Streamline Processes

How Focusing on Important Facts Makes Complex Things Simple


You’re meeting with partners from your firm, and it’s up to you to convince them that your department needs more money. Why is this a problem? You know that your company’s partners are aware that your department is important to the firm, but your day-to-day operations are specific and complex. In fact, your job might even be so specific that you have a hard time explaining to your friends what you do. How do you persuade the partners to give your department a percentage of the budget? Here are a few ways to market complex jobs.

Familiarize Yourself With Your Audience

To get people on your side, keep in mind that sharing information is about the people you’re presenting to and not about you. This means that you’ll want to take the time to get to know them. Learn what they’re interested in and what inspires them. Also, review their backgrounds and look into their communication preferences.

For example, if you’re in the engineering department and you’re speaking to the budget committee, talk more about the financial value of the product that you need financing to complete. Show them how it will save the firm money and what it is predicted to earn on the market.

Select One Detail to Focus On

When you know your audience, you’ll be able to communicate with them in a way that best explains what you need. What should you do if you’re meeting someone? My recommendation is to ask them a question like, “Before I explain something you already know, are you familiar with the [subject]?” Once you’ve figured out how informed your audience is, select one main part of what you do that you want them to understand.

The New York Times reported on a well-known attempt to communicate complicated information in the military. In 2010, a general was reviewing the details of a particular military strategy, but according to the article, he thought that it looked “like a bowl of spaghetti.” As he tried his best to understand the complex situation, he said, “When we understand that slide, we’ll have won the war.”

What this example shows is that when things are too complex, people are unable to understand or support them. They might even forget what you were trying to explain to them. Complex business problems can be resolved by homing in on one element.

Focus on the Best Way to Share the Information

After you know a bit about your audience, it will be easier for you to focus on what you want to share with them. You also need to consider how you’ll share it. This means that you’ll need to pay attention to context. How you choose to share your information matters. Consider what examples you want to share as well as the language and the terms that you’re using. Your choices will impact what people understand and remember.

The brain is an amazing organ, one that is able to handle a ton of information. It oversees how you behave based on your thinking patterns. The human brain also has the incredible ability to modify neural connections to cement new habits and diminish poor behaviors.

The downside is that people’s brains are sensitive, which means that they are prone to interference and distraction. To simplify effectively, be sure to obtain and keep the attention of your audience. One thing that makes it hard to keep people’s attention is that the brain automatically seeks stimulation. Use this information when deciding the important facts that you want to share to make something complex simple.

While you might be tempted to share several things about the information that you want to present, keep in mind that you’ll be asking your audience to multitask. Research has found that multitasking decreases productivity, making it a challenge for people to tune into the details that matter most.

A good comparison for attention is a spotlight. When you position a spotlight on one thing, you can see it well. If you were to stretch the light from the spotlight around a big dark room, you could maybe make out the outline of objects in the room. Tap into the mental focus of your audience by sharing the details of one part of your job or presentation.

Simplifying Complex Job Operations

Martin H. Fischer said, “Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” When you focus on one of the elements of what you do or what you need, you’ll create a better connection with your audience. At the Leonard Productivity Intelligence Institute, I offer complex solutions that are simple to apply. For more information, contact me today.