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Do’s and don’ts of effective science communication

There is a great need to halt and reverse deforestation trends by working together to raise awareness, enact and enforce stronger laws, and step up support to local communities’ efforts

Do:

Tailor your information and materials carefully for your audience

Remember that many people really struggle with even basic comprehension of numerical information – keep statistics to a minimum, avoid graphs

Talk about individual scientists, people and personalities – including personal stories and portraits

Convert data into images that people will understand – always explaining what it will mean. For example, don’t just talk about metres of sea level rise – talk about what it will mean for the coastline

Always maintain some sense of proximity – use examples of what is happening now, and around you

Ensure that you also talk about opportunity and talk about constructive responses

Have Fun. Be confident. You are the expert in what you know and how you think and feel about it

Don’t:

Χ Apply generic technical scientific language to a mainstream audience

Χ Use excessive statistics, data, or graphs with a mainstream audience

Χ Talk about science in an abstract, mechanical or  institutional sense

Χ Be entirely abstract or numerical about threats – for example only talking about X degrees temperature rise

Χ Only talk about impacts that are far away or in the future

Χ Only talk about doom and gloom of climate change, however well researched, as mainstream audiences will respond poorly. Ensure that you also talk about opportunity and positive visions.

Χ Be scared. You are a communication hero. You have something important to say to the world.


This is the final section of our training, we hope that you have found it useful and informative. Please send any feedback or thoughts to Asher Minns, Executive Director, Tyndall Centre [email protected]  and Dr Chris Shaw, Climate Outreach [email protected]

The content of these web pages draws on a series of workshops created and developed by Climate Outreach and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research as part of the Helix project.