In 2001 I gave my first public scientific presentation and I thought it was brilliant. It was an abysmal failure. I made all of the mistakes that academics make when addressing a public audience.
Communication at the public interface is completely different from scholar-to-scholar discussion, and our proud expertise and deluge of facts and evidence hinders effective dissemination. The public is never immediately swayed by our currency– more information. Facts do not matter until you establish trust.
Over the subsequent two decades I have studied lessons in strategic trust building, borrowing from customer service, hostage negotiation, Aristotle’s teachings, persuasion, and storytelling techniques.
The presentation will center around the Trust Equation. What are the aspects we can adjust as academics to garner trust? Changing perceptions of caring (intimacy) and motivation (values) open a conduit of rapport that then allows technical information to flow, with a higher likelihood of being accepted.
My boots-on-the-ground approach has been delivered to tens of thousands of listeners worldwide and brought recognition with several prestigious awards. It is a perfect match for the spirit of this event, and would be a pleasure to present at the University of Florida.