I can tell you from experience, it is much easier talking to people about animals (since I worked at the zoo for five years) when they knew about animals too. The most difficult challenge I faced doing over a thousand presentations was crafting a presentation about the same animals so that a three-year-old could understand. I realize that isn’t a situation you would often encounter, but that extreme led me to help technical business professionals with presenting and to ultimately simplify their complex messages.
The principle is still the same, you cannot assume that your audience knows anything. The perception being the expert in the eyes of others is contingent on your ability to explain complex items in a way that any individual outside of your field understands. If they do not understand what heck you are talking about, then you fail at being an expert. Without the discipline of simplification, you are just another babbling idiot trying to show their smarts.
You may feel your explanation is not exactly true. I know when I simplified my message, especially to three-year-olds, the adaptation was not exactly hot it worked, but it was close enough. This slight shift happens because explaining exactly how an animal’s adaptations work would be over a child’s understanding. My close enough explanation allowed the listener to grasp the subject, which was my goal. They will build on the details as their grow and learn more about the subject.
Proof in something not animal related – explain 3D printing. A simple explanation is fine particles building on each other to form an object. If you ask an expert in the field, it is much more complicated than that, and there are multiple ways to do 3D printing. The experts would all agree that explain gives a novice the jist of it.
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