Can you translate information to a vivid message? (if not, the sharks will die)

Great communicators can translate information into vivid messages.

They have the skills to assess a situation and translate the information in ways that a particular audience can relate to.


Technical presentation example

While on holidays a few years ago I met a man who made his fortune with a company that builds aquariums. $20 million dollar aquariums. I asked him what his role was. He paused and said, ‘Basically I’m a translator.” I asked him what he meant and he shared the following illustration.

There are 3 important people in this story:

  • The technical people (who design and build the aquariums – and understand technical limitations)
  • The client (who wants the aquarium to look fantastic to draw more customers)
  • The translator (our hero who uses various titles. He understands both points of view)

Here’s how a client meeting went:

Client: We want the sharks swimming in a tube over the top of the customers. This will look spectacular.

Technical guy: There are limitations to what we can do. It’s an issue of fluid dynamics, blah, technical blah…

Client: Hey, we have a $25 million budget, we want the sharks in a tube.

Technical guy: Umm, but fluid dynamics…

Client: Just do it!

The Translator: It might look spectacular but if we build it like that the sharks will die.


Client (to translator): Oh. Thank you. What do you recommend?

From that point on the client sought out the advice of our hero because he can not only translate the ideas from the technical team, but can also communicate the needs of the client to the people who design and build the aquariums. He’s seen as a leader with great wisdom – and adds the most value to the business relationship.

Are you a good translator? (The vivid SpeechOutline template is designed to assist with the objective thinking needed to be a good translator).


If you’d like to develop your persuasive speaking skills, consider:

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