We can’t help but be bombarded by information on a daily basis through social media, the web, and television, to name a few. This highly communicative society we now live in makes it incredibly easy for misinformation to spread like wildfire. It’s frightening to think that politicians and celebrities with no scientific background have shaped the way the public thinks about the world we live in. From the denial of climate change to claims that vaccines are dangerous to the health of children. How can the public decipher good information from bad information?
The role of science communication has never been more vital. Scientists need to help bridge evidence-based information to the public and make it more accessible. With good communications, scientists have the chance to correct misinformation and reframe the issue in an honest light, foster excitement, and build trust. At Genome BC, we work hard to practice the art of science communications by taking something complicated like genomics and breaking it down into its most simple form so that everyone can understand. We also look to the scientists we support to do the same. The art of communications can be broken down into three important terms:
Stories that break through the clutter and “stick” are simple, clear and illustrate relevance and impact. These stories take highly technical scientific concepts and turn them into lay language.
Science is best told through a story since this is the most effective way to make it relevant to the person reading it. You can draw people in by explaining why this is important, how it affects the individual, their family, or the place they live. Resonance draws people in and hooks them into the information.
Conveying the benefit of the science or research seals the deal. What will the impact be on the individual, their family or the place they live? It is very important to be realistic when outlining the benefit. Remember to under promise and over deliver (and not the reverse.)