What’s your filter when you’re writing, for business or pleasure? As with many things, physical or digital, I find it often helps to put something through a filter to clean it and make it suitable for consumption.

I create a lot of content in the area of business software. Some of it is quite technical and some of the concepts are quite complex. I’m not technical and I sometimes find it hard to fathom technical stuff. I do complex well either, and I always strive for simple if I can. If you haven’t explained software in business terms for a business audience, you haven’t explained it properly.

So the filter I use is me. First of all I have to be sure that I can understand something. Someone has to be able to explain something new to me in a way that helps me understand it, without hiding behind jargons, TLAs or short cuts. If I don’t understand it, I ask a question to get an explanation I understand. If I understand it, then that’s half the battle.

Once I understand, I try to write it in a way that I would understand. I know that sounds silly when you read it that way. Sometimes, however, we can write about something without fully understanding what we’re writing. So I ask myself, ‘could I understand this if I was reading about it as a novice in this area?’

If it’s not understandable to me, I try and re-write it until it is. Of course, I’ll make mistakes and accurately convey a misunderstanding or else inaccurately describe something I understood correctly. But that’s why we do drafts, so we can get feedback and improve them.

My golden rule: if it’s understandable to me, it’s understandable to anyone.