The three most important factors of good explanation.
Making clear explanations is a profession in itself; learn how we make it work!
Explanation aims to create understanding.
Explaining aims to create understanding. Understanding is a form of knowledge creation that can have various different goals, but ultimately the outcome is always some form of behavioural change. Suppose you want to explain to employees how they comply with the legal rules of your company, you would obviously like them to change their behaviour to comply with the law. The same principle can also be applied if you're trying to explain the value of your product; your aim is convince the customer to make a purchase, therefore deviating from the norm and changing their behaviour. So explanation is not just about making things clear, it's about igniting thoughts and emotions that will change the behaviour of your target audience. However, just because someone changes their behaviour does not mean that the explanation is good!
Creating behaviour change is about much more than just understanding. To change their behaviour, people require motivation, technical skills (if applicable) and also be enabled or facilitated to change. So, of course understanding is an essential part of the behaviour change process. After all, if all other factors are present but there is no understanding, how could the target audience know what behaviour needs to be changed? These principles essentially form the basis of our explanations at Funk-e; we believe that if people do not properly understand your message, they will not take any action on it. From this perspective, we can identify a number of factors that are critical in making good explanations.
1. Get the attention of your audience
Firstly, you need to grab the attention of your target audience. If you cannot attract attention to your message, you will not be given the time to explain it, and then we go back to the issue of people not understanding your message. Attracting attention is the result of several things, but it's always important that you begin at the right location. Just imagine making an animation for a group of people who are never close to any screens, then how could the animation get their attention? Something like this might sound obvious, but it's surprisingly a common mistake made across many workplaces. The problem is that some employees may indeed be present at a physical location, but it depends in which way they are present to determine which communication method is appropriate. Of course, a human brain can only focus on so many tasks at a time, so if you try to send a message while people are already busy with other tasks, it's likely they will completely miss it.
Think about crossing the street; your brain doesn't focus on every single piece of stimuli around you, but just on the traffic around you and the potential danger. It's the same principle for when people are focused on their work; they will only be focused on a limited number of factors. That's why it's so important that you need to become one of those few factors that stand out at distinguish themselves from the rest. At Funke, we believe illustrated content is ideal because it is bright, colourful, easily understandable and attracts attention. And of course, who doesn't like cheerful animations?
2. Maintain relevance
So you've successfully got the attention of your target audience, what next? You need to maintain that attention until you've fully delivered your message. The best way to do this is by keeping relevant; this means that you always have something to say that is interesting to your target audience. How can you know what is interesting to your target audience? You need to find out what their needs are, and what the pain points are in their daily life. A good way to get started is with your title, this will often be the first thing the viewer sees and will dictate if they pay attention to your content or not. It's kind of like making a promise to give an answer that they need. Remember to keep it short and to the point, don't elaborate too much yet or you may lose the attention of your audience. Another great method of maintaining attention is to use a little bit of (appropriate) humour. Humour doesn't have to be blatant and obnoxious, it can be a subtle reference or nod to the audience. The interesting thing about humour is that it often requires recognisability, which is inherently one of the factors that increases the relevance of your content. People often see humour in characters or situations that they recognise; meaning that they are familiar with the topic which makes humour a great way to boost your communication effectiveness.
The third element that makes a good explanation is simplicity. This is one of the most challenging factors so execute well, because simplicity can be relative depending on the target audience, their prior knowledge and your goal. The essence of simplicity is that you must understand your target group very well so that know what they will and will not understand. Once you know this, you can build upon that knowledge and connect to it through what we call contextual alignment. This might mean that you use terms such as "cloud-based collaboration tooling" and "cash flow" when you talk to your management team. While simplicity for a group of new customers might be more like "MS Word for the internet" or "the difference in money you receive and pay". Simplicity is therefore about connecting to the prior knowledge of your target audience, but doing so in a logical manner. Establishing causality is also important; you must not only explain why something happens, but also why it is there in the first place. And finally, simplicity is the ability to visualise concepts, many people's brains work in a way that understand visual and auditory stimuli best when they are combined into a clear explanation, forming a kind of double association.
In summary, there are three clear factors that make a good explanation: Attention, relevance and simplicity. You may have noticed a common theme throughout the mentioned examples; the target audience. Each of these factors that define a good explanation depend on your target audience. Not everyone pays attention to the same stimuli, and not everyone has the same level of knowledge. So if we were to give one final factor to define good explanation; it would be to make sure that your target group is specific.
We offer several different communications products to meet the needs of any specific explanation.
Animations are the perfect way to clearly and logically explain technical information. It makes it easy to captivate your audience and get your message across emphatically.
Infographics lend themselves to factual and unstructured information. They're also great as a supportive tool to elaborate on content from animations.
Custom explanation style
Your very own illustration style to use across all your explanatory content. But also great for your corporate identity, your website, or perhaps even your car!
1,000+ happy Funk-e customers
5,000+ animations made
For 1,000+ customers
Active in 35+ countries
Struggling to explain something complicated?
Struggling to find ways to reach your audience in an engaging way? We're always happy to help! Just give us a call on +31 (0) 10 413 27 34 or fill in the contact form below.