Insights

My Conversation with Faith Kearns

You don’t need to have been subscribed to these emails for long — maybe two weeks — to realize I don’t think about research communications the way other research communicators do. I think most science communications training is worthless, most science communications research is useless for science communications practice, and indeed the dominant model of “science communications” cuts off science from bigger ideas, rewards junk science and hype, and makes researchers and communicators overly dependent on either the intermediary of journalism or Twitter omnipresence for success — both of which are increasingly precarious positions to be in these days.…

Thought Leadership: A Useful Definition

“Thought leadership” is like sardines: often mediocre, terrible reputation but amazing and great for you if sourced and prepared properly.

Of course, that’s not the marketing campaign you’d want for what is — and let’s face both parts of this — an atrociously named but essential content genre experts use to communicate with the rest of us.…

Eight Myths of Thought Leadership

There are more than eight, of course. But these are the ones I encounter most often:

Thought leadership is about getting your audiences to think differently. It’s much more about getting you in the habit of thinking differently — about the intersection of your expertise and the world, what your arguments and POV really are, whether they hold water, how you’ll revise them in response to criticism and how you are going to listen as deeply to your audiences as you want them to listen to you.…

The Superpower of Explanation

I don’t think we can kill explanation — but we’re trying our best to make everyone pay $100 a year for it on Substack. Polarization and social media are fueled by memes, and you don’t explain a meme. You deploy it, like a cherry bomb.…

The Problems with Training

There are two kinds of research organizational leaders: those who want communications training for their organization’s researchers, and those who don’t believe training works.

Here’s the weird thing: More often than you’d think, they’re the same person.

The typical communications workshop for researchers can yield non-communication benefits (increasing cohort cohesion, making researchers feel more valued or improving a specific talk or presentation).…