Read: What having conversations with voters taught me about science communication
12 November 2020
Public Engagement - training
"Even during a bitter election season, persuasive conversations were not only possible, but surprisingly attainable".
It might feel like having productive conversations with people can be impossible sometimes, for lots of reasons. But that's no reason to throw in the towel.
This article, featured in Scientific American, provides concrete examples of how framing, being respectful, finding common ground, and listening can help you connect with people, to be persuasive and change attitudes, without getting into a heated, unpleasant argument where no one leaves happy.
It shows how you can 'stick to the science' but do so in a way that actually responds to peoples values and attitudes, so key in effective communication and engagement.
Also, it's just inspiring to read about the trials, tribulations but ultimately positive reflections from a, clearly, very dedicated person, presented in such a way that we can all take away some key lessons.
Get yourself a cuppa and give it a read; especially if your research is in a controversial area, particularly climate change.
What did you think? Have you had similar experiences? What have you found works?
The writer, Karin Kirk, is a researcher and journalist, and has written and done TED talks on the topics of communicating science, particularly around climate change and effective strategies for having productive conversations. You can find links to all these on her website.
What to read next
12 March 2020
Climate Outreach and the University of Cardiff carried out a survey to gauge public perception of climate change and its associated risks. Here, the findings are presented alongside a guide that provides seven practical, evidence-based recommendations for communicators and practitioners working to engage the public on climate risks and adaptation.
23 July 2020
The Public Attitudes to Science surveys take place every five or so years, taking the pulse of the nation in terms of how people feel about science - covering various aspects of engagement with and trust of science, as well as attitudes towards specific topics.
20 February 2020
Craig Cormick explains how scientists can get their arguments across to members of the public.