How to explain a complex topic in simple terms

Often leaders need to explain intricate or weighty subjects in a clear, understandable way. In those moments, strong writing skills are paramount. You don’t want to confuse people when you try to break down a difficult topic. On the flip side, employees will appreciate how you simplified the issue and, in doing so, valued their time and attention.

Here’s an example.

Subject line: Why we decided to change healthcare companies

Hi everyone,

I know there are rumblings in the office about why we chose to switch health care providers.

The decision had a lot of moving parts so I will explain everything the simplest way I can.

Our previous health care plan had become too costly so we initially hired a consultant, Brad Sherwood, to evaluate next steps.

We then learned Brad was financially invested in one health care option, Acme Health, and could not rely on him for an objective assessment.

We almost chose to stay with our current situation but at the last minute learned of a new provider, Acme Choice Plus, which offered stronger coverage for maternity care than what we had.

Through employee feedback, we know maternity care is priority #1.

After weighing the numbers, we opted for Acme Choice Plus. With health care, there is no perfect choice, but we believe we have made the most prudent decision for our employees and the bottom line.

Thanks for your understanding. If you have specific questions about the health care plan, please reach out to Ron Sanchez, head of HR, at [phone] or [email].

– Leader’s first name

Deeper insight

Notice the two tactics that make the complex issue understandable.

Short sentences: There are no bulky paragraphs so it’s easier to follow the email all the way to the end.

One foot in front of the other: The leader explains what took place step by step without wandering off on a tangent or losing focus. Rather, the leader tells the team what happened in a straightforward, untangled way.

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