We all know that practice makes perfect. This is an old rule in science when it comes to giving scientific presentations. However, the same tactic can (and should) be used when preparing to talk with individuals from broad audiences. One of the best ways to practice is through role play. Talking to a public group? Giving an interview? Meeting with a policy maker? Practice answering questions relevant to each of these groups. Here are some examples to get started:
- Tell me more about why you decided to study this.
- What did you find out when you did this research/work?
- What are the long-term implications of your research/work?
- How will this research/work affect me and my family?
- Does this research tie into our community? If so, how?
- What are you asking us to do about this?
- Why should we, as taxpayers, fund this research (when there are starving children across the world)?
- What will scientists be doing next on this issue?
- What is the key finding of this research?
- What’s new about this work/research?
- Why did you decide to study this?
- Did anything in your results surprise you? If so, what?
- Why would a policy maker focusing on climate change/natural hazards/natural resources be interested in this research/work?
- Does this research/work have the potential to affect policy?
- How can this research/work impact the public?
- What are you planning to do next with this research/work?
- How does this relate to my constituents values?
- Why would voters care about this?
- Why do scientists study this? What are the implications?
- What more do we have to learn about this research/work?
- What are you asking of me today?
- If you’re asking for money, then the only way I could possibly give you more funding is by cutting funding for another science program. Which program’s funding should I cut?