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How to convey hard-to-understand message in the easy-to-understand way

As a normal business process, effective interaction among functional departments is crucial to the operational success of the company. In order to gain good cooperation from the team members, sufficient and same information must be shared and communicated in an effective manner.

However, the challenge is how to ensure that everyone truly understand the information related to the issue being discussed. There could be a situation where technical terms inevitably must be used, causing difficulty to some people to master the logic, mechanism or system behind it. In a business organization, engineers, marketers, accountants and lawyers may need to convey their thoughts, ideas and opinion from their professional points of view. Sometimes, it is important to explain difficult concepts or technical knowledge so that conclusion to the addressed issues can be reached. The following are examples of possible situations that could be found in the normal course of business.

_ A marketing manager is trying to propose the management a promotion campaign to launch a new product requiring a large amount of budget. This needs convincing reasons and justification for such plans. Marketing terms such as customer perception, brand positioning and so on could be mentioned in the presentation.

_ A production manager has to get approval for adding overtime working in the upcoming weekend in order to meet the production target. Sufficient information and explanation must be made to justify the additional cost for the request. Productivity and efficiency have to be discussed. Explanation must be made to link the result to the financial performance of the company.

_ A human resource manager needs to find solution on how to deal with a labour conflict situation. This may lead to the explanation of how existing laws and regulations are concerned, and what kind of consequences the company may have to face due to failure of compliance with such laws.

Questions can be raised by people lacking clear understanding on the topic in discussion. Such questions may be considered as easy from the ones who are in the field but can be too difficult to comprehend from the non-specialized group of people. Moreover, to give an understandable explanation to the non-expert in the field of knowledge can even be harder. The following could be considered as a way to alleviate the difficulty.

_ Avoid using technical terms - Even though some technical terms can be considered as general and widely used in the organization. But some new joiners or those coming from different departments in the organization can misunderstand the intended message to be conveyed. If possible, reducing the use of difficult terminology or replacing them with simple terms can be helpful in making people understand the issue better.

_ Use analogy as appropriate - Referring to the common and understandable thing, situation and occurrence can be a good approach to gaining the same understanding. For example, a financial controller who wants to convince an engineer to find other alternatives to purchase a new machine with lower cost may give a simple picture of budget limit by referring to decision-making in buying a car with a limited amount of money on hand.

_ Draw a picture or graphic figure - It is quite effective if flow chart, picture, and graph are used at the right time. In the complicated structure of a business transaction, it is possible that the concerned documents may be generated and distributed to several parties for different purposes. In such situation, an overview picture showing place, action and direction would be useful for easy understanding.

_ Discuss the same issue more than one time - In a really difficult and complex matter, it might not be possible to find the best solution out of merely one meeting. As the participants have gone through brainstorming session for a while without seeing the light, it could be better if we allow everyone to spend some time digesting the overwhelming and complicated information by postponing the discussion to the next meeting.

To explain difficult ideas, concepts and thoughts probably require additional effort and knowledge in specific areas to gain the same understanding from people involved in the process of action taking. But to efficiently communicate unusually hard-to-understand issues in the simple and easy-to-understand way need creativity in order to achieve the expected result.

_ Yanyong Thammatucharee - Senior Vice President for Accounting and Finance at Central Marketing Group. He can be reached at

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