Flying Fish

Storytelling: Better Late than Never
by Nicole Carlozo -- December 6th, 2013

First, I must apologize for the delay in my second CERF post. Work has been busy and the holidays have taken me by surprise! Regardless, I will declare “better late than never” and move forward.

There are many CERF sessions I could choose to share with the Duke community, but what could be better than a plenary session by the marine lab’s very own Mike Orbach? The session “Sea Level Rise: New, Certain & Everywhere” also featured Dr. Gary Griggs and Dr. Randy Olson.

This session was my favorite of the entire conference and well worth a look if you have the time. I freely admit that most of the audience was already onboard with the session topic, so the content wasn’t much of a surprise to us. It wasn’t the content that left a lasting impression, however, but the format. Surrounded by dry research-driven presentations, this presentation wasn’t just about data. As an undergraduate Biology major, a step-by-step powerpoint format was driven into our heads. It went something like this:

Introduction

Hypothesis

Methods

Results

Discussion

An entire week of presentations in this format can leave anyone exhausted and gasping for air. Fortunately for me, “Sea Level Rise: New, Certain & Everywhere” broke the mold. The speakers didn’t just provide information. They told a story.

The session speakers used the “And, But, Therefore” communications strategy, which struck a chord with the conference attendees. I heard speakers using this strategy in their talks throughout the remainder of the conference – which always earned a chuckle from the audience.

I walked away from this session knowing that I would never prepare or listen to a presentation in the same way again. I only hope I can put these communications strategies to use as I get ready for the NOAA Social Coast Forum, or any other conference I may attend in the future.

I will end with: I learned a new communications strategy AND wish to share it with you, BUT I am no expert in its use, THEREFORE, you should watch the below video for an informative and entertaining example!

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