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How do you explain complicated concepts to those who may not understand?

9 Answer Examples

By: Rachelle Enns

How to Answer

The interviewer wants to know that you are capable of explaining complex ideas without being condescending to your co-workers or talking over their heads. Give the interviewer an example of how you break down information to make it more easily digestible for the average person.

Think of a presentation about a complex topic, as a proposal to solve a challenging problem. The solution may seem obvious to you, but everyone else in the room is scratching their heads trying to figure out what you're saying. When you can define key terms and phrases to make them more relevant to your audience, you have skill! Not everyone can do this. Prepare an example that demonstrates your communication skills and your ability to convey complex information in easy to understand terms.

Professional Answer Examples
General
Answer example

"I find that when there is a complicated concept to teach, visual aids are always the way to go. Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners and that presentations with visual components are 43% more persuasive? I took a course on creating effective info-graphics and will often implement those in my presentations."

Admin
Answer example

"Keep it simple silly! If you cannot explain a concept simply, then you do not understand it well enough. I recently rolled out a complex compensation plan with many anomalies. I took the approach to share a broad overview and provide detail for reference. I often try to make analogies or share complex information in the form of a story."

Manager
Answer example

"I try to use written and verbal examples. If possible, I like to have hands-on examples, but that is not always feasible. Communicating in more than one way helps those with different learning styles."

Marketing
Answer example

"I often have to explain things to others outside of marketing, the how and the why, but not get stuck in the minutiae. It comes down to keeping it simple and talking in their terms while remembering what motivates them: sales, operations, or what have you. Keep it short and sweet. We can dive in in further detail later, but just give an overview that plays to their interests and move on."

Retail
Answer example

"If a concept is difficult to explain, or understand, I will find visual aids to help. Most people are visual learners who will better understand if they see the concept in action."

Sales
Answer example

"I find the best way to explain a topic is a multifaceted approach. If possible, I like to send a quick email memo summarizing or teasing what we'll be talking about, so the team comes in with the right mindset. Then, a quick overview in person, check for understanding or questions. I then recap and summarize or clarify, followed by asking for another summary of what we've discussed from another teammate. Then, I wrap up clarifying any outstanding issues. Following this, I send out an email blast that summarizes what we talked about, the questions asked, and asking for feedback or questions. This process allows for various types of learners to be engaged, and I find that giving collateral to review later is impactful to all. We all need a quick reminder sometimes."

Teacher
Answer example

"This one's easy. I have to target my language to 8-year-olds every single day. Just break it down in simple terms and give them more credit than you initially want to. If you can't explain it to a kid, you may not understand it as well as you think."

Biomedical Technician
Answer example

"I abide by the KISS rule - Keep It Simple Silly! If you cannot explain a concept simply, then you do not understand it well enough. I recently rolled out a complex manual with many anomalies. I took the approach to share a broad overview and provide detail for reference. I often try to make analogies or share complex information in the form of a story."

Academic Advisor
Answer example

"I find that when there is a complicated concept to teach, visual aids are always the way to go. Did you know that 65% of people are visual learners and that presentations with visual components are 43% more persuasive? I took a course on creating effective info-graphics and will often implement those in my presentations."

Written by:

Rachelle Enns
Rachelle Enns is an executive head-hunter and job search expert. Utilized by top executives from Fortune 100 & 500 companies like Fitbit, Microsoft, General Electric, Nestle, and more, she helps professionals position themselves in a competitive marketplace. Rachelle founded Renovate My Resume, a company that focuses on helping job seekers get their edge back. Renovate My Resume creates stand-out resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and professional summaries for new grads, all the way to corporate executives. Rachelle spends much of her time training career coaches, recruiters, and resume writers. She also holds interview workshops for students and interns, globally. For great tips and tricks, follow Rachelle on Instagram @_rachelle_e or @renovatemyresume.
First written on: 08/10/2016
Last modified on: 06/29/2018

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