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 and one used all the time. In fact, we explain so often that we may never take a step back and think about the potential it has in our lives or how we can become better explainers.
But let's take a closer look at what makes explanation more fascinating and useful than you might imagine.
Explanations - More Than Meets the Eye
I am a big believer that explanations and explanation skills have great, untapped power. I’ve been a professional explainer since 2007, written the seminal book on the subject and created the Explainer Academy. And now more than ever, I consider explanation to be one of most powerful skills we can develop.
Why? Because explanations develop understanding and understanding is the prerequisite for nearly everything you want to accomplish. Think about it this way:
Explanations and Leadership
Great leaders inspire and motivate others to work together towards common goals. It’s a
challenge that depends on a leader’s ability to clearly communicate to their audience. Before anyone can be inspired, they first need to understand what they’re working toward and why. With this understanding in place, an organization or team can get to work. The skill of explanation is what builds that foundation.
Explanation and Influence
Professionals depend on influence to get things done. In order to build support for a project, assemble a team or earn a promotion, professionals need to exert their influence. They need to make a clear and compelling case for what they want to happen and why. This happens through explanation and, in turn, understanding. The development of understanding in others is the prerequisite for influence.
Explanations and Sales
People will not buy what they don’t understand. It’s as simple as that. The best salespeople know this and make explanation and understanding a priority.
Explanations and Presentations
A professional’s path to power, respect and influence may depend on their ability to stand in front of a group and present ideas effectively. But here’s the thing: the most beautiful slides in the world and a polished presentation style will not matter unless the audience can truly understand what the presenter is communicating. Explanation skills are what matters when it comes to developing the understanding required for truly effective presentations.
Explanation and Education and Training
There is a big difference between knowing the name of something and truly understanding it. Often in the educational world, tests and assignments are oriented around memorization and recall and not true understanding. The best teachers know the difference and work to explain new ideas and subjects so students can do more than remember the name of a concept. Here, students can apply the concept and make it useful because they understand it.
Bottom Line: Explanation Skills are Now Required
All of the example above have one thing in common. Whether you’re a leader, salesperson, presenter or educator, your success depends on giving people a reason to care about what you have to say. That caring is essential and it begins with clear, effective explanations.
Are you ready to learn the secrets of explanation excellence? Check out the Explanation Master Course.