10 Steps to a Truly Horrible Explanation

Step 1.  Forget about your audience’s needs. Their needs don’t matter. Your job isn’t to help them, it’s to make yourself look smart.  This is all about you. 

Step 2. Make tons of assumptions. Assume everyone in the room knows exactly what you know or more. Find ways to save time by skipping the big picture and context. Head straight for the details.
Step 3. Use lots of jargon and unfamiliar words. Since everyone in the room knows what you know, you can feel free to be loquacious in your articulations and not be concerned with eschewing obfuscation.
Step 4. Speak directly to the experts. Remember that the only way to look good is to impress the experts in the room. If other people can’t keep up, it’s probably because they’re not very bright.
Step 5.  Focus on one question: “how?” No one cares about why an idea makes sense or why they should care - they only want to know how it works. Be as detailed as possible.
Step 6. Don’t use analogies or metaphors. These are shortcuts for dolts that only serve to remove technical accuracy.  You’re better than that. Get real!
Step 7. Skip the stories.  Are you sitting around a campfire?  Are people holding hands? If not, then you can forget about story time. No one wants to hear about some fictional character who solves a problem. You might as well do interpretive dance.
Step 8. Bullet points, lots of bullet points. Your slides don’t matter. If the audience needs a visual aid they can close their eyes and dream of rainbows and unicorns. Your words are what matters, so use a lot of them.  Extra points for big ones (see step 3).
Step 9. Never draw anything ever. Cartoons are for kids. You’re an expert not a preschool teacher. 
Step 10. Focus on speed. You have a lot to say and you’ll never get it all in unless you go very quickly. Talk fast, move fast, be efficient.  If they can’t keep up, that’s their problem.

NOTE: If you're interested in learning in-depth about the skill of explanation and how to make Common Craft Style videos, check out our online courses at the Explainer Academy.