I see four POV axes for researchers who generate insight content for non-specialists:
- Are You From the Past or the Future?
- Are You an Advocate, or are You Dispassionate?
- Are You a Fox (always knitting together lots of disparate ideas) or a Hedgehog (jamming on one big idea)?
- Do You Stress Risk and Agency, or Trends and Context?
These aren’t black-and-white choices — among them, or along each axis. They’re each a spectrum of preferred or unconscious tone and approach. You also are not locked into any particular combination — for instance, advocacy fox who speaks to us from the future with modeling and stresses the risk of our current choices and our dwindling agency to change our course. (Just picking a profile at random, as COP 25 drags on in Madrid.)
However: if you write for non-specialists at all, speak at all, are on social media at all…you have tendencies that are obvious to everyone (except perhaps yourself).
Are you mindful of those tendencies and what they convey? As mindful as you should be of using the passive or active voice?
Are you making choices about whether your POV tendencies best support the goals you have for communicating with non-specialists? Might there be a combination to better advance your goals?
Are you conscious of where any piece of content you create falls on among the four axes…and if that’s where you want it to fall?
Tomorrow: What it means to be from the past vs. the future.