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← Melissa Marshall: Talk nerdy to me

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Showing Revision 1 created 07/08/2013 by sanne.rly.

  1. Five years ago, I experienced a bit of what it must have been like, to be Alice in Wonderland. Penn State asked me, a communications teacher, to teach a communications class for engineering students.

  2. And I was scared.
  3. Really scared! Scared of these students, with their big brains, and their big books, and their big, unfamiliar words.
  4. But, as these conversations unfolded, I experienced what Alice must have, when she went down that rabbit hole, and saw that door to a whole new world.
  5. Thats just how I felt, as I had those conversations with the students.
  6. I was amazed at the ideas that they had, and I wanted others to experience this wonderland as well.
  7. And I believe the key to opening that door, is great communication
  8. We desperately need great communication from our scientists and engineers, in order to change the world
  9. Our scientists and engineers are the ones, that are tackling our greatest challenges,
  10. from energy, to environment, to health care, among others
  11. And if we don't know about it, and understand it, then the work isn't done.
  12. And I believe that it's our responsibility, as non-scientists, to have these interactions.
  13. But these great conversations can't occur, if our scientists and engineers don't invite us in to see their Wonderland
  14. So, scientists and engineers - please!
  15. Talk nerdy to us!
  16. I want to share a few keys on how you can do that,
  17. to make sure that we can see that your science is sexy, and that your engineering is engaging
  18. First question, to answer for us: So what?
  19. Tell us why your science is relevant to us!
  20. Don't just tell me that you study trabeculae -
  21. but tell me that you study trabeculae, which is the mesh-like structure of our bones,
  22. because it's important to understanding and treating osteoporosis.
  23. And when you're describing your science, be aware of jargon.
  24. Jargon is a barrier to our understanding of your ideas.
  25. Sure, you can say "spacial" and "temporal", but why not say "space" and "time", which is so much more accessible to us?
  26. And making your ideas accessible to us, is not the same as dumbing it down.
  27. Instead, as Einstein said, "Make everything as simple as possible, but no simpler."
  28. You can clearly communicate your science without compromising the ideas
  29. A few things to consider are, having examples, stories and analogies -
  30. Those are ways to engage and excite us about your content.
  31. And, when presenting your work, drop the bullet points.
  32. Have you ever wondered why they're called bullet points?
  33. What do bullets do? They kill!
  34. And they will kill your presentation.
  35. A slide like this, is not only boring, but it relies too much on the language area of our brain and causes us
  36. to become overwhelmed.
  37. Instead, this example slide by Genevive Brown is much more effective.
  38. It's showing that the special structure of trabeculae are so strong,
  39. that they actually inspired the unique design of the Eiffel tower.
  40. And the trick here, is to make a single, readable sentence
  41. that the audience can key into, if they get a bit lost
  42. and provide visuals, which appeal to our other senses and create a deeper sense of understanding of what's being described
  43. I think these are just a few keys
  44. that can help the rest of us
  45. to open that door, and see the wonderland that is science and engineering
  46. And because the engineers that I have worked with have taught me
  47. to become in touch with my inner nerd,
  48. I want to summarize with a simple equation
  49. Take your science
  50. Subtract your bullet points and your jargon
  51. Divide by relevance, meaning share what's relevant to the audience
  52. And multiply it by the passion that you have for this incredible work that you're doing
  53. And that is going to equal incredible interaction
  54. that are full of understanding.
  55. And so, scientists and enginners, when you solve this equation,
  56. by all means - talk nerdy to me.