It’s Complicated: How to Translate Even the Most Technical of Topics

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Certain subjects are guaranteed to elicit an enthusiastic reaction regardless of the audience: food, puppies, the latest LOL meme. They’re all bonafide crowd-pleasers, and you don’t have to be a communication genius to get people pumped. But when the subject at hand is, ahem, more tedious and technical (e.g. the latest advancements in SAAS, biotech, or finance), it can be hard to drum up excitement.

At Tier One, we live for those moments. Seriously.

Few things excite us more than the untapped potential of the tech world’s latest innovations. Whether it’s software, a new investing platform, an incredible feat of mechanical engineering, or the next big thing in prescription processing, we're passionate about spreading the word. That's why we've made challenger brands the crux of our business.

As a result, we know a thing or two about how to talk tech without getting tongue-tied and have identified some best practices to get people talking about these tech-tied topics:

Know Your Stuff

Before you even begin to worry about an overall communication strategy, hit the books. If you don’t know what you’re talking about, how in the world can you expect anyone else to? In order to simplify the message and showcase a company’s value prop, you need to fully understand how its product or service works in the first place.

Consume, consume, consume. Listen to experts, watch webinars, read the work of other leaders in the space. The more you invest in research and learning, the better you’ll understand the subject and how to best convey that information to your audience. Take your time to fully comprehend it yourself first, and everything else will come much easier as a result.

Start Simple and Build to Complex

Unless you are targeting a very specific audience of subject matter experts, you should always work to make what you write/say as easy to understand as possible. Remember, you’re talking to non-experts for the most part. As communication pros, our role here is to translate, not regurgitate. A clear, easy-to-decipher message will help increase the size of the audience that engages with your work.

Of course, some things are just too nuanced to be distilled into an easily digestible bite (e.g. the complicated world of computer programming). In those situations, start simple by putting the information in terms the audience can understand and work your way up to the complex. That way you can take something that is relatively complicated and translate it into something that everyone can wrap their minds around and appreciate. For example, Nvidia’s upgrade to a new architecture means your games will run faster and more efficiently.

Find (and Focus On) the Value 

The best way to get an audience engaged is by showing them the ultimate value of the technology, which can mean a lot of different things to different people — even within your own target audience. So make sure you put the right content in front of each segment.

Let’s say your client introduces a new piece of artificial intelligence software that will help to automate a number of tasks while providing real-time visualization tools. When talking to accountants you’ll want to highlight how it can automate a lot of the manual inputs they have to do, allowing them to spend more time analyzing the data. However, with an enterprise-focused publication, you’d want to focus more on the software’s visualization capabilities, which provide the C-suite faster, more accurate insights. When you tailor your message to your audience and show them why they should care, they’ll be engaged.

Don’t Lose Your Voice 

Your messaging (talking points, press release, blog post, infographic, video, etc.) doesn’t need to sound like a robot in order to communicate technical subjects. (Unless, perhaps you’re developing robotics?) Sure, you want to be informative, but you’re not creating a user manual. Don’t be afraid to liven things up.

Use metaphors, add levity, and keep it exciting for your audience. You don’t have to be dry to be informative. In fact, there’s a much better chance of your audience retaining information if you can make it enjoyable for them. So let your creativity take hold and don’t be afraid to have fun with it.

The translation of technical subjects can be a challenge, but so are many things worth doing. And when it comes to developing the right communications strategy for the innovations transforming our world, the task takes on even more importance. We live in a technical world. Taking the time to break down the complex issues is how we all communicate better.

We’d love to learn more about the challenges you’re facing with your technical topics. Contact us here to start building a stronger communications strategy. 

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