In the last lecture, we talked about the style that we use when speaking with the general public, and how style can really make or break a presentation. Now we're going to talk about content, which is equally if not more important. Creating content starts first and foremost with considering our take-home message. What is the key message that you want to convey in your talk? Like we talked about in Module 1, the place to start when designing outreach activities is always the end if you always start with that take-home message. Once we have our take-home message, then we can generate those three aspects of our core message and build our notes to create the supporting points that we will use during our talk. You'll get a chance to practice doing this in the message activity that's next. Everything that you include in a general public talk should refer back to that central take-home message. Like we talked about in Module 1, repetition is key to helping move the information out of working memory and into our long-term memory. When thinking about how to deliver your message you include pauses that allow audience members to engage more deeply with the content, give them a second to think about it. It's a great opportunity during a talk, for example, to take a sip of water. Will there be pauses that allow audience members a chance to interact like swoop? Where you propose some kind of open-ended questions. This is also really important for learning too, to help people engage and elaborate more on the information that you're presenting. This may or may not be appropriate depending on your venue though. So it's always a good question to ask in advance. Human attention spans are also relatively short too as well. Being deliberate in your content creation, why and how, and when you introduce different ideas can help bring your audience's attention back to you and away from what they're having for dinner that night, or what chores they have to do when they get home. This also ties back into style and presentation as well. A little bit of appropriate humor added at the right time can make a big difference. It's also important to change what you're doing approximately every 5-10 minutes because that's about how long you'll have someone's attention. That's when you come in with a joke or a story, or you switch from talking to a video or to an activity instead. It's also very important to think about your story arc as well, both in oral and written form. How can you craft your take-home message into some kind of cohesive story? We love to listen to stories. Just because it's science doesn't mean you can't tell some fun exciting story. After this lecture, we'll learn about how speakers in TED Talks craft their stories, how picks are highly awarded movie studio has been able to craft such beloved and award-winning stories and gotten many accolades. We'll also come back to story arcs again in Module 3. Images can really help your audience learn from you and help support your claims. Like we talked about in Module 1, images that are clear and not busy can really help convey your message in a way that helps people remember. The more on the slide, the more people have to pay attention to, and the higher the cognitive load. For those of you in the sciences, you may have heard about the shift to the new poster design, it's a great example of this. Scientists and students very often use posters that visually convey the findings of a research study. You'll often see these hanging in lab buildings or other institutions for the public to view. Traditionally, posters were very word and figure dense and look something like this. This is an example of a poster that I presented when I was in graduate school. But now there's a push for posters that look more like this instead, with a central take-home message that's right in the middle, and the supporting information on the outside. So you know that we have this clearly delineated take-home message that's right in the center and then there's a QR code below if someone wants to learn more information. Also, note the color scheme as well. Black and white or that yellow, navy blue white combination have the advantage of having great contrasts, it's easy for people to see. It's also an accessible color combination to use for people who are color blind. If you think back to the visuals that I use throughout this course, they're either of simple images. I'm just bringing up a few words and displaying them behind me to emphasize key point that I want you to know. This is far more effective than using busy images with a lot of extraneous information. Picture should always support your message, not overwhelm or detract from it. They shouldn't be used as a crutch either if you want to talk about something but your content isn't fully developed, you just put a big picture up there that overwhelms everybody you don't have to talk about it. That's a strategy I see a lot of students use, don't do that. Overwhelming your audience with a busy picture, just because you're not sure what to say is never a good idea. Going back to this idea, let's say you want to use this image in your talk. There's a lot going on here. We have a picture, we have labels, we've got that big figure legend at the bottom of the paper that you probably can't read. To minimize cognitive load, if we want to show this image, we need to crop out a lot of the details or redraw it as a simple line diagram, or since this figure ultimately deals with milk production, maybe we show a picture like this instead and use our words to simply explain what's going on and what the key take-home message is. Infographics can be another great way to support your talk or another way of engaging an outreach. We'll talk more about artistic forms of communication in Module 5. Word choice is also very important. It's always a good practice to avoid jargon and acronyms wherever possible. If you're not sure of something's jargon, ask a friend, ask a family member, someone who doesn't know anything about the science you're presenting, and see if they know what you're talking about There are also some words to be wary of that have different meanings to the general public. This is a table showing examples of some of these words. Theory is a great example. In general conversation, I have a theory that if my kid doesn't need his dinner, he's going to be hungry again at bedtime. It means a hunch. It means a proposition. It's not the same thing as how scientist use it, which is to describe some kind of large body of evidence that can explain some phenomenon. Error is another good example. General public, error means you messed up. But in science when we talk about mystical error, it's referring to how certain we are that our numbers that we're presenting are correct, and uncertainty is another really good example too. When we talk about uncertainty in the general public, it means ignorance. It means you're not paying attention. But when we think science uncertainty, that's just a recognition of the understanding that science knowledge changes over time in light of new evidence. A common pitfall during oral presentations is to present too much information, have a really complicated take-home message, or to do a data dot. I'm going to stand up here and I'm going to tell you everything that I know about how people learn. The best way to avoid this is to always start with your take-home message and ensure that every point that you make, every picture that you show, every example that you have, clearly and always points back to your take-home message. Use expandable answers if possible, give your audience a chance to ask you questions. If you wait for the questions from the audience, then you're talking about something that they care about. They feel more connected with you. They feel like the talk is going in a direction that they are interested in. This can also help mitigate nerves that you might have about, what if the audience ask me a question and I don't know the answer? Hold this information in your back pocket, and then you have it and so if someone ask you the question, you already have an answer prepared. Another very common mistake is not practicing and not reviewing videos of yourself giving a talk. Why are TED Talks so good? Because the speakers usually spend months preparing those talks. They go over their message again and again. They rehearse it, they get feedback, and memorize it. Just like a musician will rehearse and rehearse and rehearse a piece of music before finally performing, the best talks are always rehearsed as well. What about more informal talks, or maybe you can't rehearse, or an interview where you're not sure what all the questions are going to be or what questions might come up on the fly? Let's turn to our next venue for science outreach and communication. Interviews with the media.