Become a better communicator — talk about values first

Blair Bazarich in SF Zoo Mobile

As a public speaker and activist, I am always looking to learn more effective communication strategies. In the latest episode of Citizens Climate Radio, I speak with skilled communicators who reveal proven techniques that they use in zoos, aquariums, and beyond.

Climate Communication experts Blair Bazdarich from the San Francisco Zoo and Hannah Pickard at Boston’s New England Aquarium share proven insider tips about effective communication strategies. They are both leaders at NNOCCI, the National Network of Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation. They train aquarium and zoo professionals how to speak about climate change. NNOCCI is a network of individuals and organizations in informal education, the social sciences, and climate sciences.They are currently working in 170 institutions in 38 states. NNOCCI members reach over 190 million people each year.
In this episode Hannah and Blair share the techniques they have been using, including a “values-first” approach. Through NNOCCI’s research, they identified two motivating values that prove highly effective in opening up conversations with members of the public. The first value is Protection—we feel a strong need to protect the people and places we love. And the second is Responsible Management. We value solving problems earlier before they become too big.
Sean Dague, leader for the Mid-Hudson South chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, leads us through a powerful exercise. He asks us, What does a decarbonized world look like? What does it smell like? What does it sound like?

Once you hear Sean’s vision of a successful future, we invite you to continue the exercise. Try some creative writing. Write a short story or a letter from the future about what you see, smell, and hear.  Maybe create visual art, a drawing or painting. If you can’t draw or paint, get images from magazines and on-line then create a collage. Write a song, create a map, choreograph a dance. Use art to capture a vision of a decarbonized world. Even if you do not see yourself as an artsy person, just try it.

Featured image  by Mihai Surdu on Unsplash

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