Geoscientists are encouraged to consider contributing to a special session at the Fall AGU meeting, Dec. 11-15, in San Francisco. The session, Communicating Broadly: Perspectives and Tools for Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Scientists (OS28), is intended to stimulate discussion among scientists about communication with audiences outside of academia.
A primary goal of the session is to inspire more scientists to communicate about their research â€“ with many types of people, for many different reasons. We’d like to highlight the activities and approaches of those who communicate well, and also get the word out about resources that may help scientists communicate with the public more effectively. Personal-yet-analytical perspectives may be particularly engaging, and so we encourage presenters who have the inclination to experiment with style as well as content.
Some of the foci we’re encouraging presenters to consider are:
- Why it is important for scientists to communicate with audiences such as journalists, resource managers, teachers and others
- The impressive range of communications avenues open to scientists, e.g. print, web, radio, TV, in-person/oral, courses, editorials, panels, etc., as well as practical advice about getting involved
- Philosophical considerations, e.g.: reconciling one’s role as a researcher and citizen; dearth of incentives/rewards for scientists to communicate
- Effective communication practices, both general and audience- specific. Based on the presenter’s experience, what works and what doesn’t work to inform, persuade, incite action, or whatever the goal of the communication might be? Also of interest: Methods for evaluating the impact of the communication on the audience
- Personal stories of successful and less-successful communication attempts
- Specific opportunities/tools for scientists to communicate and/ or to build communication skills â€“ descriptions of courses, programs, workshops, initiatives that are either for scientists or require the participation of communicator-scientists
Abstracts are due at AGU by September 7th (http://www.agu.org/ meetings/fm06/).
Have you ever received a phone call from a reporter? Met with government officials or representatives of a philanthropic foundation? Written a lay-audience overview of your research for a funding agency or a scientific professional society? Presented to teachers, students or the public? Struck up a conversation about your work with the person sitting beside you on an airplane? Spoken with industry representatives about technology development relevant to your research? If so, and your professional focus includes some aspect of ocean, Earth or atmospheric science, we invite you to share your experiences and learn from colleagues about effective communication.
Across the geosciences, opportunities abound for researchers to communicate with people who have distinct and sometimes divergent interests â€“ journalists, resource managers, environmentalists, policy makers, philanthropists, educators, and industry leaders, to name just a few. In this session, we invite scientists and others within the academic community to reflect on their experiences with such communication. Presenters may discuss their motivation for seeking or responding to opportunities to communicate with audiences outside of academia, share strategies for effective communication, and examine the relationship between communication techniques and outcomes. Presentations that describe resources for building scientistsâ€™ communication skills â€“ for example, organizations, programs, workshops, courses and publications â€“ are also highly encouraged.