How well can scientists communicate their research to people depending on their level of understanding?
That was the challenge posed to biologist Neville Sanjana, who attempted to explain CRISPR (a kind of gene editing technology) to a child, a teenager, a college student, a graduate student, and a fellow CRISPR expert. It’s fascinating to watch him maneuver between them all.
As I wrote when this same kind of communication experiment was done with a neuroscientist, we may not all be scientists, but we often have ideas that we want to get across. How well do we adapt what we say based on the audience? I’ve been to plenty of debates on philosophy — and read several books about the subject — where it felt like everything was way over my head. And there were other books geared to a more knowledgeable audience that never went beyond the 101 level. It was a waste of my time.
All good communicators should be able to explain their ideas with the audience in front of them, meeting them where they’re at.
(via Kottke. Portions of this article were published earlier)