Page 16 - Winter2021
P. 16

  Figure 2. And, But, Therefore (ABT) examples for The Wizard of Oz (top) and my research on noise-induced hearing loss (bottom). Red text highlights the ABT transitions in each statement. “And” statements present background information,
“But” identifies the gap in knowledge (or the plot twist for The Wizard of Oz), and “Therefore” tells the audience what action is needed and why. The background image for The Wizard of Oz shows Dorothy’s shoes, a key element in her quest to return home. The background for the research example is a scanning electron micrograph of a lateral line organ from a larval zebrafish, which is the primary animal model used in my lab. Figure drawn from ideas in Olson, 2015.
 but the specific problem, solution, and other aspects of our communication will change depending on the audi- ence. If we are presenting to the City Council, our goal might be to convince them to fund a bridge upgrade, so our solution is a specific building material and the benefits are about the wise use of taxpayer money and a safer commute for local residents (the So What). For a school group, we would focus less on bridge safety (don’t
scare the kids!) and instead more on our thought process and how we approach solving real-world problems. The COMPASS website offers excellent examples of how to apply the Message Box to different communication sce- narios (
Another personal favorite is the And, But, Therefore (ABT) tool developed by Olson (2015). In scientific pre- sentations, we often use an “And, And, And” format (and we found this, and this, and this) that leads to an early rush for the coffee break at a conference. The ABT chal- lenges us to place our work in context. We know this and this but here’s what we don’t know. Therefore, here’s how we found something out (or will find something out; try this technique for your next grant proposal!). The ABT method forces us to consider not just what we already know (the facts and context of our work), but why we do the research, the gaps in knowledge and how we fill in those gaps. This method is great for demonstrating the scientific process in action; we have an observation (And), then we formulate a hypothesis to explain that observation (But), and we perform an experiment to test our hypothesis (Therefore).
The ABT works equally well for classic Hollywood stories as it does for science. Figure 2 shows two ABT statements one example from The Wizard of Oz and one example from my own research that I use in my workshops.
Tell a Story
Storytelling is such a fundamental tenant of communica- tion that I wanted to highlight it separately. Stories are “facts wrapped in emotions” (Joubert et al., 2019). By tapping into emotions in a narrative, our audience is more likely to remember the facts. Stories are also an excellent persuasive tool; we can use narrative elements to weave facts into per- sonal experiences and help convince our listeners to accept a scientific idea or take a particular course of action (Green et al., 2018). A story contains the fundamental elements of characters, a plot, and a setting and uses the classic story arch with a rising action (we needed to solve the scientific puzzle or find the missing equipment), a climax, and a reso- lution (see Figure 3). Stories are highly effective when we weave them into a longer talk: brief vignettes to highlight a point and provide a real-world view of our scientific experi- ences. The ABT method is another way of thinking about a story; “And” is the plot and setting, “But” is the rising action (the plot twist), and “Therefore” is the climax.
16 Acoustics Today • Winter 2021

   14   15   16   17   18