How to Explain Difficult Concepts

You’re explaining a concept to your audience, or your team, or your friend, but they’re not getting it! They’re asking questions you’ve already answered and you’re getting frustrated.

This is because they don’t see the concept the way you see it. Imagine the idea as a building in your mind. You can see it clearly, but your audience can’t.

Young leader, to explain difficult concepts, rebuild the idea in the minds of your audience.

Here are 3 guidelines to help you do that.

1. Start where they are

If you immediately jump into explaining the concept, you will confuse your audience and frustrate them — which will frustrate you.

You have to start with the basics. If they grasp things quickly, you can move faster.

But as a general rule, start from their starting point — not yours. And make sure they understand every step of the thought process.

To explain difficult concepts, you need to start where your audience is.

2. Keep it simple

Don’t use jargon. Don’t use technical and industry-specific terms. And don’t overexplain!

If you start explaining a concept with words like apocalyptic dystopia or endocrinology or application programming interface, then you’ll lose your audience.

If you had to choose between simple and complete, err on the side of simple. It will give your audience a better chance of understanding the concept you’re trying to explain.

To explain difficult concepts, keep it simple.

3. Use analogies

Analogies… Illustrations… Metaphors… These are your best friends when it comes to explaining concepts.

Analogies make abstract concepts concrete. They help people understand what you’re saying based on things they already know.

When you point out multiple connections between the concept and your analogy, it becomes easier for your audience to make sense of it.

To explain difficult concepts, use analogies.

Here’s the gist…

Your audience will not immediately see what you see, or understand things the way you understand it.

Young leader, to explain difficult concepts, you need to rebuild it in the minds of your audience.

Here are 3 ways you can do that:

  1. Start where they are
  2. Keep it simple
  3. Use analogies

Use these guidelines the next time you’re explaining a concept and you will avoid confusing your audience, your team, your friend — whoever it is you’re explaining to.

They will begin to see what you see. They will understand the concept you’re trying to teach. You will communicate better.

Do you know anyone who needs to read this? Share it with them!

Photo by Simone Hutsch on Unsplash


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