ELEVEN PRINCIPLES FOR COMMUNICATION SUCCESS
Use these proven principles to get the results you want and make a bigger impact with your work.
Emotions are contagious. Palpable enthusiasm and your belief in what’s possible will help carry people along. Sharing what inspires you about your work will help others see the potential.
BUILD THE BIG PICTURE FIRST
Resist the temptation to dive straight into the details. Frame what you say by succinctly explaining what exists today, the future possibilities, and how your work will fill the gap.
KNOW WHO’S LISTENING
Think carefully about what your listeners know about your topic and their prevailing sentiment. Find out what they care about and how they like to receive information. Determine what you want them to think, do, and feel after they hear from you.
SPEND MORE TIME ON WHY IT MATTERS, AND LESS ON HOW YOU DO IT
Never promote science for the mere sake of science. Always demonstrate the value to people and the planet we inhabit. Your goal is to get people to care about your work.
EXTRACT THE ESSENCE
Find the fewest number of words to provide a high-level explanation. Start there so that anyone listening can easily understand your topic. Use carefully chosen phrases to make your point and summarize what’s important. Lead with that story.
Use clear, common language. Avoid or translate acronyms, jargon and technical terms. Start from where listeners are, not where you are. Use iconic references to anchor complex concepts to everyday, familiar experience.
BALANCE PRECISION WITH IMPACT
Choose language carefully to be clear and directionally accurate. Long phrases and sentences bog the listener down. Keep some short. Learn to deliver a compelling narrative that layers in more detail when listeners are ready to be receptive.
BE HUMAN AND CREDIBLE
Be yourself and be conversational. Make an emotional connection by showing up as a person first, a scientist second. Your integrity must be unquestionable. Verify your facts. Evaluate your sources. Be clear about what you know, what you think, and what you hope to learn.
Convincing decision makers is a process, not a single act of persuasion. Use information as a gift. Engage often to build understanding and show the value of supporting your work. Learn what matters to your listeners and use that to appeal to shared goals.
Advancing your ideas doesn’t mean you have to go it alone. Seek out advisors, influencers, and partners who can help carry your science further. Build alliances with colleagues who share your goals and can endorse your efforts.
ENABLE YOUR LISTENERS TO ACT
Know the purpose of your communication. Leverage each conversation and presentation to build support for advancing your work. Remember you are ultimately building relationships for the long run. Make the ask, every time.