Rangelands NRM Blog, News & Resources

Communication conference links science and the wider world

Effective communication is vital to the success of business.

At Rangelands NRM, we are committed to being transparent and communicating our work in natural resource management. With such a diverse range of stakeholders working the rangelands of WA, it is vital that we tailor our messages depending on our audience. Communications is more than telling the story of the projects that we support. It is a key component of sharing and exchanging knowledge and best practice between our stakeholders with respect to sustainable land management,

The ‘Communicate to Inspire’ conference took place last month to delve into skill development and in-depth discussions to further strengthen the link between science and wider world.

Inspiring Australia partnered with the WA branch of the Australian Science Communicators to bring together over 100 science communicators, researchers and science journalists from Perth and regional Western Australia.

Rangelands NRM’s communications team Teresa Belcher and Jo Webb attended the conference together with Kimberley Program Manager Grey Mackay, representatives from Broome’s Roebuck Bay Working Group and partners in spatial/GIS resources Gaia Resources.

The conference began with attendees asking the question “What is your why?” led by Australian Science Communicator’s Sarah Lau, the first question you need to ask when planning to communicate.

Keynote speaker Catriona Jackson, CEO of Science Technology Australia spoke about talking to policymakers, covering how to engage with parliamentarians and how science can play a part in the polices that shape the nation.

Ms Jackson said that less than 10 per cent of politicians have a science qualification, so it’s vital to tailor your message to non-scientists.

The day then moved to parallel sessions where delegates received valuable tips on entrepreneurship in Western Australia, key messages, social media engagement, using data and the psychology of behaviour change.

  • ‘Connecting to innovation and Science Start Ups’ by Tash Ayers & reps from Bloom
  • ‘Effectively talking science to policymakers’ by Scitech’s Simon Carroll and Catriona Jackson
  • ‘From blogs to vlogs and all the tweeting in between’ by local Odd Organisms blogger Anna Gardiner
  • ‘Using data to tell a powerful story’ by Australian Science Communicator WA President Renae Sayers and Scitech’s Maths Multiplier Shyam Drury
  • ‘Psychology of behaviour change and case studies’ by former WA Premier Carmen Lawrence
  • ‘Citizen Science: a how-to guide’ with Gaia Resources, World Wildlife Fund and Birdlife Australia.

During the lunch break, delegates had the opportunity to hear about key lessons from the recent Australian Science Communicators national conference in Brisbane.

The first day wrapped up with a networking event to mingle and learn more about National Science Week opportunities.

Regional attendees who are part of the Inspiring Australia Regional Science Groups stayed on for a second day of science communication training.

Rangelands NRM Program Manager (Kimberley) Grey Mackay attended these sessions as one of the representatives from the Roebuck Bay Working Group, the Kimberley Regional Science Group.
Topics covered in the sessions included writing news articles and media releases, designing surveys for evaluation, and websites tools such as Canva.

Anne Petch from Funding Partnerships Australia gave the group practical tips on sourcing funding and writing applications.

“When we work with online applications and government grants, we can easily lose sight of the importance of building strong relationships with funding partners as well as expressing your drive and passion in a couple of sentences,” Mr Grey said.

“The tips we learnt during the funding session were focused on how to do this better, to get to the heart of what you want to achieve and your value proposition”.

For more on the event, you can follow #comm2inspire on Twitter, or read the storify.

This event was supported by Inspiring Australia, Scitech and the WA Branch of the Australian Science Communicators.

Image: Delegates discuss their ˜why’ (©Taylor Bartels, Scitech)