While I am on the topic of presentations (and fresh out of a very full week of siting through them), I’d like to take the chance to let the space physics community know about a relevant article on the AGU Blogosphere.
Yes, AGU has a blogosphere at which several people regularly express their opinions on a number of topics. One of them is “The Plainspoken Scientist” blog:
This is an excellent series of posts on how to engage the public about the coolness of science. One recent post is about giving a TED-style talk:
It’s a great read. I hope you enjoy it and the rest of the blog, too.
This blog hits on a very critical point for us: talking about our work to those outside our work sphere. It’s a different style of speaking that takes practice, but personally I think it is something that we should embrace. In fact, we ignore the development of this skill at our own peril. In an age of budget pressures and increasing demands to be relevant to Jane the Plumber, we need to learn how to tone the jargon and speak in terms that everyone can understand.
Don’t get me wrong: we still need the jargon or else science conferences like the Fall AGU Meeting would be far less informative to experts in the field seeking to learn about the latest new results. In addition, we still need nerdy journals in which to publish those results and make them part of the peer-reviewed, archival literature and long-term knowledge base. However, to keep our funding going, we need to expand our comfort zone beyond the lecture hall to the library foyer, the middle school classroom, and even the local brew pub stage.