requires assertiveness - navigating between passivity and aggression. The goal is balanced, constructive discussion. Mastering this art ensures every exchange becomes a stepping stone toward shared understanding and mutual growth.

Welcoming diverse input through dialogue cements participant investment. They become active stakeholders rather than passive listeners. Blend explanatory persuasion with inquisitive discussion to nurture collective evolution of perspectives.

Explaining yourself clearly and persuasively is a skill that opens doors to leadership. With these simple but powerful techniques, you can articulate complex ideas in high-stakes conversations confidently and avoid confusion. The road to influential communication is a journey of continuous refinement and adaptation.

So, the next time you find yourself in the spotlight, remember: With a mindful approach and these five tips in your arsenal, you can be the confident communicator who leaves a lasting impression. With knowledge comes responsibility - use your enhanced explanatory skills ethically to empower audiences. Let your ideas shine and your voice be the catalyst for shared understanding and growth.

Now that we've gained knowledge through reading, we will move on to applying what we've learned. You can learn how to put these principles into practice in my executive coaching program, in which I introduce you to a powerful process for self- and career development.

Taking a more skilled version of yourself leads to career fulfillment for growth-oriented executives. The course is designed to help you master your mind, develop deeper insights, improve your communication skills, and grow professionally. Find out how I can help you achieve your career goals by applying HERE.

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© Mastery Insights Inc. All Rights Reserved