Communicating Complicated Technical Information to the Public:
E = mc˛ Made Simple

     The Theory of Relativity made a big bang in the physics world during the early 1900s. Physicists and astronomers understood immediately, but the common folk of turn-of-the-century America had a harder time calculating the equation. Albert Einstein had a difficult task - how to make E = mc˛ understandable.

     Today, corporate CEOs and Human Resources managers face the same dilemma. If the message is weighted with jargon, legalese or corporate-speak, it gets lost. Here are some tips for effectively communicating technical information:

  • Know your reader - not everyone is an astrophysicist.
  • Say what you mean - use a clear, conversational style in place of formal, technical language. An informal, relaxed tone adds clarity to your work:
    • Formal: The departmental managers assembled to strategize future operations.
    • Informal: The division heads held a planning meeting.
  • Spare the jargon - technical terms are helpful when communicating within a specific profession, but confuse readers outside of the profession.
  • Keep it brief - short sentences are easier to grasp and hold the reader's attention. (HINT: Write sentences that can be spoken aloud without losing your breath.)
  • Seeing is believing - drawings, graphs and photos reinforce the text.
  • Get active - active sentences are easier to understand, more concise and more direct than passive:
    • Active - Einstein developed the Theory of Relativity.
    • Passive - The Theory of Relativity was developed by Einstein.

     Whether it's explaining the density of a black hole or your company's new HMO plan, Berry Associates can help you formulate your own theory of effective communication.