As scientists, we need to start thinking of research and outreach as interconnected goals. The old paradigm within the scientific community has been “Do good work and it will speak for itself.” How about a new paradigm? Let’s try to change it to “Do good work and tell people about it.”
Tell Your Story
But just how do you tell people about your research? How do you successfully connect to people? Tell them a story. Information told as a narrative is understood twice as fast and retained twice as long than information conveyed using facts alone.
Telling a “good” story might be harder than you think. Don’t worry, though, that just means it will take practice! Here are a few tips: grab the listener’s attention right at the start, keep the audience engaged using vivid imagery, relatable characters, suspense, and humor throughout, and be sure to have a clear, memorable conclusion. The most important thing to remember is to be passionate. If you are passionate about your story, your audience will be able to share that passion as well.
No matter what the focus of your story, stay positive. It is easy to find the “doom and gloom” stories within the realm of conservation, but it is important to highlight the successes. People are more likely to feel empowered to act if a story has a positive message or hope for the future. Rewarding conservation success can promote such conservation efforts to continue.
Have a “Super Team”
Above all, have a “super team.” Surround yourself with others with a variety of skills and an ambition for outreach, build yourself a strong network both within and outside of the scientific, and always strive for successful collaborations.
“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” —Ryunosuke Satoro