• Date(s)

  • Offered
    • In-Person
    • Online
    • On-Site


Electric cooperatives are highly technical organizations. Co-op staff often need to relay complex information to audiences unfamiliar with the subject matter, such as boards and consumer-members. Whether the communication occurs in a board room, in the community, or in a written report, the challenge is to present the technical information so that a non-technical audience can understand it. Regardless of whether the subject matter is engineering, finance/accounting, cyber-security, public safety or government regulations, this course provides practical techniques and tools for communicating effectively with those who have limited technical knowledge or experience.

Participants will learn to recognize their natural “tech-speak” tendencies and then learn approaches for relaying complex technical concepts clearly—without patronizing or alienating their audience. This course provides a practical process as well as tools for planning and delivering a technical presentation to a non-technical audience.

Learning Objectives

After completing the course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the technologies and language specific to their role at the cooperative.
  • Recognize when they lapse into “tech-speak” and develop skills for avoiding it.
  • Communicate as subject matter experts in a manner that educate others without condescension.
  • Monitor their body language and other non-verbal communication to ensure they are conveying empathy rather than frustration and impatience.
  • Plan for and deliver effective technical presentations (both oral and written) for specific purposes that meet the audience’s needs.
  • Effectively use PowerPoint presentations, graphics, stories, video clips and other visual tools to make complex information clearer.
  • Recognize the signs of when the audience is lost or frustrated and create a safe learning experience that ensures people really understand.
  • Use facilitation techniques for ensuring audience understanding.
  • Communicate effectively about technical subjects to cooperative boards and consumer-members.
  • Adapt their communication approach to keep the information clear and concise.

Key Topics

  • What’s technical about an electric cooperative to a non-techie
  • Informational needs and interests of board members and member-consumers
  • Replacing acronyms with more familiar terms and defining those that are critical to know
  • Recognizing your co-op’s technical realms and the related “tech-speak”
  • Using elevator pitch principles to quickly communicate technical information
  • Controlling the tendency to overexplain
  • Using audience-driven Q&A to provide additional technical understanding
  • Planning and preparing technical presentations for specific purposes to different non-technical audiences
  • Effective use of visuals to simplify complex technical information

Leadership skills assessment

Dran from the Electrc Cooperative Employee Competencies, our Leadership Skills Assessment was designed to help you understand which of NRECA's supervisory, management and leadership courses and events may be most appropriate for you. Learn more.

Certificate Program

Supervisor and Manager Development Program

  • NRECA – 1 credit
  • CEU – .6 credits





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