Thursday, July 21, 2011


From the vault on February 1, 2008

In New Voices we talk about research and about communicating it.  But, as Michael Tobis brings up in his recent post at Wired Science, sometimes we are advocating the types of changes even we may not be making.  He discusses his ideas for counteracting global climate change in the context of his inability to counteract his obesity.

As a science communicator, when we make recommendations, they need to be things we are sure to be doing (or would be willing to do) ourselves; for a number of reasons.
  1. We're sure they actually work, because we've done it.
  2. Personal examples are the most compelling.  In every possible form of communication, a story, quote, or image tends to bring the abstract into reality.  Also, we tend to be most passionate about things that happen to us, so it adds a persuasive element to our arguments.
  3. Leading by example is a great way to gather followers.
  4. We can also report on challenges.  By saying, yes it may be difficult to schedule that yearly exam because your doctor's office isn't close by/accessible/affordable/etc., you can provide rationale for why those burdens are worth overcoming.

For what other reasons is it important to "practice what we preach"?

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