|I just want to clarify that|
My Little Pony used to
look like this.
Here at New Voices, we are huge fans of science communication and the sub-type of communication known as advocacy, so throughout the month we'll be sharing examples of great science communication to help all of us on our journey to become more effective communicators and advocates for research.
What makes this a great jumping off point? Most of us got our first experiences speaking in front of groups in classrooms, and regardless of where we're speaking now, the same general rules apply:
- Speak to your audience. Know who you're talking to, and find something that will be interesting to your target demographic; whether that's sports, a movie, a TV show, or a local legend. Be sure to take the time to mention the pertinent details (ex.: "ponies fall a lot") that way anyone who isn't as intimately familiar with the example can follow along, too.
- Talk about what you know. If you choose to make an analogy to driving a motorcycle, and you've never actually ridden one, you're not doing your presentation justice.You will be the best at talking (and responding to questions!) about the things you're most familiar with.
- Make it a dialogue. If you get a question or comment mid-presentation, respond. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away. Laughter and heckling only gets bad when you don't take it in stride.
- Work through any trouble spots. Your technology might not work. It may not even be plugged in. But if you don't make a big deal out of it, chances are, no one else will either. Not wasting time repeatedly apologizing for video delays or technological hiccups will keep you on your presentation rhythm and your audience engaged.
- Be confident. You know more about your topic than probably anyone else in the room. If that wasn't the case, you probably wouldn't be the person everyone came to hear in the first place.
We may not be magic ponies, but your New Voices compatriots are here to support you in your endeavors, too. Drop us a line in the comments or by email if you have questions about effective communication.