When I ask scientists, researchers and academics WHO they want to reach, one phrase comes up time and time again: the “general public”. But who is this mysterious “general” public?

Does a stockbroker have the same values and priorities as a social worker? A 70-year-old and a 17-year-old? A mother of two small children and someone who has actively chosen not to have children? Someone who is a person of colour from the US and someone who is white from South Africa? An individual with “working class” roots and an individual whose family have been highly educated, “white collar” workers for years?

Here’s the bottom line: the “general public” is remarkably diverse.

The more you KNOW about them, the more you can tailor your message so that it connects with what is important to them, acknowledges their values, and bridges the distance between “them and us”.

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