When: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013
What: Communications Panel: “Discussing YOUR Research with the Public and Media”
Hosted by: Peter Iglinski and Leonor Sierra
Where: K-307 (3-6408 Med Center)
Time: Noon - 1:30 PM
Research is important, and so is the ability to talk about the objectives, successes, and implications of that research. This panel discussion will focus on how to talk about your research with audiences of different sensibilities, whether they're colleagues, faculty, or the general public.
Preparing for the Live or Taped Interview:
- Be clear of the reason for the interview.
- Craft your message beforehand and come up with examples that illustrate your point.
- Anticipate the questions, including the unwelcome ones.
- Practice your responses—several times and out loud.
- It’s OK to delay the interview in order to prepare. A reporter’s deadline is not necessarily yours.
- Solid colors tend to look best on TV. Remember you will be under bright lights, so it may be necessary to apply foundation or cosmetics.
- Practice with a colleague, supervisor or press officer.
- Be concise.
- Answer the questions directly. Vague responses allow for misinterpretations.
- Avoid one-word answers, such as yes or no.
- Answer in complete sentences.
- Elaborate, don’t digress.
- Avoid being too casual or familiar with the interviewer. (e.g. Don’t use the reporter’s first name.)
- In the case of weak or inappropriate questions, politely redirect the topic to something suitable.*
- Stop talking when you are finished, even if the reporter waits for more—otherwise you may say something you didn’t intend.
- Avoid any temptation to improvise. If you don’t know the answer, promise to contact the reporter later with the relevant information.
- Look for opportunities to illustrate your points.
- Look at the interviewer, not the camera, when responding. If the interview is being conducted remotely without someone present to ask the questions, then do look at the camera.
- Do not use acronyms or technical jargon.
- Be patient. The reporter may be working outside his/her area of expertise.
*Examples of Redirecting Questions:
- “I understand why people feel that way, but I look at it differently…”
- (If it’s a hot-button issue, it may be best to respond indirectly) “What’s often misunderstood is that…” or "What’s important here is that..."
- “Actually, my research/experience leads me to a different conclusion…”