Friday, 26 November 2010
An elevator talk is a one-minute (or roughly 75 words) in advanced rehearsed narrative that one uses to make contact and get an appointment, when meeting people by chance in an elevator, in the corridors during coffee break of a conference or elsewhere. It is not about substance, but to introduce yourself (smile and keep eye-contact) and raise interest in your project and finally get an appointment to come and tell more about it. The example my collegue provides: “I am Sandy of the Sustainable Development Think Tank here in town. We are passionate about contributing to the solution of the waste problems. Results from our recent projects may very much enhance the waste management bill you are working on. I know members of your party are very keen to make this bill a success. Would you personally be interested in making an appointment to hear some of the highlights of our findings and concrete recommendations? Who can I phone?” Important is that your audience leaves the conversation with the feeling: that was a nice person, (s)he has an interesting project that might help my work, I have to remember to tell my secretary to make an appointment as soon as she phones.
Thursday, 25 November 2010
The few sound bites that the audience remembers from your communication. That - I explain to my audience of MSc students - is the message. When you prepare and formulate an effective message, don't concentrate on what you want to say. Formulate what people should remember. Key informative sound bites why they should bother and what they should do. And don't forget that your body language and other actions should support the message, not contradict it. The audience should like and trust the messenger. The rest are just details. Details communicate that you know your stuff. Íf you provide too many details, you often mess up your message. Instead provide a source where people who want to know more can go to. A good way to practice messaging is having students analyze a series of brochures and leaflets to distill their core message.
Wednesday, 24 November 2010
Denial, wishful thinking, framing your opponent's knowledge as junk science and your own knowledge as sound science: nothing new under the sun! In his latest article Clive Hamilton - author of Requiem for a species - looks at the resistance Einstein met when he first published the results of his relativity theory. He analyzes Churchill's strugle against complacency and the popular wishful thinking that nazi-germany was not a threat to world peace. He evens diggs into Camus' La Peste. I am left with the feeling 'what to do?' Just persevere? Or can we do better to make climate science more relevant? More on this issue in the Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media.