You would think research communications has enough challenges today; it doesn’t need to inflict its own.
And yet: Self-regarding gestures — especially self-flagellating ones — have become proxies among many research communicators for action and impact. Example:
If I recommended the above to my clients — academics, NGOs, for-profits that a) are all deeply committed to and practice diversity and inclusion and b) pay me to help them articulate and start conversations with new audiences about their biggest, research- and expertise-based ideas and solutions and arguments — they would … be perplexed.
I couldn’t blame them.
We live in a golden age for reaching out (a term, BTW, that encompasses those who know us and those who don’t.) Twitter, Substack, micropodcasting, even deks on Instagram.
Perhaps you or your organization find it difficult to make your research and expertise relevant to the material problems of real people.
Or perhaps you find it difficult to reach out to those people in ways engaging enough to start a conversation about that relevance.
Those are fundamental communication challenges. They can and must be worked through.
Self-regarding gestures are not a proxy for that fundamental work, nor for inclusivity that has material impact.
These gestures are instead a warning sign: You’ve hired a communicator (or you are one) who rearranges deck chairs instead of communicating.