Communicating about Climate Change Science Effectively

This is a short excerpt, showing only the recommendations, from a repost on Climate Progress of  the blog of Scott Mandia, a meteorologist and Professor of Physical Sciences who helped launch the Climate Science Rapid Response Team.

Distilling Your Message:

  • Start with a take-home message.  Let them know why they should care.
  • Avoid the science jargon but do not “dumb it down”.
  • Use drama and tell a story (déjà vu anyone?)
  • Emphasize the discoveries and not the caveats.
  • Connect it to people’s lives somehow.
  • Do not be modest – be proud of your work and show it.

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.

Beat the Curse:

How to Connect & Engage:

  • Keep the message simple.
  • Find a few core points/ideas and stick with them.
  • Capture attention by emphasizing the unexpected.
  • Display emotion.
  • Use metaphors, analogy, stories, etc.  (I use this technique often and I find it very effective.  See A Conversation at a Poker Game and Consensus Isn’t Science? for a few of my examples.)

You can read details on each suggestion above, and a lot more about this extremely important topic, on Climate Progress.


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