How can I explain things more clearly?

Ever had trouble explaining something?

It can be very difficult, especially in another language.

Being able to explain things clearly and effectively is a useful skill to have in a wide range of situations. Maybe you want to explain part of your culture to a foreign visitor or teach the rules of a card game.  Or maybe you want to propose an idea at a business meeting or present your academic research at a conference.

So how can we explain difficult topics in an easy-to-understand way?

Well, there are a few things that might help.

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Firstly, if you can, it helps to prepare in advance what you want to say while considering the level of knowledge the listener (or audience) has on the topic.

Next, when explaining, it’s best to start with general information first and then later giving more specific details and examples.  Ideally, this would start with giving information you think the listener already knows about the topic and then gradually adding more details.  If it’s a new topic for the listener, an analogy can be useful, in other words, comparing your topic with a simple everyday object or process eg. shape of a doughnut, size of a tennis court, making a cup of coffee.  Also, while explaining, don’t forget to check the listener is understanding.

Below are some tips and examples of language that can be used for explaining.  Other strategies can also be used such as gestures, drawing simple diagrams, and prepared visuals eg. images, photos.

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