In this latest piece for the Future Shapers, I’ve rounded up some of the topics I touched on in my Bristech talk to discuss how we might get across complex ideas in the most effective way.
It’s a difficult problem and one I’m still exploring as I work with organisations communicating about technology and change, so watch this space for more posts on the topic.
The art and science of communicating complex ideas
By all accounts F.E. Smith, a famous 19th century barrister and then Lord Chancellor, was a bit of a character. He had a reputation as a gifted orator and wit (and also a hard drinker).
One of his famous court exchanges concerns a judge who, after listening to Smith hold forth on a complex subject at length, said to him: ‘I’ve listened to you for an hour and I’m none the wiser.’
To which Smith replied: ‘None the wiser perhaps my lord, but certainly better informed.’
I often think about F.E.’s sly dig at the judge, as increasingly the world is a place where we are not just none the wiser, but also not terribly well informed, despite a deluge of information. The phrase ‘post-truth’ seems on the face of it to be a damning indictment of a world gone mad, where it is hard to communicate effectively about any topic that includes an element of complexity.