5 methods to effectively talk to non-technical people about technology
5 ways to effectively explain technology to non-technical people
For technophiles, explaining concepts such as OCR (Optical Character Recognition), RPA (Robotic Process Automation, and AI (Artificial Intelligence) to non-technical stakeholders can be challenging. They may not care. They may be resistant to change. Or their eyes may glaze over the moment you start dropping the latest buzzwords and acronyms. Often it feels like you might as well be speaking another language.
Regardless of your experience with technology, explaining complex subjects to others will be a career requirement at some point. It may take time, but you can learn how to explain technical concepts even to the most unenthusiastic listener.
How to communicate the benefits of AP technology
Here are five ways to explain technology to non-technical people effectively.
1. Know your audience
In many ways, it’s just as important to understand your audience as it is to understand the information you’re relaying. You should know what their level of expertise is before talking to them.
For instance, using overly dumbed-down examples will be very off-putting to some people. Whereas others will tune out if you use too much technical jargon.
You should always take into consideration your audience’s level of experience, knowledge, and attitudes about the topic at hand. You would speak very differently to your company’s Board of Directors then you would to your CFO or AP Department Manager.
2. Focus on benefits, not technicalities
If you’re trying to make the business case for implementing an AP solution at your organization, then you already understand the benefits of the technology. You know why it’s exciting and the potential it has to improve other people’s lives.
You also understand the details of how it operates, and many people choose to lead with this information. But most non-technical people don’t want to understand the ins and outs of how the software works.
They do want to know how it can improve their lives or make their jobs easier. When talking to a CFO, explain the potential to free up working capital, the rapid ROI and the potential of making an impact on corporate operations. When talking to a Controller or an AP Department Manager elaborate on the lower cost per invoice, shorter invoice processing times and higher number of invoices processed per FTE (full time employee).
3. Only share what they need to know
One of the biggest challenges with presenting technical information is not overloading the listener with too many details. You need to make sure to focus on your core message and what it is you want your audience to understand.
And you should avoid using technical jargon or buzzwords at all costs. Not only will this cause most people to tune you out, but others may also view it as condescending.
4. Use visuals whenever you can
65% of people are visual learners, so you should try to use visuals whenever possible. This is especially true if you need to use a lot of data to illustrate your point.
Use slides, images, charts, graphics, and other visual aids that will help you explain your point and keep your audience engaged.
5. Adjust your presentations as you go
Don’t feel bad if you don’t get this exactly right the first time. It may take time to fine-tune your message and learn effective communication strategies.
The best way to adjust your presentation is by asking your audience for feedback. And take notice of any blank stares or puzzled looks so you know what concepts people are having the most difficulty understanding.
Finally, don’t be afraid to learn from more advanced speakers. It may help to watch other presenters talk about technical or complex topics. Seeing how they build their message and break down these concepts could help you improve as well.
Convincing key stakeholders to invest in AP automation takes a lot of research and patience. But without their support, you won’t have much luck implementing this technology in your company.
Make sure you understand your audience first and what their business goals are. And make sure to focus on the benefits and provide clear, actionable data that will resonate with them.