When you are communicating a new idea, attention is scarce. The easiest way to get your audience to understand what you are explaining in the simplest way possible is to use a schema (defined as a mental structure we use to organize and simplify our knowledge of the world around us). Another way to think of this is using an anchor and a twist (for example, the movie Speed was pitched as Die Hard on a bus or the movie Alien was pitched as Jaws in Space).
Once upon a time people couldn’t grasp the concept of the personal computer and the possibilities of what it could do. Steve Jobs had always dreamed that a computer could be something everyone used at home and explained it with this now famous anchor and twist:
“What a computer is to me is it’s the most remarkable tool that we’ve ever come up with, and it’s the equivalent of a bicycle for our minds.”
The next time you have a complicated idea that you are having trouble explaining, think about how you can anchor it to something people already know and twist it by adding something new.