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Breaking down complex ideas

The academic and research communities have a vested interest in being able to effectively translate their work to diverse audiences. Whether it is another faculty, or the general public, this artifact aims to help researchers present better.
by

Gillian Edwards

on 25 October 2016

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Transcript of Breaking down complex ideas

For academics and researchers, translation of their work is one of the most important aspects of the process. For society to understand why academia, research, and higher education is vital to their daily lives, they first must understand what you are presenting.
Breaking down complex ideas
A Picture Can Be Worth a Thousand Words
Lawrence Lessig
X is like Z, which reminds me of a time...
Make your research relatable to the audience - use stories, analogies, and examples to expand on the idea in a new way. It's how you introduce your research ideas to new people, while keeping familiar listeners engaged.


When it makes sense, adding a picture, diagram or other visual can have a great effect on your audience's understanding.
Laws That Choke Creativity, TED
explaining complex ideas
Concentrate on the
value of your idea.
Assume no prior
knowledge - but ask!
Use analogy, metaphor
and worked examples
Distil, condense,
break up into "chunks"
Use images to
illustrate the key themes
The PowerPoint: To Use or Not To Use?
If you are going to use PowerPoint (or Prezi or Keynote), make sure it's to your advantage. Slides should be clear, concise and only add to what you are saying. They should only help you illustrate your points -- no bullets allowed!
from Jim Harvey
a great example of a complex idea, presented well
SO WHAT?
what is the value in your research?
why should my audience care about this?
Choose your words carefully.
Avoid jargon if possible.
Don't make assumptions about your audience's knowledge of the subject matter.
Whether your field is fine arts, humanities, computer science, engineering, or medicine, Melissa Marshall's TED talk is a great synthesis of how to get your work out to audiences
that aren't in your discipline.

It isn't "dumbing it down" - it's making it accessible to the rest of the world.
Jim Harvey gives a great list of common themes for explaining complex ideas to different audiences. Taking these five points as cues, the academic world can make a great deal of headway in translating their ideas to the general public, or even just a different faculty.
answer the question SO WHAT? before you start.
http://www.jim-harvey.com/presentation-advice-from-albert-einstein-part-2-five-rules-for-explaining-complex-ideas/
http://www.geol.wwu.edu/rjmitch/stoning.pdf
http://blog.ideatransplant.com/2013/05/presentation-lessons-from-ted.html
http://www.geol.wwu.edu/rjmitch/stoning.pdf
"Better to lower the level of verbal excellence and raise the level of extemporaneous energy."
-Jay Lehr
http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2013/05/no_excuse_for_t.html
Taking a familiar idea and remixing with something new gives your audience more insight into why it matters to them.
https://twitter.com/GuyKawasaki/status/342446109106528257
http://www.jim-harvey.com/presentation-advice-from-albert-einstein-part-2-five-rules-for-explaining-complex-ideas/
Remember -- your audience is king.
As Albert Einstein said:
Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler.
**Brainstorm what graphics will best express your information to the diverse group of people watching.
the cloud network
Cloud computing is "distributed computing over a network and means the ability to run a program on many connected computers at the same time."
VS.
server
database
printer
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing
http://www.jim-harvey.com/presentation-advice-from-albert-einstein-part-2-five-rules-for-explaining-complex-ideas/
1. White space is your friend.

2. Keep one idea per slide.

3. If you have to apologize for its lack of clarity, don't use it (this means most graphs).

4. Do not read from your slides.

5. If they are reading, they aren't listening.
http://blog.ideatransplant.com/2013/05/a-good-powerpoint-template.html
http://www.geol.wwu.edu/rjmitch/stoning.pdf
http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2013/05/14/5-simple-obvious-too-dumb-to-live-speaking-tips/
Take the example of "cloud computing".
which one is more clear?
keeping that in mind...
and one last thing...
BE PASSIONATE
make them care about your research as much as you do.
if you aren't enthusiastic,
why would they be?
http://www.duarte.com/blog/5-ways-to-make-powerpoint-sing-and-dance/
http://janicetomich.com/nancy-duarte-talks-about-the-use-of-story/
http://www.geol.wwu.edu/rjmitch/stoning.pdf
http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2013/01/the-storytelling-imperative-make-me-care.html
http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2013/01/the-storytelling-imperative-make-me-care.html
http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2013/05/no_excuse_for_t.html
http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2013/05/14/5-simple-obvious-too-dumb-to-live-speaking-tips/
Images have the power to actually show an
audience what you mean with less talking.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nebarnix/337062435/
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/
http://www.jim-harvey.com/presentation-advice-from-albert-einstein-part-2-five-rules-for-explaining-complex-ideas/
How to Give an Awesome
(PowerPoint) Presentation
via wienot films
Use complex words only if they
are relevant and explained.
http://www.jim-harvey.com/what-language-can-you-speak-the-joy-of-jackspeak/
References
Melissa Marshall, "Talk Nerdy To Me", TED
http://www.ted.com/talks/melissa_marshall_talk_nerdy_to_me.html

Lawrence Lessig, "Laws that choke creativity", TED
http://www.ted.com/talks/larry_lessig_says_the_law_is_strangling_creativity.html

Jim Harvey, "Five Rules for Explaining Complex Ideas"
http://www.jim-harvey.com/presentation-advice-from-albert-einstein-part-2-five-rules-for-explaining-complex-ideas/

Jim Harvey, "Is complex language always wrong for presenters? Can you speak Jack?"
http://www.jim-harvey.com/what-language-can-you-speak-the-joy-of-jackspeak/

Jay Lehr, "Let There Be Stoning"
http://www.geol.wwu.edu/rjmitch/stoning.pdf

Garr Reynolds, "The Storytelling Imperative: Make Them Care!"
http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2013/01/the-storytelling-imperative-make-me-care.html

Garr Reynolds, "No Excuse for Boring an Audience: Advice on giving technical presnetations"
http://www.presentationzen.com/presentationzen/2013/05/no_excuse_for_t.html

Idea Transplant, "Presentation Lessons from TED"
http://blog.ideatransplant.com/2013/05/presentation-lessons-from-ted.html

Idea Transplant, "A Good PowerPoint Template"
http://blog.ideatransplant.com/2013/05/a-good-powerpoint-template.html

Guy Kawasaki, "Google+ is like the Matrix" tweet
https://twitter.com/GuyKawasaki/status/342446109106528257

Wikipedia, "Cloud Computing"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_computing

Paula Tesch, "5 Ways To Make a PowerPoint Sing! And Dance!
http://www.duarte.com/blog/5-ways-to-make-powerpoint-sing-and-dance/

Nick Morgan, "5 Simple, Obvious, Too-Dumb-To-Live Speaking Tips"
http://www.forbes.com/sites/nickmorgan/2013/05/14/5-simple-obvious-too-dumb-to-live-speaking-tips/

Wienot Films, "The PowerPoint Plague"
http://wienotfilms.blogspot.ca/2011/06/powerpoint-plague.html

Corrie Miller, "Nancy Duarte Talks About the Use of Story"
http://janicetomich.com/nancy-duarte-talks-about-the-use-of-story/
Full transcript