Concept

How to Explain a Concept? 8 Simple Ideas for Concept Explanation

How do you explain a concept or idea to people in an easy-to-understand way?

Every person has experienced the frustration of trying to explain something and having your audience not get it. This is especially true when you are explaining complex concepts like technical topics, business ideas, or new products.

How to explain a concept is a question we needs to find out the answer. Discovering how to use analogies, metaphors, and stories for better understanding.

How to explain a concept

Explain a concept
Explain a concept

Perhaps you know how it feels like when there was something that is very hard to understand, and what is even more difficult than understanding itself, is trying to explain this concept to other people.

Other people often find the same concepts very easy to grasp but for you, explaining them might require too much effort.

Perhaps you are an introvert or just someone who likes to keep things private, or you are just becoming accustomed with the idea that some concepts are difficult to understand.

One of the problems is that people often give up too early on explaining their ideas to others. They might lose patience or they got tired explaining themselves after a few tries.

This is bad because it makes the other party think that you were not able to explain it properly and perhaps, there was no point in trying to explain it in the first place.

Explain a complex concept

What if you want to explain a concept which is complex and not everyone might be able to grasp it easily? Well, there are some things we can try out to make sure we explained our concepts clearly.

One of the most important thing is to start explaining yourself slowly by using simple words. Don’t talk above their heads because this will also make them give up trying to understand what you are saying.

Another thing is that if you don’t know how to explain it, try asking the other party questions like “can you help me out here?” or “does this make sense?”.

If they understand what you are saying, then congratulations! You were able to help them grasp a concept.

If the other party does not understand what you are saying then it is time to take another approach. It might be that your explanation did not work out because you did not use the right language to describe your ideas.

Describe the concept to make it clear

Describe the concept to make it clear
Describe the concept to make it clear

This is why it is important to work extra hard just so that other people can understand what you are saying. If you think the person you are explaining things to does not get your explanation, try rephrasing your words in different ways.

First of all, let us take a look at the idea that “expertise has no value to an audience that doesn’t understand it”. This idea is very important because it shows the value of expertise. If you are not able to explain what you know, then there is no point in knowing these things.

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As teachers and mentors, we sometimes forget that sharing our knowledge with others will lead to better learning process for them if they can learn to appreciate the things we are trying to teach them.

The next important thing is, don’t forget that there is a difference between understanding and memorizing. This is also one of the biggest problems to explain a concept to someone.

Some people tend to think that if they cannot understand something on the first go, it means they got it wrong and should memorize the process until they can get the concept and put it in their head.

But if you think about it, there is a difference between understanding and memorizing because we might memorize things without really having an idea on what we are putting in our heads.

8 Tips for explaining a concept

Understand

The first thing you should do is to understand your audience. Who are you talking to? Is he/she a beginner or an expert? You cannot explain the same way that you explain to beginners if your audience consists of experts, right? It is important that you have at least an idea about the level of expertise of your listeners.

The second important thing you need to understand is, never underestimate your capacity of explaining things. By underestimating the ability that you have, it makes will make you feel like giving up or not even trying in the first place.

Remember that whatever ideas are stuck in your head can be understandable by someone else. You might need to explain it in a more simple way but you can do it if you put an effort into it.

Just like how you cannot expect the person who is listening to understand things in one try, be patient and allow yourself to fully focus on giving enough time

Define your terms

Always be careful with your words and terms to use. If you’re going to explain a concept, make sure it is clearly defined, don’t give a complex definition of a simple idea.

Break the term into parts if necessary but try to keep things as simple as possible. You can always expand details later on depending on what your audience wants to know.

For example, if you are planning to explain the word ‘Awareness’, don’t give it a definition like this “Awareness is the quality or state of being aware of something”. Instead try this one: “Awareness means having knowledge about something that is happening around us.”.

Classify your concept

Breaking down your concepts into smaller chunks would be very helpful. For example, if you want to explain the concept of ‘spending’, don’t just say that spending is choosing to spend money on something or giving it away. Try saying this: Spending can be divided into two types; investment and expenditure.

This is not a secret; the simpler you explain something, the easier it is for your audience to understand. So if you’re trying to explain something that has too many details and components, try dividing it into two or even three different concepts instead of giving one concept with all those complicated details.

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Comparation

One good way of explaining a concept is to compare it to other concepts. If we are talking about the meaning and how it relates to something else, you need to know and understand both sides in order to make a proper comparison.

You can’t just say that ‘Awareness’ means knowledge or having awareness about things happening around us without comparing it to other concepts.

You can explain that awareness is different from being informed which entails having knowledge about something that happened in the past, while awareness are for things happenning now.

While you are explaining a certain concept make sure that you are not just focusing on the concept itself, but also how it relates to other concepts. You can’t just explain one side of it and expect people to fully understand.

For example, if we are talking about awareness as mentioned above, you need to know why is it important and how would it benefit your audience. Awareness, for example, is a concept that many people have come to appreciate because of its benefits.

By being aware about current happenings, you can prepare yourself from the worst scenario or prevent it from happening in the first place.

Give examples of how your concept is similar or different from other which is more simple to the audience.

Give an example to illustrate the concept

Give an example to illustrate the concept
Give an example to illustrate the concept

Explain a concept step-by-step with an example.

For example the concept of a “greenhouse effect” is best described by this example:

Imagine you left a car out in the sun with its windows rolled up, and once some time had passed you came back to check on it. What would be different? The inside of the car would have gotten hotter—a clear sign that solar radiation was being trapped by the car’s glass windows, which prevent it from escaping back into space.

The same thing happens to Earth when greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (like carbon dioxide and methane) trap solar radiation that would otherwise escape freely into space.

The concept of a greenhouse effect can be explained best by this example: Imagine you left your car out in the sun and with its windows rolled up, and once some time had passed you came back to check it.

What would be different? The inside of your car would have gotten hotter- a clear sign that solar radiation was being trapped by the car’s glass windows, which prevent it from escaping back into space.

Illustrate with examples how this concept can be applied to other areas of life

For an analogy to work well, it’s important that we choose the right broad principle. For example when Einstein tried explaining relativity theory in just a few words: “It is really difficult for people whose current knowledge level doesn’t match mine…,”

Then decided on an example from real life – like how someone might go about removing money directly without weapons (which would be awkward). So they disguise themselves first by wearing clothes with guards at vulnerable parts of their body such as arms or legs.

Show Causes or Effects

Another illustrative technique is to use a familiar or existing object as the comparison, in order test and build toward comprehending new concepts. For example: fluid vs water; white compared with milk?

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No way! Feathers are lighter than air so when you see them floating around it’s hard not wonder what makes these things go up rather than just sitting on top of each other like everyone else does at school during morning break time .

Swan would always be known globally for being elegant creatures but if we were talking about an updated version Windows graphical user interface (GUI), then maybe something more modern might come into play such as metal
Fluid has little resistance against gravity which means that though spilled drinks may stay where they land there’ll probably never be much

Compare the concept to familiar ones

Another illustrative technique is to use a familiar or existing object as the comparison, in order test and build toward comprehending new concepts. For example: fluid vs water; white compared with milk?

No way! Feathers are lighter than air so when you see them floating around it’s hard not wonder what makes these things go up rather than just sitting on top of each other like everyone else does at school during morning break time .

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