Design 2: Web-Native Text
Adapting technical knowledge needs clarity, precision, and effort. An expert that uses technical words to communicate must be able to translate the information for audiences who may have less knowledge about the technical subject. To be effective in this translation, you should explain information in simplified ways so that non-technical audiences can understand it. Be careful not to mistake simplified with unintelligent. Avoiding jargon and offering explicit details about technical content makes a strong communicator.
An example of using too many technical words to communicate the details of a “Turbo Encabulator” can be seen below .
This video shows how using too many technical words can cause confusion and make topics of discussion harder to understand .
The Rhetorical Situation
When you are figuring out how to communicate complex information, it is necessary to recognize that all communication needs awareness of the rhetorical situation. We can imagine the rhetorical situation as the “formula” for good communication. The next video below, shows how to use the “formula” .
This video explains the different aspects of good communication and how together, they make the Rhetorical Situation .
Check your Understanding
You are the manager of a project team and everyone in the company uses a software that follows a monthly subscription. There are different versions of the software but right now everyone is using the cheapest version. The project your team is working on would go faster and produce better quality of work if they were using the more expensive version of the software. As the manager, you are responsible for deciding how you would convince the finance team that upgrading to the more expensive software is necessary.
Documenting the Process Clearly and Professionally
It might be obvious to you why it is important to get the software upgrade, but as a non-technical receiver of the request, the finance department may not understand why this upgrade is necessary. For this, the thinking behind your pitch needs to be clearly said in an understandable way.
To do so, it might be a good idea to try and convince yourself before anyone else. You need to analyze this pitch from different points of view so that you can create the most convincing proposal. Think about the points that would be compelling to you as an audience member. These points might positively affect the real audience (the finance team). The finance team are experts in finance but are not experts in the technical workings of the software you’re using for the project.
You need to analyze this pitch from different perspectives so that you can create the most persuasive proposal.
Creating a plan that is supported with evidence is key to ensuring that a project can be reviewed. Taking notes and recording meeting minutes can help keep track of the ideas that come up along the way. Records of meetings can be collectively reviewed by everyone involved with the particular technology. This can minimize the risk of different points of view being overlooked. It’s important to ensure that all voices are heard.
Focus on the Audience
Even though the benefits of adopting the pitched technology might be obvious to you, that might not be the case for the people on the receiving end. It is your responsibility to make it so that they are on the same page as you. The audience in this example is the finance team that will be approving or denying the request for the software upgrade. However, your project team is also your audience since that team will be using the software. You will likely find that there are multiple audiences for any report or communication event. It is important that your pitch is inclusive of the different audiences. Focus on empathy and determining what the audience needs. Try to address those needs through your preparation, research, and communication. Channel the emotions that got you pitching the technology in the first place, and try your best to let that show through to your audience.
There will likely be more than one audience you are talking to at any communication event.
For example, the finance team will need to understand why the increase of cost for the software upgrade is needed. If the team’s goal is to reduce overall cost, the team will be focused on minimizing how much is spent. However, the team may recognize that the return on investment, increase in productivity, and more contracts to work on is worth the up-front expense. As the person communicating, it is your job to ensure that the finance team understands the benefits of upgrading to the new software. Whatever the reasoning, be clear, be honest, and provide evidence.
Be clear, be honest, and provide evidence.
Tip: If you are preparing presentation slides, consider making them more engaging by including well-balanced graphics. Use examples based on evidence to make your pitch relevant to your audience. Involving the audience and making the presentation interactive can help make sure that the audience is involved every step of the way.
Creating an Executive Summary
It is important to remember that not everyone will have the time to read an entire pitch. This is where an executive summary can be useful. For any report that you prepare, create a brief summary of the key pieces of information. The executive summary is a summary intended for executives. They need clear and concise details that will help them make fast decisions. If the readers want further details, they are able to review the entire report.
Keeping this in mind, you should list the specifics that need to be conveyed about your technology. Include information such as the description of the technology, what your technology attempts to solve, how your technology can be expanded further, how much it will cost, and for how long you can expect to use the software. Address these topics in a clear and concise way that is both informative and understandable.
Key Points to Understand
- The audience you are speaking to may not understanding the information you are telling when using technical language. You must translate your technical words for the non-technical audience to understand.
- The Rhetorical Situation refers to factors that bring communication to existence. It helps communicators think through and determine the purpose of the text and for the audience to develop a more detailed understanding of the text.
Bibliography (IEEE Citation Style)
 Dave Rondot, “Turbo Encabulator” the Original, (Apr. 09, 2010). [Online Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ac7G7xOG2Ag. [Accessed Nov. 03, 2021].
 University of Jamestown Writing Center, The Rhetorical Situation, (Aug. 17, 2020). [Online Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE0thkr6GPA. [Accessed Nov. 03, 2021].
 Department of Communication, University of Pittsburgh, “Audience Adaptation”, [n.d.] https://www.comm.pitt.edu/audience-adaptation
 A. Bruzzese, “How to Explain Technical Information to Non-Techies”, 2019, https://careerlaunch.mays.tamu.edu/blog/2019/03/19/how-to-explain-technical-information-to-non-techies/
 E. Markowitz, “How to write an executive summary”, 2021, https://www.inc.com/guides/2010/09/how-to-write-an-executive-summary.html
 University of Illinois Springfield, “The rhetorical situation – center for academic success”, 2021, https://www.uis.edu/cas/thelearninghub/writing/handouts/rhetorical-concepts/the-rhetorical-situation/