Getting a Sound Bite Across. Heather Long, MD ACMT Annual Scientific Meeting Clearwater, FL March 28, 2015

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1 Getting a Sound Bite Across Heather Long, MD ACMT Annual Scientific Meeting Clearwater, FL March 28, 2015

2 How to be an effective science communicator Distill your message Make your message effective Be prepared

3 Distill your message Your message should be: Simple Distinctive Memorable

4 There is an elegance in simplicity. Simplicity does not mean removing features. It means distilling what's most important about those features and explaining them in the fewest words possible.

5 Distill your message I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time Blaise Pascal Find the time

6 Distill your message Begin with the end in mind Start with take home point and work backwards

7 Distill your message Choose 3 takeaway messages You can have fewer, but not more than 3

8 Distill your message Media math: 9x1 = 0 3x3 = 3

9 Distill your message Repeating the message in different ways will enhance its strength.

10 Distill your message How to choose 3 things: Put yourself in audience s shoes: What do they already know? What do they THINK they know

11 Distill your message Techniques 1) Interview 2) Cocktail napkin 3) Post it notes

12 Techniques Interview - Have someone interview you on the topic

13 Techniques Cocktail napkin physical constraint of writing your essential points on back of napkin forces you to be succinct and to narrow your thoughts

14 Techniques Post it notes - Each takeaway gets its own post it note (remember max is 3) - Allows you to rip up/rearrange - Forces you to keep it simple

15 Obstacles to distillation My topic is too complex Everything is equally important I need to show everything I know Scientific jargon

16 Distill your message The biggest obstacle to effective communication is providing way too much information for your audience to swallow.

17 Make your message effective Tell a story Use human angle Put your best side forward Be positive AVOID jargon

18 Make your message effective Beware the Curse of Knowledge: Once we know it, it becomes hard to imagine anybody else not knowing it Experts use jargon without even realizing it because it is everyday language for them

19 Make your message effective Keep the message simple Capture attention by emphasizing the unexpected Display emotion

20 Be Prepared Practice, practice, practice

21 Be Prepared Critical to boosting your confidence

22 Be Prepared Allows you to stay on message

23 Why is this important Who do you want to control the message? Best way to counter the misleading antiscience offensive is with a strong proactive message Consider other venues besides TV Be supportive of colleagues who are also working toward this goal

24 Interview pointers Check for bad hair Wear solid colors Women wear a sturdy blouse Minimize accessories No noisy jewelry or pocket change SMILE

25 Interview Pointers Make eye contact Smile, even if serious subject Use head and facial animation Keep hands quiet Sit up straight and lean forward Sit on stable chair Consider environment/background

26 Interview pointers Keep answers to 15 seconds Avoid fillers: um, OK, so Editors can remove silence more easily than fillers

27 Interview pointers Be consistent Stick to the facts, do not speculate Avoid jargon

28 Interview pointers Be positive Be articulate and helpful Never say no comment Never go off the record

29 Interview pointers When and where airing Know your audience Who is doing the interview

30 Take control of the interview What to do if interview veers off in direction you don t want to go

31 The essential purpose of an interview is to present a point of view or to deliver a set of messages. It is not merely to answer reporters questions. Richard Valeriani NBC News correspondent

32 I answer the questions they should have asked. Remember, you are the expert

33 Communication Bridge Moves conversation from where interviewer wants to go to where you want to go Take control of the interview Acknowledge interviewer s point and then redirect

34 Bridging techniques 1. Briefly answer the question, but quickly move to a message you d like to give: Yes, but or Yes, and. You know, I m not sure about that. What I can tell you is to put it into perspective

35 Communication Bridge techniques 2. Pose a new question and answer it yourself: The underlying question is what are we doing about the problem? What s really important (or interesting) is

36 Bridging techniques 3. Redirect the conversation to what you want to talk about: I think what you mean by the question is I m glad you asked, because this brings me to a point that I have wanted to share

37 Bridging techniques 4. Stop talking Pause. Collect your thoughts Avoid fillers Don t ramble. Be thoughtful. Don t say something until you are ready, even if it creates a bit of an uncomfortable gap.

38 Addendum: Newsmakers Bill of Rights Reporters Bill of Rights

39 NEWSMAKER S BILL OF RIGHTS The right to know the interview topic(s) in advance. The right to know the identity and affiliation of the reporter. The right to state your key points and, if appropriate, restate them. The right to have some control over the interview environment. The right to bring up relevant topics and points not specifically asked for in questioning.

40 NEWSMAKER S BILL OF RIGHTS The right to know how the interview material is to be used and who else is being interviewed for the story. The right to respond to accusations. The right to correct misstatements and misinformation. The right to finish responses without interruption. The right to restate obscure or lengthy questions.

41 REPORTER S BILL OF RIGHTS The right to reasonable access to legitimate news sources. The right to have the reporter s deadlines and logistical needs considered. The right to receive a concise and direct answer to a relevant question. The right to receive a timely response to a relevant question. The right to conduct follow-up inquiries where necessary for clarification.

42 REPORTER S BILL OF RIGHTS The right to request and receive, if available, printed or pictorial material to flesh out the interview information. The right to receive corrected information if incorrect information is inadvertently given. The right to redirect the discussion to the subject under investigation. The right to evaluate and report the story as the reporter sees it. The right to the same kind of courtesy and respect that the newsmaker desires.

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