Art of Explanation

  1. Insight comes, more often than not, from looking at what's been on the table all along, in front of everybody, rather than from discovering something new.
    The problem is we neglect to include enough context when relating ideas. Inside the bubble, everything is a tree and context isn't needed - everyone knows the forest. But when we step out of the bubble, everything changes, and we have to focus on the forest to make our ideas understandable. As my friend Tony O'Driscoll reminded me recently, content is king, but context is the kingdom.
  2. A product manager of a high tech firm may begin her presentation in front of executive with a few statements that frame her ideas and help explain the forest. She introduces the statements with an expectation that what she is about to say is true and something with which the group can agree. Examples may include:
    "The web is becoming more social. Forrester research says that …"
    "More applications are being moved to the cloud. Examples include …"
    "Video is a growing form of communication on the Web. YouTube has grown by X amount."
    • When presented effectively, these statements give her audience an invitation that accomplishes a few valuable goals:
    • * They create a baseline for the talk
    • * They give her presentation a sense of direction.
    • * They give her audience confidence that the presentation is about something they understand or have an interest in.
    • * They explain the forest.
  3. Facts give stories substance. Stories give facts meaning.
    • According to Dan Roam, you can classify any problem into 6 problem clusters:
    • * Who and what problems - challenges that relate to things, people, and roles.
    • * How much problems - challenges that relate to measuring and counting.
    • * When problems - challenges that relate to scheduling and timing.
    • * Where problems - challenges that relate to direction and how things fit together.
    • * How problems - challenges that relate to how things influence one another.
    • * Why problems - challenges that relate to seeing the big picture.
Card Set
Art of Explanation
Lee Lefever