Building credibility and communicating science

In this day and age, we often have major debates about credibility, reliable sources, and discerning the factual truth. The trouble is that listening, watching, or reading scientific information requires that both the consumer of the information or audience use critical thinking skills to determine credibility and accuracy. Now more than ever, the need for credibility and trust between an expert (scientist) and their audience is paramount to be able to transmit information and ideas clearly. However, increasingly as consumers

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Passion versus Purpose

We are often encouraged, particularly when we are young, to find our passion and follow it to greatness. The traditionally held logic is that if we do what we love success and money will follow. However, commonly as we grow older we come a conclusion that our passion isn’t realistic, or simply not an endeavor worth pursuing.  Having a passion is no doubt a driver to do more, be better you and make a mark on the world. However following raw passion without

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The Power of Silence

We have all been there when, sitting in the audience confounded as a speaker is blasting us with information or speaking a mile a minute because they are nervous. The result of a presentation like this, is that everyone gets lost and loses interested. When speaking in public the most successful speakers use all the tools at their disposal to captivate an audience and convey information. And one of the most powerful of these tools is actually not what is said, but

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Using Tension to Communicate Your Story

Have you ever wondered why some movies, books or television shows can be so enthralling while others are seemingly uninteresting? One reason why we get so hooked on a story is because of suspense. The stories that we most often enjoy have an moment where the final outcome can go either way, and we become emotionally invested in that outcome. During the build up of conflicts in the story we identify with the characters and think of ourselves in that situation. 3 Often

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Communicating in a Classroom Setting

Until now I have only been addressing public speaking and communication as a means to disseminate information through a one way conversation. For example, when on stage communicating in a public setting, there is not much opportunity for audience participation. The expert is telling a story and conveying information, while the audience listens passively. In these cases generally the only feedback from the audience is nonverbal facial expressions and gestures. There might be time for a few questions at the end,

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Why Every Presentation You Give is Different

Throughout our careers as scientists, science communicators and public speakers, we may be asked to give many different  types of presentations. Each time we speak it is a unique experience with different audiences and different venues. In fact your audience will perceive your presentation differently based on who they are, their level of engagement and level of education. There is a lot more going on behind the scenes between you and your audience than just the words that are spoken. We are constantly

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Effective Time Management for Science Communication

Having a good sense of time management is more than just being under the allotted time and allowing the audience to ask questions. It is about making sure the flow and meter of what you present connects with the audience. It is also about planning beforehand and making sure that you are covering your topic in an efficient manner. Being good at time management is more than just numbers, it is a formula that will make your presentation successful. In this post we

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Crafting the Right Presentation for Your Style of Science Communication

When tasked with designing a presentation for an upcoming speaking engagement, it can feel like a monumental task. Often many of us are tempted to rehash an old presentation into the new format needed and not worry too much about the content. This is a problematic way of thinking, since you are giving up the opportunity to improve on your previous work. For example, no self respecting scientist would rehash a old publication showing nearly the same work and call it an original paper,

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Finding Your Voice as a Science Communicator

Whether you work in the private industry or in the academic world, being able to communicate well is important. However, many people feel anxious or develop fear about speaking in public, which causes a them to sound shaky or unsure of themselves. If you are just starting out in the realm of public speaking, you may be struggling to establish your style, overcome the fear, and find your voice while presenting. Establishing a clear style that you identify with which helps create a

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How to Communicate Science Using a Story Arc

Often times when presenting or speaking in a science communication setting, people feel compelled to use the format of a peer reviewed paper. The traditional, introduction, methods, results/discussion, and conclusion are suitable for the written word, however is not the best choice for the medium of public speaking. The main problem is that the written word can be reviewed, reread, and contemplated at the reader’s own pace. Where as, in a presentation the audience must keep up with the speaker or they

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