Explainer Academy News

News, notes and thoughts from Lee LeFever

What is the Curse of Knowledge? How Can I Avoid It? (Video Included)

The Curse of Knowledge is a phenomenon that is part of human nature and the root cause of innumerable communication problems. The basic idea is this: the more we know about a subject, the harder it becomes for us to imagine what it’s like not to know. Our knowledge curses us and interferes with...

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What is the Explanation Scale? How Can I Use It?

The goal of explanation is to help others understand a new idea. It seems so simple, but looking closely, you’ll see high-impact explanations often require analysis and skill. The Explanation Scale is one simple tool to help target your explanations for the right audiences. Think about it like...

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How A Crisis of Understanding is Holding Back Your Company or Team

Here is a statement that will sound blindingly obvious: Nearly everything we’re trying to do depends on understanding. That’s it. Here’s what I mean… In order to earn support for a new project, decision-makers need to understand what our project is and why it matters. In order for our team...

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What is a High Impact Explanation?

Why did that presentation take so long? Why do leaves fall in the autumn? Why doesn’t this math equation add up? Every day we’re asked for explanations, or we find opportunities to help someone understand something new. It’s part of being a professional. We are all explainers from time to...

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Writing Help: Imagine Your Audience is Lazy, Stupid and Mean

When the time comes to sit down and work through an explanation, to write down the important points with the intention of making them clear, it can feel daunting. Often it helps to have a framework or guide that jumpstarts your thinking. Sometimes you need to shake up your approach and see the...

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What is an Explanation? How are Explanations Used by Professionals?

First a quick definition: When we explain a subject or idea, we seek to make it clear and easy to understand for our audience. When they are done well, explanations help people see an idea from a new, more informed perspective. Explanations make information useful. It’s a really simple concept...

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How to Explain Pixels with an Analogy

  Analogies are like fulcrums. With a bit of care, we can use them to elevate an idea to a new, more powerful level. They are one of the basic machines of the communication world. But unlike fulcrums, pulleys or wheels, analogies are built with the mind. As explainers, it’s our job to find new,...

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Video from the 1930s: Jam Handy and the Differential Gear

1:33 ...

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