Alan Alda understands the importance of communicating science effectively. His life once depended on it.
Years ago, while on assignment in Chile, Alda nearly collapsed from abdominal pain. He soon found himself in what seemed like a scene from M*A*S*H. Laying on a gurney underneath a bright lamp in an otherwise dimly lit makeshift operating room, Alda listened as a surgeon said, “Part of your intestine has gone bad. We need to cut out the bad part and sew the good ends together.”
The surgeon’s simple words conveyed much more to Alda than “you need an end-to-end anastomosis” ever would have and illustrate the importance of knowing your audience and your message and communicating it succinctly. I heard this story and others during Alda’s recent lecture entitled “Helping the Public Get Beyond a Blind Date with Science” at the University of Chicago. Alda founded the Center for Communicating Science—a resource at Stony Brook University that is devoted to improving scientists’ communication skills. He spoke passionately about the need for scientists to beef up their ability to relate to their audience.
As science communicators here at HDMZ, we have not yet found our clients collapsed on a Chilean mountaintop (yet!), but we do find ourselves in make-or-break scenarios in which clarity and audience appropriate phrasing of our clients’ message affect coverage in a publication, an interview with a prominent journalist, whitepaper downloads, or banner clicks.
We are here to help you get beyond a blind date with your customers. Rest assured that clarity and connection are what we strive for on a daily basis at HDMZ, whether we are talking about translational research, gene editing tools, or healthcare management software.
Need help communicating your message? Give us a call at 312.506.5200