Monday, March 2, 2009

Being a Spokesperson

Last week, we commented a little on being a spokesperson for science. Being a spokesperson for science is great, but being a good spokesperson for science is even better. Which is why we'll look to communications expert Leonard Steinhorn, a former professor of mine at American University. In a 1998 article*, he stated that to be a good spokesperson you must "evoke trust, not politics." To make that possible, a spokesperson must be:

1. Credible (on the issue)
2. Non-partisan (or above the fray)
3. Uncontroversial
4. Dedicated (to the cause)
5. NOT self-serving

Over the next month we'll go over why these are important characteristics of a scientific spokesperson in particular. Are there any other major points you think should be added to the list?

*"The Clinton Health Care Plan: What Went Wrong" by Leonard Steinhorn. From Jerry A. Hendrix, Public Relations Cases, 4th edition.

This is Part 2 of the New Voices series on being a spokesperson for science.

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