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