As science communicators, we need to do more than just entertain — we need to inform; to persuade; to inspire action. One of the biggest challenges in selling ideas about radical science and technology is engaging and exciting an audience in a way that is non-threatening, believable, and structured in a way that they can relate to personally.
You want to get people on-board and excited about your ideas, but if you take it too far on the awe-spectrum without getting that personal connection, it may seem too much like science fiction, and not like something that is easily adoptable for them, in their lifetime. Good science communication is more than just making science accessible — more than just losing the jargon, and more than just reaching out to new audiences.
The best science communication uses facts intertwined with a compelling narrative — a delicate balance of awe and reality — that people can relate to on a personal level. If the story feels personally relevant, and they can see themselves as part of the story, then people will be more willing to not only entertain those ideas, but to take action as well.
Kuszewki gave a great talk about inspiring authors to learn how to write in such a way that they influence people in the real world to take action. She noted that:
- Science literacy is low
- People need to make information accessible to the public
- How do we reach new audiences?
- Her main concern is to inspire action
- Incite the feeling of “oh wow” to induce wonder in science
- Awe, wonder and curiosity can lead to action, but how can that happen?
- The more radical science is, the harder it is for people to understand. What happens when your audience thinks something is cool, but doesn’t take action?
- You can talk to people about personal issues like longevity, and increasing their own quality of life, and the life of their family.
Below is her Slideshow (presented at the 2012 SF H+ Conference) about science literacy, accessibility, how to reach new audiences, and how to get people excited about science.
Andrea Kuszewski, an Affiliate Scholar of the IEET, lives in San Francisco and works as a researcher and manager with VORTEX Research Group. She investigates the neurocognitive factors behind human behavior.
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