4 Proven Ways to Present Technical Ideas to Non-Technical Audiences

4 Proven Ways to Present Technical Ideas to Non-Technical Audiences
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Can Your Technical Experts Present Technical Ideas to Non-Technical Audiences?
To present technical ideas to non-technical audiences, technical presenters need to drop the technical jargon, eliminate the complex details, and focus on delivering a clear and compelling message that resonates with business stakeholders. When your technical experts present technical ideas to non-technical audiences, are they heard?

We know from decades of technical presentation skills training that most business audiences tune out heavily technical presentations and presenters. This is a problem for technical experts who need to persuade decision makers to fund their project, adopt their solutions, or make timely decisions.

Different Needs for Different Audiences
While technical experts may speak a common language and share an inherent need for data-driven explanations, charts, and details, most business audiences want technical presenters to contextualize their messages so that they can make better business decisions faster. While data-rich PowerPoints and deeply technical whiteboards make perfect sense to technology, engineering, and science audiences, they do not reach, persuade, or influence business audiences as effectively.

4 Proven Ways to Present Technical Ideas to Non-Technical Audiences
Here are some proven and practical ways that technicians, engineers, and scientists can become more effective communicators, presenters, and influencers of executive and non-executive business audiences.

  1. If You Want to be Heard by the Business, Focus on the Business
    Business audiences have business goals, problems, and needs that are not all of equal importance or urgency. Identify the critical few strategic business priorities facing your target audience and how they directly relate to your idea.

    — What does your non-technical audience care most about?
    — What pressures are they facing?
    — What outcomes do they need to achieve?

    Business audiences need to know right up front how you will help their organization increase revenue, decrease costs, or mitigate risks.
  2. Be Clear About the Greater Reason Why
    Before you share your idea, get people’s attention by clearly articulating the problem that you are trying to solve or the key question that you are trying to answer that matters most to your business audience.

    Business decision makers, especially business executives, need to immediately buy into the importance, urgency, and value of what you are presenting to even consider your idea. If you want to influence business stakeholders, link your technical presentation to what matters most to them, their teams, and the business as a whole.

    Remember that the higher up you go in the organization, the less patience for details your audience will have.
  3. Highlight Your Main Idea and Its Impact on the Business
    Far too often, technical presenters want to dive into details to create a foundation for their idea. While starting with the details and building your case from the ground up may work with technical audiences, business audiences need you to highlight business outcomes and cut to the chase — in about 30 seconds. Supporting details and research can wait.

    To better influence and get your audience’s attention, focus primarily on the value gained or opportunities lost if they don’t go ahead with your recommendations.
  4. Share Only the Relevant Details
    Now you can judiciously share any technical details that the business decision makers must absolutely know. Share the top two or three supporting details and then ask if they have any questions or if they would like to see more detailed backup.

    Even when you share detailed technical information, avoid dense, overstuffed slides. Use images, stories, and analogies to make your point. If you must use technical acronyms or jargon, clearly define what they mean.

The Bottom Line
Don’t let your value or innovative idea gets lost in a weak technical presentation. Use the four proven, straightforward, and actionable technical presentation tips to get above the noise and increase the odds that non-technical audiences will buy into you and your ideas.

To learn more about ways to present technical ideas to non-technical audiences, download How to Present to Senior Executives Like a Rock Star


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