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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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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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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How to Communicate Like a Negotiator in 3 Steps

Although this blog has focused exclusively thus far on how to communicate in a presentation setting, there are times when having the skills to communicate in a back and forth discussion are extremely helpful. Being competent in skills such as negotiation, debate, and communication, is helpful when working large groups that have varied interests. Negotiation, however, usually gets a bad rap in most people’s view. The common sentiment is that people who negotiate are usually rude and confrontational. Imagine talking with some pushy salesperson trying to

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8 Tips to Help Communicate a Controversial Topic

Many people tend to shy away from speaking about controversial topics, fearing that the audience will not receive the message well, or that conflict and confrontation will arise.  Although sometimes communicating a controversial topic can cause the audience to respond in a negative way, it doesn’t mean that the only outcome is conflict. When you find yourself needing to communicate a controversial topic, using methods that promote open minded, positive discussion will go a long way to diffuse any conflicts. In

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Building Trust, Collaboration, and Understanding, Through Communication

Getting your message across is important, but what happens when you want the audience to do something with that message? If you are presenting in a workshop or special session you may want the audience to interact with you, join a community, retain and use the new information, or be inspired to contribute to the overall subject matter. When your goal is to have greater interaction with the audience, you will need to consider questions such as; what is the take home message? How

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Focusing on the Audience’s Needs, 4 Common Problems in Public Speaking

Determining the needs of your audience can feel like a daunting task. There are many things to take into consideration, such as; are you presenting to like-minded professionals? Is this a public outreach event? Does the audience know any of the subject matter?  What age group is the audience? Is the audience full of native speakers of your language, or not? Is jargon going to confuse most of the audience?  And the list goes on and on. However, just because audience consideration

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