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Virginia Tech Translational Plant Sciences Conference

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Slides on science communication from the outstanding Virginia Tech Translational Plant Sciences meeting, February 22, 2017.

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Virginia Tech Translational Plant Sciences Conference

  1. 1. Rethinking Science Communication Lessons from customer service, hostage negotiation and Aristotle Kevin M. Folta Professor and Chairman Horticultural Sciences Department@kevinfolta
  2. 2. Here’s what I do: Funding and Reimbursement: www.kevinfolta.com/transparency Slides: www.slideshare.net/kevinfolta
  3. 3. 0.0%
  4. 4. Consumers are seeking information Are there residues in my food? Where do the ingredients come from? Is it nutritious? Will my family like it? Do I trust the company? Is this a good value? Are herbicides harming the environment? What are these long words on the label? Is this one of those GMO things? Is it full of the glutens? What dose Dr. Oz think? THIS IS A VERY GOOD THING.
  5. 5. Consumers are reacting to information Pesticides Antibiotics Hormones Fertilizer Gluten Neonics GMO Dihyrogen monoxide BPA MSG Understanding makes me a better consumer. I don’t know what to believe, so I just won’t buy it.
  6. 6. When people don’t know what to trust they: •Err to the side of precaution •Are prone to lifestyle-based choices •Accept messaging that seems consistent with their values •Make mistakes •Enact bad policy •Adopt actions that have consequences for the poor.
  7. 7. The Collateral Effects Stall Application of Innovative Products or Practices INNOVATION APPLICATION
  8. 8. Solution Our agricultural industries, farmers, ranchers, scientists, etc. must be part of the conversation. Stop talking to each other- and talk to non-typical audiences.
  9. 9. Not so simple Are not trained to do this Don’t want to do this Make mistakes when they do this
  10. 10. How do we currently build trust as scientists and ag producers?
  11. 11. How do we currently build trust as scientists and ag producers? Educate them! Show them the data! Provide citations! Teach the facts!
  12. 12. Scientists, industry professionals, agricultural producers, etc. Make some critical mistakes in engaging How we process information System 1 – Emotional, irrational, reactive System 2 – Logical, strategic, calculating
  13. 13. Humans Exhibit Tribal Behavior We group with others of similar worldview and interests. They adopt and defend similar premises, even if incorrect. Use groups as identity to anchor deeply held beliefs We manufacture tribes
  14. 14. To Establish Trust You Have to Override the Reactive Brain and Tribal Tendencies Establish that you are not a threat Listening, showing empathy Affirming shared values and dreams Building rapport
  15. 15. How do we effectively teach potentially conetntious concepts in: Biotechnology? Medicine? Vaccines? Climate? Evolution? Others? To varied audiences: University? Public? Online? A good basis for trust Scientists and agricultural professionals are consistently rated as competent and knowledgeable. Yet they typically fail to engage the public, and when they do, they do it wrong.
  16. 16. Facts do not matter without trust. “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” - Maya Angelou
  17. 17. How do we build trust as people? Know the audience Empathy Mutual values Authenticity Transparency The Correct Evidence X X X X
  18. 18. Who is the Right Audience? People are seeking honest answers about science, medicine, food and farming and don’t know who to trust. YES!
  19. 19. Build the Rapport Pipeline
  20. 20. How do we win the trust of someone that is emotional and irrational?
  21. 21. Active Listening Intellectual Charity Provide a sense of power and control in the conversation
  22. 22. Lead With Your Ethics.Lead With Your Ethics.
  23. 23. What are our mutual concerns?
  24. 24. I don’t know what to believe, so I just won’t buy it. Develop rapport Define your audience Practice active listening with charity Share values Evidence should reinforce values
  25. 25. HOW DO YOU PARTICIPATE?
  26. 26. Reach Out Beyond Our Tribe How do we stop just talking to each other and reach others that want to know what we do?
  27. 27. CONTENT AMPLIFICATION Write something and share with 1000 people Share something you like with 1000 people
  28. 28. CONTENT Blogging: create content about what you do, and why you do it. Write articles for Medium.com, other sites that are forums for articles. Distill others’ work for a new tribe.
  29. 29. Received several email inquiries with specific questions.
  30. 30. Circulation = 1 million subscribers
  31. 31. Develop Media: Use Social Media to Reach New Tribes with Crossover Topics Over 900,000 downloads >120 Episodes Coffee episode, dog domestication, cancer immunotherapies, are great content to introduce to broader audiences. Currently 6,000 /week
  32. 32. AMPLIFICATION
  33. 33. The Power of Amplification and Networks Pre-Internet Now 10 k contacts Expert Expert
  34. 34. The Power of Amplification via Networks
  35. 35. AMPLIFICATION You MUST be present in social media – Twitter, Facebook (professional page), LinkedIn, Instagram, etc. Develop networks with consistent quality posts Promote good information into your networks
  36. 36. Amplify messages from trusted experts. Jennie Schmidt Brian Scott Sarah Schultz
  37. 37. Amplify messages from trusted experts.
  38. 38. CONTENT AMPLIFICATION Use Content and Amplification to Build Your Brand
  39. 39. Not all fun and games.
  40. 40. Jay Baer Says that Your Critics May Be Your Best Friends •The Internet is a spectator sport •Respond with class •Remember the audience •Take the high road •Earns trust
  41. 41. We Go Forward Together Identify audience, facts don’t matter until you’ve earned their trust Effective communication starts only after listening, establishing rapport Scientists / academics are good at talking to each other. Reach out to new groups, build trust and share expertise. Generate content, amplify work of others Developing and expanding media contacts to build audience, build a brand. Handle criticism with class Defend science, farmers and scientists.
  42. 42. kfolta.blogspot.com @kevinfolta kfolta@ufl.edu www.talkingbiotechpodcast.com iTunes, Stitcher, Player FM Thank you. All funding, reimbursement: www.kevinfolta.com/transparency All slides: www.slideshare.net/kevinfolta “Don’t tell me it can’t be done, tell me what needs to be done and help me do it. “ - Dr. Norman Borlaug

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