Module 2

Effective communication principles:
Communicating mathematics to the lay audience
May 13-14, 2021 9:00AM – 12:00PM (PDT)

Communicating specialised or technical issues with a lay audience can be challenging.  In this module, led by Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions, participants will learn the principles of clear, effective and engaging communications, from strategic framing to the construction of concrete and concise messages to audience-friendly formatting choices . The session will also explore approaches to becoming more attentive to the intersection between expert knowledge and issues of interest to the broader public to support scientists in identifying how and when they can best add value. Participants will be invited to apply skills learned to a brief piece of writing to be edited on day 2. 

In addition, under the leadership of Nathan Skolski of UBC Communications, participants will try their hand at applying these principles in writing, and will obtain substantive feedback from a team of media communications experts.  


Day One:

Interactive workshop with Shari Graydon (2 hours)

Communicating specialized or technical issues with a lay audience, including policy makers and the public, part 1.

Follow-up discussion with a panel of applied mathematicians (1 hour)  

Practical experiences in communication by applied mathematicians.

Day Two:

Interactive workshop with Shari Graydon (2 hours) 

Communicating specialized or technical issues with a lay audience, including the public and policy makers, part 2.

Interactive workshop and small-group discussions led by Nathan Skolski (1 hour)

In-depth discussion of participant writing samples (assigned on Day One) with a team of communications experts.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Understand the value of and apply strategic framing approach to communications (considering the audience, purpose, context before crafting the message)

​2. Be deliberate about using clear, accessible language and constructing messages that are concise and concrete so as to effectively engage a broader audience unfamiliar with your discipline

 3. Become more attentive to the intersection between your knowledge and the news, so as to better identify how you can add value, and/or how people could be encouraged to care about what you know

4. (Day 2) Become a more effective editor of your own and others’ draft writing, receiving feedback from facilitator and/or peers 

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