Communications Skills for Environmental Professionals

  • Published on

  • View

  • Download


Communications Skills For Environmental Professionals Emily Moskal Communications Director Communications Successfully conveying the desired message to the right audience Lifecycle of a message Intent Composition Encoding Transmission Reception Interpretation Interactions are based on communications Credibility Authority Every avenue of your life Communications in conservation Education Outreach Advocacy Influence Reduce barriers to reception Ambiguity Culture Big words Knowing your audience Sex Love Health Happiness Money Fears Hopes Dreams Fun fact: sensory exploitation Find preferences of audience, fine tune your song Measure of success #1 conservation priority, ranked by the average American SAFETY AND HEALTH: natural disaster, drinking, fitness, recreation You've been drinking Atrazine - now help get it banned Don't Terms not to use: Landscape Ecosystem services Global warming Green jobs Do Remain optimistic Local politicians positions Seek federal support Rural life Recreational Historic value Stay people-oriented Generations Our, we Pride of place Responsibility Connecting your audience Testimonials & social proof Emotion Photos "I really appreciate everything you do to raise awareness and protect our amphibian populations!" Mr. Froggie, Sacramento, CA IUCN Amphibian Specialist Be a storyteller Problem Hero Solution Stand out Information overload Short attention span Scanning vs. reading Quick decision Shares Don't lose your reader Flow Mix short & long sentences Transitions So, First, second, third Then, Also, Similarly, Rhetorical Questions So, you want to save the frogs? Heres how you can get started Connect paragraphs As we begin to reshape the dry wetland we find a nonnative bullfrog hibernating. Finding a bullfrog is a sure sign that when the wetland is full of water, it will support native frogs. TL;DR Headlines Subheads Bold Links Captions Photos Headlines Bait The Effects of Kernel Feeding by Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) on Commercial Hazelnuts. Four Ways Stink Bugs Will Shrivel Your Nuts. Viral Headlines Headlines Thousands of frogs are threatened with extinction Better 8 ways to start saving endangered frogs right now BAD GOOD First paragraph Hook Anticipation It was a dark and stormy night Call-to-action Section headers History of the deadly fungus Infectious spread of chytrid Tropics in threat Species on the verge of extinction Photo Captions John shows Ted a bullfrog BAD GOOD In Amphibian Conservation 101 at the Elementary of Nepal, students John Smith and Ted Rose learn about a deadly chytrid fungus killing frogs, like this Indian bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus), found in our area. Don't be such a scientist Academic/technical journals writing for popular media 2 ways to make someone think you're smart Confuse them with big words Or, teach them, and add value to their lives Facts Dont list The bullfrog is native to the eastern U.S. The bullfrog measures between six- to 12-inches long. Bullfrogs mate in the spring. They lay 1,000 eggs per clutch. Every spring, a female bullfrog will hop from her burrow and lay around 1,000 eggs at a time. Her large size enables her to lay many eggs. No jargon Jargon: words used inside social or work circles, not known outside Clutch: mass of eggs laid at once Too many words Mechanism of reproductive behavior reproduction Rates of speed speed Brain injury incidence shows two peak periods in almost all reports: rates are the highest in young people and the elderly. More punch Brain injury incidence peaks in the young and the elderly. Reputation This is academic writing at its finest: boring, unreadable, written to obscure rather than to inform! Stanford Writing Course Be inclusive, dont isolate What makes a good writer? Having a new perspective Logical and clear thinking A few simple, learnable rules of style Stanford Universitys Science Writing "In science, the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs." --Sir William Osler Must-have resources Strunk & White AP Stylebook Fun fact: punctuation helps sp. ID via Purgatory Project Mistakes Species names Common names: American bullfrog Kingdom down to family: Ranidae Latin names: Lithobates catesbeianus, or L. catesbeianus AmphibiaWeb names SAVE THE FROGS! not Save the Frogs or Save The Frogs But, Save The Frogs Day not SAVE THE FROGS! Day Quotes Outside punctuation BAD Frogs are cool. I hope they dont go extinct, said Margot. GOOD Frogs are cool, Margot said, I hope they dont go extinct. Numbers Spell out units Zero through nine, number 10 + among vs. between less vs. fewer more than vs. over 1980s not 1980s Capitalization Places: West Texas vs. western United States Diseases: Zika vs. malaria How to read better Underline Notes Unknown words Creative use of word Punctuation: semicolon (;), colon (:), dash (-) Communication Styles Fundraising Copywriting Journalism Fundraising Conversational YOU Donor is a super hero Numbers Personal story Fund you or anothers project Copywriting Marketing, sales Business, nonprofit, community Journalism Objective, balanced Op-ed, feature, news Professor, lobbyist, activist Use an editor Friends, Family I am always happy to give advice Become a SAVE THE FROGS! Contributor Receive personal edits of your work Reach a lot of environmentalists Receive a writing guide If youre interested, send me an email! emily@savethefrogs Additional Resources The Best American Science and Nature Writing A Field Guide for Science Writers Join National Association of Science Writers or follow email forums Tips for writing an Op/Ed by David Jarmul for Dukes Office of News and Communications Using Social Media to Promote Environmental Action For a good example of science writing, read Ed Yongs blog Stanfords Science Writing course slides Gail Perry e-newsletter for fundraising tips Copyblogger e-newsletter for copywriting tips National Geographic Style Guide Pitch story to IN ACTION Homework Spend 15 minutes looking through Nature Conservancys Language of Conservation memo. Results of survey of average U.S. conservation priorities. Spend 15 minutes reading Ghana Expedition summary as example of environmental communication Spend 30 minutes looking these SAVE THE FROGS! magazine issues and find three articles that catch your eye. For 30 minutes, a brief report (Next Week Week 3: How To Organize, Promote & Hold Successful Events Communications Skills For Environmental ProfessionalsCommunicationsLifecycle of a messageInteractions are based on communicationsCommunications in conservationReduce barriers to receptionKnowing your audienceFun fact: sensory exploitation#1 conservation priority, ranked by the average AmericanDon'tDoStay people-orientedConnecting your audienceBe a storytellerStand outDon't lose your readerFlowTransitionsRhetorical QuestionsConnect paragraphsTL;DRHeadlinesViral HeadlinesHeadlinesFirst paragraphSection headersPhoto CaptionsDon't be such a scientist2 ways to make someone think you're smartFactsNo jargonToo many wordsReputationWhat makes a good writer?AdvocacyMust-have resourcesFun fact: punctuation helps sp. IDCommon MistakesSpecies namesOrganization namesQuotesNumbersCapitalizationHow to read betterCommunication StylesFundraisingCopywritingJournalismUse an editorBecome a SAVE THE FROGS! ContributorAdditional ResourcesEDIT IN ACTIONHomeworkNext Week