Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated So Anyone Can Understand

Overview

In our increasingly complicated and data-driven world, many new developments are so complex that only experts comprehend their nuances. But what they don't grasp is how to tell the world about them. Communicating technical content to nontechnical listeners has fast become a critical 21st-century skill. Explaining what you do and why it's important drives funding, policy decisions, media exposure, public awareness, and customer adoption.

This groundbreaking guide will help anyone...

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Supercommunicator: Explaining the Complicated So Anyone Can Understand

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Overview

In our increasingly complicated and data-driven world, many new developments are so complex that only experts comprehend their nuances. But what they don't grasp is how to tell the world about them. Communicating technical content to nontechnical listeners has fast become a critical 21st-century skill. Explaining what you do and why it's important drives funding, policy decisions, media exposure, public awareness, and customer adoption.

This groundbreaking guide will help anyone to deliver clear, persuasive messages that win hearts, minds, and budgets. Supercommunicator explains how to:

● Distill details and data into big ideas

● Deliver meaning to audiences

● Use storytelling to captivate and educate

● Humanize content to make complicated ideas more tangible

● Layer harder ideas on top of easier ideas

● Strip away complex language, jargon, and acronyms

● Use analogies to explain unfamiliar areas

● Master new digital modes of expression

● And more

Enhanced with a wealth of examples--from how the National Academy of Sciences used audience research to improve the way evolution is taught, to how NASA incorporated cutting-edge tools to visualize issues in climatology--this one-of-a-kind book reveals how to make the complex comprehensible, and the dry deeply compelling.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...no-nonsense advice is for everybody who has ever had to articulate a clear and easy-to-understand message which means pretty much all of us." --Hill Rag

“…an excellent book for a wide range of library patrons since effective communication is an imperative in our digital age.” --Booklist

"Packed with solid advice, Supercommunicator is an excellent guide to help you improve and enchance your writing and communications skills."--Success magazine

“…written in clear, uncomplicated sentences. It focuses on helping communication professionals—or anyone who communicates on the job—hone their message for maximum impact.” --Bloomberg Businessweek

"Pietrucha offers a big-picture view of the quickly evolving communication landscape packed with practical advice." --Smart Supervision

"Everyone who needs to articulate a complex concept or turn complicated subject matter into easy to understand language will benefit from reading this book." --PM World Journal

"This guide will help anyone to deliver clear, persuasive messages that win hearts, minds and budgets." --Work Style magazine

"Pietrucha practises what he preaches, offering readers short, digestible chunks of information and advice in a conversational tone...a great primer or refresher..." --Iva Cheung Blog

“Supercommunicator provides guidance and hope for leaders everywhere.” --strategy + business

“…provides all of us who have to communicate (which is all of us) with the tools we need to be better communicators…” --PCB007.COM

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814433683
  • Publisher: AMACOM Books
  • Publication date: 5/1/2014
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 638,765
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

FRANK J. PIETRUCHA, president of Definitive Communications, has over 25 years of experience helping start-ups, established companies, and government agencies make challenging topics more accessible.

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Read an Excerpt

PART I: HOW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING COMMUNICATION

Words, pictures, graphics, and symbols—the very shape of content—

is evolving before our eyes. The written word isn’t going away,

but it is being transformed. The days of straight running text on

paper as our principal means of expressing ideas and delivering infor-

mation are numbered as new digital tools change our communication

landscape. For some, this transformation is liberating . . . for others,

it’s terrorizing.

For communicators—anyone with information or ideas to share—

today is a period of transition. We can now show audiences insights

that previously could only be explained with words. Tools born of the

Internet allow us to manipulate data into forms that can bring us

deeper understanding. The ease of multimedia grants even the tech-

nologically challenged the power to communicate with video, audio, and

images to deliver a fuller communication experience. All good stuff,

but these changes aren’t likely to come easily after centuries of thinking

print. Flipping the switch from print to digital requires effort on

our part.

If you communicate, take note: Failure to understand new media

forms and how they impact the way we write, speak, and think could

leave you at a disadvantage. Conversely, embracing new digital tools—

and the philosophy that drives them—can help you thrive in our

hyperconnected world.

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION CHANGES EVERYTHING IN COMMUNICATIONS.

We can no longer think in terms of paper documents as our

end product. The Internet is increasingly pushing more dynamic

modes of communication—not just functioning as a mechanism to

deliver pdf files. Multimedia engages users in a way print cannot—

offering them greater insights.

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION CHANGES NOTHING IN COMMUNICATIONS.

Solid, time-tested communication skills are still an imperative.

“Old school” ways to develop content are, and will always be, essential

to information sharing.

THE DIGITAL REVOLUTION CHANGES EVERYTHING IN COMMUNICATIONS, YET NOTHING AT ALL.

Communications is about delivering meaning. Multimedia can help us

grab someone’s attention. It can also enable us to deliver a more

powerful learning experience by “showing” rather than “telling.”

But we can’t depend on killer applications alone to express thoughts

and share information. There has to be substance behind the style

to breathe new life into content. Technology can enhance our under-

standing of content, but there must be solid ground beneath the

gadgets and gizmos.

You may already know about some of the technologies described

in the coming pages, but read with an open mind. The introductory

chapters aren’t so much about new tools as they’re about developing

the frame-of-mind to seamlessly incorporate new devices into your

communication efforts. We’ve been busy adopting new communication

tools, but have we taken the time to think about how they can

best serve us?

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Introduction: An Elephant Named Digital Communication 1

PART I HOW DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING COMMUNICATION 7

1. Deliver Meaning 11

2. The Dawn of the Multimedia Age 19

3. What Is Multimedia? 25

4. Digital Media Changes the Way We Experience Information 37

5. Finding the Right Medium to Deliver Your Content 43

PART II KNOW THY AUDIENCE 49

6. Why Smart People Misread Their Audiences 53

7. Learning About Your Audience 57

8. Addressing Multiple Audiences 65

9. Researching Cultural Issues 71

PART III KNOW THY SUBJECT 75

10. If You Are Not a Subject Expert . . . 79

11. Advice for Content Experts 83

PART IV SIMPLICITY AND CLARITY 87

12. Simplify Your Content 91

13. But Don’t Oversimplify 97

14. Focus on Clarity 101

PART V GUIDELINES FOR EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION 105

15. Supercommunicator Basic Guidelines 109

PART VI HUMANIZE YOUR COMMUNICATIONS 119

16. Find Your Human Voice 121

17. Speaking Human . . . Without the Human 127

18. It’s Story Time! 131

19. Testimonials: A Supercommunicator’s Win-Win 141

20. Case Examples That Make Learning Real 145

21. What Not to Do When Speaking Human 151

PART VII GETTING AN AUDIENCE TO CARE 155

22. The Power of Personalization 157

23. Rational Thinking Isn’t Always the Rational Choice 161

PART VIII BUILDING BLOCKS AND ANALOGIES 167

24. Building a Path to Comprehension 169

25. The Power of Comparison 177

26. Analogies in a Professional Setting 185

PART IX VISUAL AND INTERACTIVE 191

27. More than a Garnish 195

28. Quality and Integrity in Design 201

29. Visuals for Presentations 209

30. Let Your Audience Explore 219

31. Your Role as a Supercommunicator 225

A Debt of Gratitude 233

Notes 237

Index 245

About the Author 257

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