I’ve just reviewed a book called The Art of Explanation for the B2B Marketing website. The author is Lee Lefever, co-founder of Common Craft, a US-based provider of video ‘explainers’ for technology firms. Chances are you’re one of the hundreds of millions who’ve already seen one of his distinctively simple videos. If you’ve ever been surprised that your idea, proposal, product or service hasn’t been received in the way that you expected, then it’s likely you have what Lefever calls an explanation problem.
Most of us in business never stop to ask ourselves if we’re any good at explaining but we should. How many times have our eyes glazed over, our attentions drifted, when listening to someone’s poorly explained idea or proposal? Often the speaker has failed to properly assess the audience’s existing level of knowledge. Or they’ve failed to contextualise their message and make a connection with something the audience is already familiar with. Sometimes, they do both. One of the problems for the person doing the explaining is that they are often too close to the subject; they assume too much knowledge on the part of their audience and they fail to ask themselves why anyone should care.
That’s where an outsider can play a valuable role. Our job as PR professionals is to role-play the audience, ideally before our clients start trying to communicate to target groups. If we aren’t convinced ourselves, if we fail to counsel our clients on the importance of thoroughly answering the question of why should anyone care, how can we expect the outside world to be anything other than skeptical in their response?
Read the full book review on the B2B Marketing website here