In today’s fast-paced technological landscape, understanding complex concepts is paramount to staying ahead of the curve. However, jargon and complex language act as gatekeepers and often make these ideas seem daunting and difficult to grasp. This can be especially challenging for neurodivergent individuals and others who may struggle with complex and overwhelming language.
In a recent conversation with Miriam Weiss, a technical writer at Red Hat, she explained how she is driven by the belief that no one should have to struggle to understand something. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of breaking down barriers and the role technical writers can play in helping companies present their ideas and complex information in an easy way.
The Gatekeeping Element: A Barrier to Understanding
Like academia, with its abundance of research papers and dense academic writing, the jargon and complex language of Hi-Tech can inadvertently create a barrier that prevents many individuals from fully comprehending important ideas.
The use of convoluted language, elaborate/long paragraphs, and overused terminology often overshadow the essence of the core idea. As a result, people who could greatly benefit from knowing what’s going on and how these concepts impact their lives may feel excluded or overwhelmed.
The Perils Vague Concepts
In addition, in an effort to sell products or services, many companies use buzzwords and vague concepts that sound impressive but lack substance. These empty promises can leave people feeling unsure about what they are truly trying to achieve or how to navigate complex processes.
Empathy for the Struggles of Others
As Miriam noted, technical writers strive to bridge the gap between complex ideas and practical understanding.
They try to ensure that no one has to experience the frustration and confusion that comes from being overloaded with intricate information.
If executives and leaders can empathize with this struggle they may find it easier to simplify and clarify complex concepts, making them accessible to a wider audience.
Learn from your Technical Writers: Simplifying the Complex
Your technical writers can play a pivotal role in helping demystify complex ideas. – both for external and for internal audiences.
They have the unique ability to understand intricate concepts and translate them into clear, concise, and accessible language.
If leaders learn from tech writers about breaking down complex ideas into manageable pieces, they will empower individuals to confidently apply these concepts in their work or daily lives.
Through their expertise in writing and communication, technical writers can act as guides, helping leaders create documents and emails that are easy to navigate and understand.
By creating content that is easy to understand and implement, leadership can empower individuals to grasp complex ideas without feeling overwhelmed or excluded.
What’s more leaders will have the satisfaction of knowing that their words can make a positive impact on someone’s learning journey.
Understanding complex ideas should not be an exclusive privilege limited to a select few.
The gatekeeping element of jargon in academia and hi-tech adds unnecessary hurdles.
Technical writers should be utilized for more than writing to the end-user. They can serve as beacons of clarity, breaking down barriers by meticulously crafting content that is both informative and accessible for internal communication as well.
Leaders who embrace empathy and prioritizing the needs of their audience should look to their technical writers to ensure that no one is left struggling to understand something they send out.
Let us strive for a future where complex ideas are demystified, empowering individuals from all backgrounds to thrive in the ever-evolving hi-tech world.
Note: The content of this blog post is inspired by a conversation between Dr. D. Leitner and Miriam Weiss about technical writing and the challenges of understanding complex concepts in hi-tech industries.