How to Explain Your Research to Key Audiences

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Enter speaker notes here.

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8 things wrong with this graph that compromise its usefulness

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Left hemisphere dominant for language and logic, while right hemisphere dominant for visual imagery. So, words and visuals synergize to enhance understanding.

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Explaining Your Work to Key Audiences Dennis Meredith E-mail: dennis@glyphus.com www.ExplainingResearch.com Twitter: @ExplainResearch

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Why explain your research? Alert colleagues, collaborators Discuss implications, future directions Document credit Alert media Correct media errors Aid funding agencies Reach legislators Attract donors Engage lay public

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Employers want communicators!* Teamwork ability Problem-solving skills Communication skills (written) Strong work ethic Communication skills (verbal) Leadership Initiative Analytical/quantitative skills Flexibility/Adaptability Detail-Oriented *Job Outlook 2017, National Association of Colleges and Employers

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Reach your audiences

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Reach your audiences

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You compete with the world

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A lay audience is not a class

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A talk is not a paper Paper: Explanations read Self-paced Non-interactive Sufficient text Points can be complex High-res visuals Talk: Explanations heard Speaker-paced Interactive Limited text Points must be simpler Lower-res visuals

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Your audience is primates

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Not a valid model

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Who are your audiences? Other scientists

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Who are your audiences? Donors

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Who are your audiences? Administrators

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Who are your audiences? Students

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Who are your audiences? News media

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Who are your audiences? Legislators

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Different audiences, different needs

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Economy Security Environment Education Freedom/Values Why important to: Source: Francis Slakey

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Renounce Introduction Methods Results And Discussion

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Grab your audience So what/what’s new: Significant problems? Worthwhile benefits? Needed solutions?

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This is a boring opening slide Dennis Meredith E-mail: dennis@glyphus.com www.ExplainingResearch.com

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This is not a boring opening slide Dennis Meredith E-mail: dennis@glyphus.com www.ExplainingResearch.com Twitter: @ExplainResearch

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This is a boring opening slide! really not

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February 27-March 3, 2011 – San Diego, California An Estimate of the Volumes of Potentially Toxic Materials in Obsolete TVs Stored by US Households Based on a National Survey

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I’m an obsolete TV set, perhaps sitting in your attic, basement, or spare room.

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I’m a CRT model containing toxic materials like lead, cadmium, antimony, copper, zinc, and flame retardants.

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Currently, only 18 percent of sets like me are recycled.

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How many millions of me are there in U.S. households?

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How many tons of toxic materials do all these sets contain?

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Nobody knows.

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So, we conducted a national survey to try to find out.

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Optimize your text

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This is 48 point type This is 44 point type This is 40 point type This is 36 point type This is 28 point type This is 24 point type This is 18 point type This is 14 point type This is 12 point type

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This is Times New Roman This is Calibri This is Century This is Verdana This is Garamond This is Arial This is ridiculous

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For dark rooms, I like light text on a dark background: Reduces glare Text stands out more than the background

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Reversing text out of a dark background makes the text stand out and makes the images “pop.”

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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) come from. . . Coal-Fired Plants

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Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) come from. . . Coal-Fired Plants

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Hazards of being textual mega

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Long text creates a logical problem and a distraction: logically It is unnecessary for me to read this text to you, because you’re perfectly capable of reading it yourself. Right?

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On the other hand, if I’m saying something else while you’re trying to read a substantive amount of text on a screen, there’s a perceptual left-brain overload that compromises communication.

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If you keep your slide simple you will find that it is more digestible by audiences and much more memorable than if you clutter it with extraneous text that overwhelms the language-processing part of their brain. Remember…

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If you keep your slide simple you will find that it is more digestible by audiences and much more memorable than if you clutter it with extraneous text and images that do not contribute to your point.

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Use short bullets: Make points easier to jot down Reduces reading load More memorable Create suspense: “What’s he going to say about this point?”

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Use headlines not labels Grab audience Tell point of slide Heard and seen

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Florida “West Indian” manatee

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Manatee extinction likely without additional protection

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DUAAWETF!

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Don’t Use Arcane Abbreviations Without Explaining Them First!

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Effective text slides have: Editorial headline Short bullets About 4-7 points per slide Sans serif font, not serif like this 28 point font minimum 40-word limit A

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Not: “Say cow, see ” cows

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Rather: “How now brown cows”

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Only show data to be discussed Don’t put text on the screen that’s not meant to be read

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“Washington, G. and Jefferson, T. “Very important research paper,” Top Sci Jrnl, Vol. 400, No. 4, November 8, 2016 This is the Y axis in Percent Too much “non-data ink”

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This is a headline that makes the point “Washington, G. and Jefferson, T. “Very important research paper,” Top Sci Jrnl, Vol. 400, No. 4, November 8, 2016

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Effective visual slides guide the eye A

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This is a headline that makes the point “Washington, G. and Jefferson, T. “Very important research paper,” Top Sci Jrnl, Vol. 400, No. 4, November 8, 2016

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This is a headline that makes the point “Washington, G. and Jefferson, T. “Very important research paper,” Top Sci Jrnl, Vol. 400, No. 4, November 8, 2016

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This is a headline that makes the point “Washington, G. and Jefferson, T. “Very important research paper,” Top Sci Jrnl, Vol. 400, No. 4, November 8, 2016

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This is a headline that makes the point “Washington, G. and Jefferson, T. “Very important research paper,” Top Sci Jrnl, Vol. 400, No. 4, November 8, 2016

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This is a headline that makes the point “Washington, G. and Jefferson, T. “Very important research paper,” Top Sci Jrnl, Vol. 400, No. 4, November 8, 2016

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Why I hate laser pointers: Distractingly twitchy Temporary indicator Substitute for good slide design Puts you out of the picture “Distances” you from your data Attracts eye to pointer not point

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Image sources: On the Explaining Research menu, click on Refs and Resources, Ch. 3

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Bcl-xL PUMA p53 Mitochondrial outer membrane Apoptosis BAX BAX MOMP Stress-induced Apoptosis; Roles of PUMA, BCL-xL and p53 Mitochondrial Outer Membrane (MOM) Chipuk, et al., Science, 303:1010-4 (2004); ibid., 309:1732-5 (2005). Stress (e.g., DNA damage) p53 Bcl-xL Importantly, PUMA is the only BH3-only protein that activates cytoplasmic p53 How does BCL-xL bind to p53? How does PUMA uniquely unleash the pro-apoptotic activity of cytoplasmic p53?

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Use informative animated GIFs

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Use informative animated GIFs GIPHY.com

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Use informative animated GIFs

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Use informative animated GIFs

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Use informative animated GIFs

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Credit: Felice Frankel, from Envisioning Science Creating visuals is not hard

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www.ExplainingResearch.com Visual creation tools : On the Explaining Research menu, click on Refs and Resources, Ch. 4

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Use Movie Maker or Photo Story to create “moving” galleries

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Working with the media Dennis Meredith E-mail: dennis@glyphus.com www.ExplainingResearch.com Twitter: @ExplainResearch

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Grab the reporter So what/what’s new: Significant problems? Worthwhile benefits? Needed solutions?

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A good interview has: Grabber beginning Compelling “so-what?” Pithy, prepared quotes Vivid metaphors and similes Engaging stories Quality visuals A

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To give an effective interview: Give the reporter background Answer your questions Speak deliberately Give credit and document Distinguish fact, opinion Emphasize caveats Follow-up with email A

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U.S. networks don’t cover science news: U.S. Foreign Affairs (15%) Health & Medicine (8%) Crime (6%) Government (5%) Science (2%) *Pew State of the Media, 2008

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Source: Pew Research Center

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Source: Pew Research Center

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News releases make you a news outlet PIO distribution reaches public Funding agency disseminates Journal distributes Department, school web site Your web site Video syndication sites (YouTube, etc.) EurekAlert! (Also reaches Google News)

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EurekAlert! releases are syndicated

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Videos can be syndicated

Summary: May 17, 2017, talk for UCSD Research Communication Program

Tags: ucsd communication

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