You are previewing The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand.
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The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand

Book Description

Your guide to becoming an explanation specialist.

You've done the hard work. Your product or service works beautifully - but something is missing. People just don't see the big idea - and it's keeping you from being successful. Your idea has an explanation problem.

The Art of Explanation is for business people, educators and influencers who want to improve their explanation skills and start solving explanation problems.

Author Lee LeFever is the founder of Common Craft, a company known around the world for making complex ideas easy to understand through short animated videos. He is your guide to helping audiences fall in love with your ideas, products or services through better explanations in any medium.

You will learn to:

  • Plan: Learn explanation basics, what causes them to fail and how to diagnose explanation problems.

  • Package: Using simple elements, create an explanation strategy that builds confidence and motivates your audience.

  • Present: Produce remarkable explanations with visuals and media.

The Art of Explanation is your invitation to become an explanation specialist and see why explanation is now a fundamental skill for professionals.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. Title Page
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Preface
    1. Part 1: Plan
    2. Part 2: Package
    3. Part 3: Present
  6. Author Note
  7. Introduction
  8. Part 1: Plan
    1. Chapter 1: Learning to Run
    2. Chapter 2: What Is an Explanation?
      1. What Is Not An Explanation
      2. Defining Explanation
      3. Explanations Require Empathy
      4. Act and Art
      5. Look at Your Fish
      6. Explanation Lowers the Cost of Understanding
      7. An Explanation Is a Way to Package Ideas
      8. Explanations Answer the Question “Why?”
      9. Explanations Make People Care
    3. Chapter 3: Why Explanations Fail
      1. All About Confidence
      2. Assumptions Cause Failure
      3. Words Can Hurt
      4. We Lack Understanding
      5. We Want to Appear Smart
      6. The Direct Approach—No Context
      7. Summary
    4. Chapter 4: Planning Your Explanations
      1. Identifying Explanation Problems
  9. Part 2: Package
    1. Chapter 5: Packaging Ideas
      1. Stepping Outside the Bubble
      2. What Goes into the Packaging?
    2. Chapter 6: Context
      1. Forest then Trees
      2. Solving the Context Problem
      3. Context in Explanation—We Can All Agree
      4. Context and Pain
      5. Example: Google Docs
      6. On the Explanation Scale
      7. Summary
    3. Chapter 7: Story
      1. Stories Versus Facts
      2. But I'm Not a Storyteller
      3. Common Craft and Stories
      4. The Simple Ingredient: People
      5. Using Stories in Explanation
      6. Basic Story Format
      7. When Does Storytelling Not Work?
      8. Personification and Story
      9. On the Explanation Scale
      10. Summary
    4. Chapter 8: Connections
      1. Connecting Your Long Lost Uncle—Old Versus New
      2. Building-on Versus Establishing
      3. Analogy
      4. Common Craft Videos
      5. On the Explanation Scale
      6. Summary
    5. Chapter 9: Description
      1. Explaining Web Browsers
      2. Explanation Is Not a Recipe
      3. On The Explanation Scale
      4. Summary
    6. Chapter 10: Simplification
    7. Chapter 11: Constraints
      1. Common Craft and Constraints
      2. Constraints and Your Explanations
      3. Summary
    8. Chapter 12: Preparing for and Writing an Explanation
      1. The Common Craft Writing Process
      2. Big Ideas
      3. Research and Discovery
      4. Script Writing
      5. The Real Thing
    9. Chapter 13: Bringing an Explanation Together
  10. Part 3: Present
    1. Chapter 14: Common Craft's Lessons Learned
      1. Common Craft Gets Started
      2. Ten Lessons Learned from Common Craft Explanations
    2. Chapter 15: Right Medium for the Message
      1. A Transformation
      2. Media Options
      3. Presentation Modes
      4. Recording and Distribution Options
      5. Constraints Come to the Rescue
      6. Summary
    3. Chapter 16: Visuals
      1. You Can Use Visuals
      2. Dan Roam's 6 × 6 Rule
      3. Common Craft Visual Metaphors
      4. Noise and Simplicity in Visuals
      5. Infographics
      6. Creating Digital Visuals
      7. Summary
    4. Chapter 17: Emma and Carlos
      1. Epilogue
    5. Chapter 18: Explanation Culture and Your Life as an Explainer
      1. Your Life as An Explainer
  11. Acknowledgments
  12. Links to Common Craft Videos
    1. Author Note
    2. Chapter 2
    3. Chapter 4
    4. Chapter 6
    5. Chapter 7
    6. Chapter 8
    7. Chapter 9
    8. Chapter 12
    9. Chapter 14
    10. Chapter 16
  13. About the Author
  14. Bibliography
  15. Index
  16. Advertisement