At the IPA World Congress + Probiota Americas 2019 event in June, Dr Brenda MacArthur, a professor of message design and researcher of health communication at Stony Brook University’s Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, talked about using conversational language to communicate complex ideas.
The method she presented was called the Alda Method—an interactive approach to communication training named after Golden Globe and Emmy winner Alan Alda, who also hosted the show Scientific American Frontiers for 14 years.
Dr MacArthur also shared some tips about communicating to consumers using different channels, especially for industry members that have had more training and experience in research, such as chief scientific officers or research directors.
“We need to be aware of where the public is getting information, and increasingly that’s on social media, websites, and online news outlets,” she told us. “We as the researchers and scientists need to be in those spaces—so taking courses on social media and blogging, and not being afraid of those.”
She also offered some words of advice to the communications and marketing departments of dietary supplement brands about training the rest of a company’s scientific staff.
“With media training, it’s really important to queue into what the audience, or journalists, are looking for. They’re looking for soundbites, can you give them that? Can you give them short, declarative sentences?”