First principles of communication, science-specific or otherwise, require both a transmitter of information and a receiver. And if you are to be successful then it’s vital to create – and maintain – a connection between the two. The internet contains almost all of the information in the history of our species. But if you can’t connect to it, you get nothing!
But why is it so dang hard to connect with audiences?
- Sadly, your content is seen as uninteresting to 99.5% of our species
- Because Kanye TikTok’ed the Queen into Morgan Wallen’s Australian apartment and your audience’s attention is overwhelmed by constant, competing stimuli
- You’ve had precious little training
- You chose the sciences in part so you wouldn’t have to connect with people because it’s uncomfortable and awkward!
So you struggle for tips and techniques and those are so dang hard to execute! I want to help.
I come from a 30 year career in the entertainment industry. And I’ve learned a lot about how to engage audiences which I love to share with my science friends. But there’s no alchemy to transfer these skills. You must do the work to learn and utilize some of the best practices of connecting with people.
So I invite you to consider the following suggestions and follow up with training to bolster what might work for you.
“Story! Story! I’m tired of hearing about Story!”
I know. Suggestions to use stories to help you convey data are approaching the level of overkill. But! Science backs the idea that humans learn more easily through stories than any recitation of facts. So Story is your friend. Narrative structure makes your content more accessible. Learn to use it.
And for your audience to trust you enough to be affected by your information, they must relate to you. And the best way to relate to any human is to show that you are – in some ways – just like them. But the demands of scientists to be objective, rational and dispassionate prevent most audiences from connecting with you. So to effectively spread the word about your science, you must reveal yourself to be human. You do so by – stay with me through this scary part – expressing some emotion.
Not frantic, frenetic or hysterical. Just normal human emotions. This will connect you with your audience much more than if you are seen as robotic, condescending or boring. Which is how traditional modes of scicomm are often perceived.
If a gene doesn’t “express” by creating its proteins (or whatever it is genes do), it is considered suboptimal. If you don’t express some human emotions, your communication will remain suboptimal.
Both of these are easy to say but hard to do. So avail yourself to some of the
Science Talk programs to help you. Because if your information is not communicated effectively, it has very little chance of making any sort of real difference in the world.