A Quick Guide to Presenting Complex Information With Simplicity

In the public sector, you work with complex information. Overloaded reports, presentations and briefs do little to engage or inform your audience, leaving them confused and with more questions than they arrived with.  

Successful presenting with our guide to presenting complex information with simplicity

We’ve created a quick guide so you can help your readers grasp even the most complicated information. Here’s how to succeed when it comes to presenting complex information with simplicity.

Think About Your Audience

Get to know who your audience or listeners are: What's most important to them? What motivates them? What language do they tend to use? Without tailoring to your audience, the information you present might be difficult to understand.

Your job is to make it easy for readers to gain the information they need. Keeping them at the heart of your writing will guarantee an understanding of the complex ideas and topics you’re presenting. 

Keep It Short and Sweet

Writing in the public sector means condensing lengthy documents into short summaries while also having that information understood by readers with various levels of knowledge.  

You have the potential to reach large audiences through different networks in your role, so make every word count. Aim to write in active voice rather than the passive, as this will engage the audience much more with fewer words. 

There’s no place for flowery writing in the public sector, although metaphors can help explain complicated ideas better. In these cases, less is better than more. 

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Focus on Your Key Message

Challenge each of your key points to make sure they’re relevant. Does this encourage understanding or cause more confusion? If it’s the latter or you’re not sure, just take it out. Presenting complex information with simplicity requires some extensive editing to achieve the right balance. It might be you enlist a colleague to go through it with a fine-toothed comb. 

As we stated previously, using metaphors is a very effective way to help you make your complex ideas relatable. However, you need to be as clear and concise as possible but not patronise your audience by making it seem easier to understand than it really is. It always needs to tie back to your key messaging. 

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Use Diagrams and Models

Where possible, use real-life examples and diagrams to help illustrate your difficult topics. Here are some possibilities:

  • Chunking: Chunk ideas/factors/items that have a commonality together. Show what they have in common and highlight where they differ.
  • Sequencing: Put the items in an order that makes sense. It could be chronological or a top-level view to a more in-depth and detailed view of your topic.
  • Venn diagrams: A Venn diagram is great for visually showcasing the overlaps and differences between items.
  • Flowcharts: A well-constructed flow chart enables your audience to see the process and clearly identify the action points and decisions made as a result.

These visual assets help to break up walls of text and present data simply. This is great for keeping the reader stimulated and reengage them if they’ve switched off. 

Keep it Jargon-Free

Your language is a powerful tool. Complex vocabulary might seem impressive, but it rarely helps understanding and can actually alienate your audience. If there’s a simpler word available, use it. 

Opt for simple, everyday language, avoiding any acronyms, jargon or highly-niche phrases. When it's impossible to avoid, make sure to define any complicated terms. 

Start Creating More Compelling Written Content in the Public Sector Today

If you’re looking to write better reports, more informative minute taking, better present complex information or even brush up on your writing in general, then this guide is for you. We’ve catered it specifically to those writing daily in the public sector so you can create copy that resonates.

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