communicating with the public

Communicating with the public or a non-expert audience can be a difficult task to master. Problems can arise if the communicator is unaware of who the audience is and how best to communicate with them.

You should spend some time considering who your audience is, what they may know, and why they’re engaging with your communication.

For non-expert audiences, the level of scientific knowledge can vary considerably. Although we often group all non-experts into a single group (the public), in reality there are many publics, all with a variety of knowledge, experiences, and opinions. Therefore, rather than simply “dumbing down” a topic, you will need to spend time on planning your communication activity to ensure you engage with your audience and achieve your purpose.

The planning process for communicating with a non-expert audience should be no different to the planning process used for communicating with your peers or an expert audience. However, you may find that context plays a larger role (particularly for controversial topics) and you may have more flexibility when choosing a genre.

In all cases, you should use the communication template to define the various parts of the communication task to ensure you have considered all aspects of the task.


Tips for communicating with the public

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