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Improving Business Communications Between You and Your Non-Technical Clients

Improving Business Communications Between You and Your Non-Technical Clients

No matter what kind of business you operate, there’s a good chance that you occasionally (or perhaps frequently!) have to speak to clients and customers that just aren’t as technical as you–and it can cause some real communication problems.

Take an electronics store as an example. If someone comes in wanting to buy a phone and asks for your help, how do you communicate things? Do you tell them all about the technical specifications, or do you simplify things so that they can understand it in their own way? What happens when you oversimplify things, or if you find it hard to choose the right words used to describe certain concepts and features?

Communicating with non-technical clients and customers is hard, but we’ve got a couple of tips that will help you out.

Try to avoid common jargon that your clients might not understand

When you work in an industry long enough, a lot of jargon transfers over to your regular vocabulary. It not longer becomes “business” vocabulary because you use it so often, and most of the people you interact with (such as your employees or team members) know what you’re talking about. But once you come across a regular person who has no idea about your industry but knows what products they want, there’s a good chance that they won’t understand jargon or technical terms.

Thankfully, you can solve this in a couple of steps.

First, make sure you actually know what jargon you’re using. If you’ve been in an industry for a really long time, then there’s a good chance you can’t even tell what is or isn’t jargon anymore! A good way to start is to look up something like a construction glossary or a list of terms used in computer science and then check if you use any of them on a regular basis. Lots of people use jargon and technical terms without really thinking, so by having a large list of jargon in front of them, they can see which words generally aren’t considered common knowledge.

Once you’ve put together a list of these words, you have to try and understand them well enough so that you can explain them in alternate ways. For example, the word “Cloud” is often used in technology industries these days. Most people that you speak to who don’t work in technology (or who don’t have a passion for it)  won’t fully understand what it means. This means it’s your job to explain what Cloud means in the context of technology, and deliver it in a way that helps you promote your products and services.

Doing this can be tricky, especially if you aren’t fully aware of what the term means yourself. If you don’t think you have a good understanding of the jargon you use, then there’s no shame in doing a bit of research and homework to figure it out yourself. If you have other people on your team that do understand it, then you can always consult them for help as well. As long as you have a good understanding of the terms you use on a regular basis, you can start to break them down into easy-to-understand concepts that your clients and customers will have a much easier time understanding.


Analogies can help, but it’s important not to oversimplify things

Analogies are a fantastic aid for explaining things in simpler terms and concepts. If you can explain something in a way that uses references your clients and customers understand, then you’ll have a much easier time selling something.

However, you need to keep in mind that oversimplifying things can often lead to misunderstandings. This will ultimately lead to inaccurate expectations for your products and services, and this could lead to more problems in the future such as false advertising. So while it’s a great way to explain technical concepts with more familiar ideas, you have to be careful not to miss out important details that are relevant to your products and services.

Using visual aids can go a long way, if you make the right content

Visual aids are a fantastic tool for explaining certain concepts that your audience might not understand fully. Visual aids can include anything from a slideshow to a video or even some physical objects. For the last one in particular, creating models and drawing diagrams can be exceptionally helpful when explaining how something works.

But visual aids need to be made professionally when possible. Sure, a simple sketch or note can be enough when you’re just looking to explain something, but they can also harm your image and reputation. If you create your own educational materials and visual aids, it’ll be a much more reliable source of information that your clients and customers will appreciate.

If it’s hard to avoid using technical jargon, then creating a knowledgebase of information that is freely accessible can create a huge difference. For example, if your automated emails, website content, or even your dashboard contains a lot of technical terms for the sake of clarity and professionalism, then you can attempt to explain what those words mean with a glossary page or FAQ on your website. For more advanced users, you can even add a small question mark button next to complicated terms or pages that can show the definition of a word, making it a lot easier for your clients and customers to understand those technical terms sprinkled throughout your content.

Don’t forget that visual aids can help to digest a larger concept. People tend to have trouble learning multiple different new things at one time. So if you’re able to break down a complex subject into compact visual aids, your customers will be far more likely to partner with you in the future.

Encourage more communication and engagement with your clients and customers

Next, don’t be afraid to encourage more communication and engagement. For instance, if you’re in a meeting or have been communicating with clients and customers, drop a mention that you’d be happy to answer any questions that they may have. Doing this shows that you’re open to communicating and that you’re happy to answer any questions that the customer or client may have. It can also help establish you as an authority on the subject, and will help you gain a better understanding of why people buy your products and services.

Communication also involves listening. Actively listening to your audience and trying to understand their issues or concerns means you can better communicate your response and thus provide better customer service. Pay close attention to your customers when they have an issue, and ask how you can fix or explain something before you start speaking. This will help you formulate a coherent response, and also show that you value their input.

Another tip is to try and personalize communication whenever possible. One of the most difficult things about starting your own business is building a team that offers specialized support. But when you’ve settled down and are able to create a comprehensive support platform for customers and clients, you can start offering personalized communication with different levels of technicality.

For clients that you’ve worked with for years and are fluent in industry jargon, you can explain things with more technical detail. But if it’s a new client that doesn’t quite understand the industry, then you’ll know that your messages have to be easier to understand and contain fewer technical terms.

Join the discussion!