Communicating About Risks- More than Just Information

Communicating About Risks- More than Just Information


[MUSIC PLAYING] Good afternoon, or
good morning, depending on where you’re located here. We’re pleased to be continuing
our EDEN Professional Development Webinar
Series here, in 2018. So Happy New Year to everyone. In this third
webinar, we are going to be talking about
communicating about risk. And I put the tagline, It’s
More than Just Information, after looking at Sarah’s
information for us. Let me move forward here. So we are pleased to have Sarah
Watson as our presenter today. She is a Coastal
Climate and Resilience Specialist at the South– Southern Carolina– South
Carolina Sea Grant Consortium in Carolinas Integrated
Sciences and Assessment. She has consulted with NOAA
Office on Coastal Management on a number of different topics
related to coastal climate resiliency. And she also was one of the
lead developers in the Risk Communications Basics, which
is a guidebook that I’m sure she’ll talk a
little bit more about. I’m not going to go further with
introducing Sarah because she’s going to add a little bit. I would just also like to say
I’ll be coming back at the end. We do have an evaluation that
we would like you to complete, so be looking for a link
to a Qualtrics series that I will be putting
up in the chat box and help us evaluate
this program. So we’re pleased that so many of
you were able to sign in today. And with that, I will stop
sharing and let– turn it over to Sarah for a
great presentation. Thank you very much, Cheryl. I’m always really excited to
talk about risk communication because it’s so important and
such an important topic that I know that all of us really want
to get better at because we know that it’s really
important to making sure that we get our message across. And as Cheryl talked
about initially, just– it is more than just
getting more information. And so I’m going to talk
a little bit about some of the social science lessons
behind why we perceive risks the way that we
do, and then, how we can incorporate those
lessons into improving our communication and outreach
so that we make our messages and our overall
communication more effective. So a little bit more about me. I’m brand new for Sea Grant. I just started in
October, and I’m extremely excited to be working
for South Carolina Sea Grant. Prior to all of my
work in resilience, I was a environmental reporter
for The Press of Atlantic City and a few other newspapers. And my last really big
assignment as a reporter was covering Hurricane Sandy
recovery in New Jersey. And my experience on the ground,
watching how practitioners communicated with
residents about risks and about things that they
needed to be able to do, and then also communicating
with the residents who were then perceiving that
information, really inspired me to go back
to graduate school at Rutgers University to
study public policy and urban planning with a focus on
stakeholder engagement and risk communication so
that, perhaps, I could help improve
that communication. So first, I just
want to briefly talk about what risk
communication is. And I think we all have our
own idea of what that means. But I’m not necessarily
going to give a definition, but I am going to talk about
the two key types of risk communication. And that first one is the
short-term or the crisis, and that’s where the
emergency is about to hit us and that– we’re
trying to get people to make immediate actions or
take immediate actions right now. And that’s not the
risk communication that I’m going to
talk about, even though a lot of the social
science lessons that we do– that I will be
discussing do affect how we perceive that communication. I’m really focusing
on the long-term risks or the future risks, where
the emergency is not there, the risk does not
necessarily feel immediate, it does not feel
necessarily personal. The challenge with this is
that because it’s not immediate right now, it’s not
something that we necessarily prioritize in our minds as
we’re hearing that information. And so the challenge
is to work within that and start moving that forward. And I will give some
tips in a little bit about how to do that. So I first want to talk a
little bit about why people just do things the way that they do. And everything that
I’m going to describe, you may see some of
yourself in this. I know everything that
I talk about, I do. So we all do this. And it’s just how we
do that affects how we perceive each individual risk. So the first thing I’m going
to talk about, very basic, is just how we process thoughts
and information coming in. And the first way that we
thought– process thoughts is emotionally, or
through our experience. And that’s a really fast
way that our mind works. It does not take
much time or energy. It’s actually pretty immediate. And for an example, if you
saw this dog walking down the street, and
you saw this dog, you have a very
intense reaction. And you’re not going
to sit there and try to figure out whether the
dog is coming after you or barking after you. You’re going to leave. You’re going to
get out of there. And that can often be
referred to as thinking fast. And that’s very fast, does not
take much energy or emotion– thought. It just happens. So that’s about the vast
majority of our thoughts, believe it or not. So the second kind of
way that we think– the second predominant way
that we process information is also referred to
as thinking slow, and that’s more analytical. And that’s where you’re– perhaps you’re looking at
a math problem or something that you’re calculating, and
it takes you a few seconds to think about it. It doesn’t necessarily
come quickly, but it also takes a
little bit more energy. And as a result, that’s– sometimes that’s
why we’re so tired after a really long day of
work where we didn’t really do much that we thought
of, but we really did a lot of thinking. So now that we have those, I
want to go back to that emotion because the emotion is such
a really key part of how we perceive risks because how
we feel about a risk ultimately influences whether or not we
perceive it as something that’s going to affect us. And I always like to
use a fun little example that I think a lot of us have
very strong feelings toward, and that’s clowns. And I think some of
you are learning about. If this was all you
ever knew about a clown, how would you feel about clowns? You’re probably like,
yeah, that’s pretty cute. I’m not worried about that. Like, that’s adorable. And unfortunately, you all
know what’s coming next. So now how do you
feel about clowns? Yeah, you’re probably like, agh. Terrified. The thing is that when
we talk about things in terms of invoking fear
or dread or those very negative emotions, that can
actually be really challenging when we’re communicating about
that because we don’t really have– each individual
doesn’t necessarily have that much space to handle
all of those negative emotions. And that’s because we
all have something called the finite pool of worry. And I like to use this picture
of this very crowded swimming pool in Japan and use this as– imagine that this
pool is your brain. And imagine that
all of your worries are those people
and those floaties, and that’s all of your
worries and your thoughts and your concerns. And you can see that there’s
really not very much water that’s open left. There’s really just not
that much space for you to worry about something else. And so when you look at it
in terms of perceiving risks, if you’re really
worried about trying to get your kids to school
or put dinner on the table or make sure your
rent is paid, you’re not necessarily going to have
the mental space or energy to think about planning
for something that’s long-term in the future,
such as preparing for climate change or fire
season or hurricane season. The next shortcut that I want
to talk about is anchoring. And that’s where we tend to
focus or set our benchmark, if you will, on what has
happened in the past. And unfortunately,
that can lead us to underperceiving
a risk or a threat or even overperceiving
a risk or a threat. And unfortunately, I’ve seen
a lot of this actually happen. For example, I’m
from New Jersey. I’m now in South Carolina. But for example,
in South Carolina, people who have been here in
Charleston for a very long time tend to connect anything
that’s happening in the future with
Hurricane Hugo. Whereas– and so, if it wasn’t
as bad as Hugo, therefore, it wasn’t that big of a deal. But they don’t
necessarily realize that if Hugo had hit
20 miles to the south, they– in the city
of Charleston– would be in a much
more severe situation. And so that’s the event
that they anchor on, but they sometimes will
misperceive the actual risk. The next one I’m going to talk
about is confirmation bias. And that one, I
think, is something that the more that we hear or
the more information that we’re given and the more information
that’s available to us, it’s just kind of
that mental shortcut that we tend to
fall on the easiest because it’s just
really easy to do. And that’s where you
cherry-pick information to confirm what you
already believe. And unfortunately,
that can lead you to dismissing a threat that’s
perhaps a real threat to you. Or it may actually lead
you to overperceiving a threat or a risk. The next one is
single action bias. And I use the image of the light
bulbs as an example of that, and that about 10,
15 years ago, we were kind of all under
that– given that message that if we just changed
our light bulbs, we would be able to
prevent climate change. And that just in that one thing,
that it’d be all you had to do. And unfortunately, as
I think we all know, that’s not necessarily the case. So unfortunately, a
lot of us will still change the light bulbs,
or maybe we’ll recycle, but we don’t necessarily
reduce other– change other behaviors that
lead to a better climate. So the next one I’m
going to talk about is the status quo, and that we
are hardwired to avoid change. We don’t necessarily
like to change, and that change is really
hard and– because it forces us to have to spend energy
and mental energy in rewriting those wires, if you
will, in your head. And so that’s why
it’s really hard to get people to
change their behavior because they just don’t want
to or it’s just difficult. And I’m sure that you can
all imagine what that’s like. It’s January, and everybody
is trying to rewrite that– go to that New Year’s
resolution if maybe they want to exercise more
or change their diet. And it’s really hard to
do because you’re already in that pattern. You already have those
behaviors in your mind. And so it’s really
hard to change. The next one I want to talk
about is unrealistic optimism, and that’s, quite simply,
we don’t think bad things are going to happen to us. And I heard this
a lot after Sandy in that when I interviewed folks
about why they didn’t evacuate, the universal response
was I didn’t think it would be that bad, or we
don’t get hurricane storm surges here in New Jersey. They get them in
Alabama or in Florida. They don’t get them here. And so they– even though
they had been warned and given all that information,
they just didn’t take the appropriate action
because they just quite simply didn’t think it
would happen to them. And now I want to talk
about social amplification. And that’s where the more
that you hear about a risk, the more you
perceive it as real. And that’s just a very
simple way of putting it. But unfortunately,
that often will– the more we hear our friends and
family talking about something or the more we hear it on
TV or the more we hear it on social media or see
it on social media, and maybe all
combined, that leads us to perhaps overperceive
something that’s a risk and sometimes
underperceiving it as a risk. And for example, how
many of you are worried about catching Ebola
or had even heard about Ebola before the
outbreak a few years ago? And then how many of you, after
hearing about it on the news over and over and over
again, were suddenly afraid that you might get Ebola? That’s one of those things where
the more that we hear about it, the more that we perceive
it as something that’s going to affect us personally. The next thing I
want to talk about is something that I refer to
as worldview, and a lot of us researchers refer to
this as worldview. And this is really
a very simple way of trying to look at how each
individual perceives the world, and that we all see the
world slightly differently, and we all– and that
affects how we make decisions and also just how we perceive
whether something is a risk or whether something
is something that we need to be concerned about. And what worldview
does is it measures two lines of how
we see the world, and then it creates those
four categories that have– people in each category have a
more cohesive way of seeing– they more agree with each other. And so the first line
is looking at how we think our ideal
society should function, and that’s whether you’re more
individualistic in that you think that society functions
best with minimal involvement from government or regulations. And then you have that
communitarian mindset where you think that
society functions best when you have more interaction
from a larger entity keeping things together. And then the next
one that we look at is from hierarchy
to egalitarian, and that’s looking at how we
think people should interact with each other. And for example,
egalitarian folks tend to think that we
function best with– when everybody is equal in
that we have no barriers, whereas hierarchy tend
to view the opposite. And as a result, you end up
with these four categories that, they’re not
necessarily the– those people are not
necessarily on the edges, they’re more toward
the middle, and that influences how you
perceive and see a problem and see a challenge. Somebody who’s more
egalitarian and communitarian tends to view that we’re
all in this together and that we all need to
work together as a community or as a region to
do things together for the benefit of
the common good. Whereas somebody who is
the opposite, the hierarchy individualism tends to
think well, I need to be– I need to take care of myself. I need to be more personally
responsible for my own action. And so ultimately, that
is one of those ways of how it affects whether
or not we view a risk and how that risk
might affect us. And on– so overall, what
shapes risk perception? Your worldview and your
values, your emotions– how you feel about a risk– whether or not you’ve
experienced something, and also, how you felt
during that experience. If you had very negative
emotions, that might– in that experience, that might
cause you to overperceive the risk in the future. And if you had not
so negative emotions, maybe it would be something that
you’re not as concerned about. What your friends and
your family think. We all are very
social creatures, and we care about what
our social network thinks. And we tend to
moderate our views to match our social network. And so if your friends
and your family aren’t necessarily
concerned about something, you’re more likely to not
be as concerned as well. And if you end up changing
your social network and your social– your new group of folks is
more concerned about something, your views are going to
start moderating to start matching those a little bit. And then the next one is
do you trust the messenger? Trust is an essential
part of that message and whether or not
you’re going to perceive something or recognize
something as real or a risk. And if it comes from– the messenger is not
somebody you trust, you’re going to
automatically filter that out as being, yeah,
that’s not something I need to worry about. Whereas if it’s somebody
that you do trust, that’s going to be a cue for
you to automatically think, you know what? Maybe that’s something I
need to pay attention to. We also connect risks with our
solutions and whether or not– we do that unconsciously, and
whether or not that solution that is– is the response to the risk,
whether that’s realistic and also whether
you agree with it. And ultimately, you may not
realize you’re doing that, but if you disagree
with the solution– maybe it’s a larger
thing that requires much more regulatory
involvement, and you’re somebody
whose worldview is more– less of a fan of more
regulatory involvement, you’re going to
subconsciously move away toward thinking that that’s
a risk or something that’s going to affect you. So now that we talked
a little bit about why we do things the
way that we do, I want to go into
some of those tips about communicating about risk. And I’m going to talk
first a little bit about some basic communication
101, and that these two things are really essential to
just simply planning anything out and figuring out
what you’re going to say. And that’s quite simply who
are you going to talk to? Who’s your audience? And that can be
anything from one person to a whole lot of people. But really understand who your
audience is and who are you communicating with. And notice that I say with. I’m not saying to because
communication is really a two way street. It’s a conversation. It’s not a monologue,
it’s a dialogue. And then, what do
you want people to do with that information? It’s not necessarily what
you want them to learn, though that’s sometimes
a really important goal. It’s what do you
want them to do? What’s that action
you want them to take? That’s ultimately what leads
toward changing behavior. And so figuring out
who you’re talking to and who do you want to– or who you’re
communicating with and what you want them to do
with that information is really essential
to the next step. And that’s, quite simply, plan
for things, prepare for things, test whatever you’re saying
with people who are not your colleagues, and practice. If you’re going to have a
conversation with somebody who you know is
diametrically opposed to something that
you’re working with, it’s helpful to practice that
conversation ahead of time so that you’re not caught off
guard when you’re doing it, in the middle of it. And also, testing
that message helps make sure that that’s
effective for your audience. Maybe you know somebody that
is in the group of folks that you’re trying to
work with, and maybe you can have them– pull
them aside and say, hey, can you look at this? Is this something
that is going to work? Or can you listen to
me talk for a minute and then give me your thoughts? And then just underscoring
the importance of this lather, rinse, repeat. Keep doing this over
and over and over again. And the only way to really
get good at communicating about risk is to keep
practicing and to keep planning, preparing,
testing, and practicing. I go back to that
audience in that it’s essential to get to know who
you’re talking with and finding out who they are and
what matters to them. That’s one of those key
things that I think sometimes we’re not necessarily really
great at doing because we just– we get into our– we know what we– we know what we
want to communicate, but we don’t necessarily know
who we’re communicating with. So getting to know
who our audience is– really getting to know
who are audience is– and finding out what
they care about, connecting to what they care
about in terms of finding out what’s important to them. And then connecting our
message to what they care about and making that message
about the risk and about the solution,
connecting to that, what’s important to folks. Because if they don’t
think it’s relevant to them or they don’t think that
it’s something that they’re going to care
about or maybe it’s affecting something that’s
not something that’s their priority, that’s
going to say, OK, that’s really great
information, but I don’t really know what to do with it, and
they’re going to move on. The next thing is that–
what is really essential is connecting the risk
with the solution, and that’s because
it’s really good– it’s really important
to connect that action. And people don’t
necessarily know what to do. You say, oh, OK, we have
this thing in the future. And a lot of times, they’re
like, yeah, OK, that’s great. That’s nice to know. I don’t know what
to do about it. I can’t do anything. But there are things
that they can do, and connecting that
solution with the risk helps make that risk
communication more effective. The next thing I
just want to note is that solutions are
not one-size fits all. And that’s a lot of times– in flood preparedness, we
focus on the homeowner. But maybe the
homeowner can’t afford to do the mitigation action. Or maybe somebody is living in
a structure that they don’t own. Or maybe they don’t
have the ability to buy a preparedness kit or
buy the materials for a disaster preparedness kit because
they don’t have that money, or maybe they’re going
to tap into that kit at the end of the month
when they’re waiting for their next paycheck. So sometimes they
can’t necessarily spend money for an
action, and so maybe that’s an opportunity
to say, you know what? Let’s talk about what you would
do if you had to evacuate? Where would you go? What would you take with you? And help make those
baby steps first. But not necessarily
saying you need to do this or you need to do that. That’s going to cause
people to just turn away from the conversation because
it’s just overwhelming or it’s not relevant to them. Next one of the– is really important,
and it takes a lot of practice and skill– and this was actually in the
risk communication guidebook, Risk Communication
Basics– and that’s called framing the conversation. And quite simply, that is
casting the conversation in a way that affirms
somebody’s– what they care about or what their
personal values are. Maybe you’re connecting
it’s important be prepared or it’s important
to work together, and that that works with
somebody’s worldview in certain ways. But sometimes maybe
it’s quite simply just framing the conversation
around an action that they can do
right now and that– so that they don’t
necessarily feel like the converse–
what we’re talking about is just not for them. So there’s a lot more about
that in the risk communication guidebook. I don’t really have the time
to go into it right now. But that’s generally what one of
those really important tips is, is to look up framing. Finding those
trusted messengers. I have a picture of firefighters
up here because believe it or not, firefighters are
one of the most trusted people in your community
because they’re the heroes. They’re saving lives, and
they’re going out there to do their job, and
they’re very visible. And there is a
really great story that I heard [INAUDIBLE] forum
about a situation in, I believe it was Flagstaff, Arizona,
where the city was trying to get an ordinance
passed, or I think it was actually a referendum
passed, to help pay for some fire suppression–
fire mitigation activities that was going to
cost the community some money. And so rather than
enacting or enlisting the local elected officials
to talk to the residents, they handed this to
the fire department. And they ended up
passing the referendum. So that’s one of
those examples where you find that trusted
messenger and that can really help your efforts be
much more effective. But at the same time,
creating those partnerships is essential. And also the partnerships
with those trusted messenger is essential because it’s also
really important to get people on the same page and making
sure that that message among all those trusted
partners is consistent and making sure that everybody’s
saying the same thing. And maybe they’re saying
it slightly differently, but they’re all really
saying the same thing. And that’s because the more
that people hear messages from people that
they trust or that affirms what they care about
and that works with their values and then gives
them the solution, the more they hear
about it, the more that breaks through those
mental shortcuts that people have
that are leading them down the road of
making decisions or acting against their
own best interests or misperceiving the risk. I like to always put
the picture of the kitty with this particular
suggestion, and that’s including an emotional release valve. And I don’t necessarily mean
we should just give everybody a picture of a cute
animal every time the conversation
is getting rough. But when we’re
talking about risks, it can be a really intensely,
emotional conversation. And people can go down
the road of feeling pretty hopeless about things
or feeling very worried, and they don’t necessarily
have that ability to process that emotion. And so just giving
people that space to feel and acknowledge
their feelings and acknowledge what
they may be going through or what their thoughts
might be is really helpful. But at the same time,
it’s also really important that when you are
talking about risks, that you’re not necessarily
going on negative emotion overload. A good rule of thumb that we
use is 1/3 negative emotions and 2/3 hope and action. And that for every 1/3
of the conversation that you’re talking about
as a negative emotion, include 2/3 actions and hope and
giving people a reason to say, OK, I can actually do something,
or I can make a difference, and that I can’t– don’t have to necessarily
just sit here and wait for something bad to happen. So– and then
following on with that, I always want this note
that it’s really important to be careful about using
disaster imageries, disaster photo. There are a lot
of folks out there where the disaster photo is
something that resonates. But there are a
lot of folks that find that disaster photo to
be overwhelming or emotionally intense in a way that they don’t
necessarily want to tap into, if you will. Maybe they’ve been
through a disaster or a family member has
been through a disaster, and so those negative
feelings come up and people are going to want
to avoid that negative feeling. And this picture is one
of those that actually is very personal to me because
I live on the east coast and I’ve never lived
on the west coast, but my family is
from California. And this picture
was in Time magazine a week after the Tubbs Fire
in Santa Rosa, California, and it was the centerfold
of the magazine. And it’s actually what’s
left of my aunt’s house. And so every time
I see this picture, even though it’s
really beautiful, it brings me to a
place where I’m like, I don’t know that I
necessarily want to be there. But I do include it because it’s
giving that example of that– disaster photos can
be very personal, and maybe it’s not
necessarily something that you want to
focus on a great deal. So just a quick plug for the
Risk Communication Basics guidebook. It’s on Digital Coast. It discusses some of the
social science principles behind our risk
perception, some of what I just discussed and
a little bit more. And it also provides
additional key tips rooted in that social science
research for improving science– risk communication. And then, more
importantly, it also provides sample conversations
to see how these tips work in action and maybe provide
a example for something that you can use to practice
for conversations in the future. And with that, I’ll be
happy to take any questions. Cheryl, you’re on mute. Yup, just getting off here. It– I do not have any questions
in the Q&A at this time. So if anybody has a
question or a thought that came to your mind as we
were going through this– I did have a
question in the chat while the presentation
was going on about would this be recorded. And yes, it is being recorded. That recording will be
available on the EDEN website, and we’ll be getting
a notice out. I just finally
figured out how we can get these recordings
captioned and accessible, so be looking for when
they are available. So we do have a question
that has come in, and that is, how do you
evaluate the success of these communication
strategies? That’s a really great question. I don’t know necessarily
how to evaluate it in terms of a
research perspective, but I think you’ll
start seeing these tips as you’re communicating
more with people. It’s not a one shot deal. It doesn’t happen overnight. But you’ll gradually
start seeing, perhaps, some folks coming– making small changes. It’s moving folks along
a spectrum, if you will. And people don’t move along
the spectrum very quickly. But I think that’s a
really great question and I think that’s a
really great opportunity for some research
to start looking up. OK. The next question is, have
you seen marked differences in the worldview based on age? You know what? That’s a really
interesting question. Worldview is– your worldview is
really formed by about the time that you’re 18 or 20. And it’s based on your
environment of where you grew up and the folks
that you grew up around and their ideas and
their world views. And it’s not something that
necessarily shifts dramatically as you get older unless
you have a major change in your social network
or you, perhaps, go through a traumatic event. I don’t know that– I’m not really familiar
with any research that has really had a
chance to look at that and how that tracks. If somebody wants to
do a dissertation, that might be some really
interesting research to look at. But I don’t know that there’s
necessarily a change among age. You might see some
generational similarities because that’s, again,
that social network and how the things that people
grew up around and that– what they learned from
[INAUDIBLE] folks. OK. So another question
is, do you have any advice on communicating
long-term risk dealing with a recent disaster? The VI just went
through Irma and Maria, but I’m still trying to
continue my marine debris and other environmental
education, and people are losing interest. You know, quite– I think that something that
dramatic and that extreme– those storms– it may be that– going to that finite
pool of worry. That their emotional
capacity at this time is so focused on the really
big thing, that they may not necessarily be able to
focus on something other than protecting
their immediate life and getting their
immediate basic needs met. And so it’s looking at
timing and whether or not you’re a professional
on the ground and you’re able to read your
folks a little bit better than somebody from– not from your area. But it may be worth just having
some conversations with folks and sitting down– sitting them
down and getting them to talk about their thoughts or
their fears or their concerns and then using that as
that starting point. Kind of meeting people
where they’re at, and then moving the
conversation forward. So we have a question of whether
we can get the link to the risk communication
guidebook in the chat, so maybe why I get– when
I move on to evaluation, you may be able,
Sarah, to quickly put that link in the chat. Yes. Yes, absolutely. And I’ll– OK. Another question
that we have is, communicating risk about
climate change impacts, such as sea level
rise, is a challenge for our Sea Grant
program in Hawaii since the impacts may not be
seen for a long time or awhile. Any advice or guidance
on communicating risk for a natural hazard that may
not happen in the short term, such as sea level rise? That’s something that I think
about daily, believe it or not, because that’s a big
part of my job as well. The difference is that in
Charleston, we are actually seeing those effects
now, and so people have something to connect that with. But I don’t know– I don’t know that I
know enough about Hawaii to be able to give really
good, sound advice. But if you have some– maybe for some
folks, maybe looking at what has happened in the past
and looking at whether or not there have been any changes and
focusing on what kind of data do you have that’s
going back in the past, and then connecting
that to current events. Maybe you’re getting a king
tide every now and then that you didn’t used to
have impacts from, and maybe that’s
something that you can illustrate that impact for. If you have data that’s
looking at within the lifespan of a mortgage, maybe connecting
to how that might change. Just some ideas. OK. So another question here. In disasters, there are
people in a range of emotions on a spectrum, from very
intense to I don’t care. So how do you judge the
midpoint communications? That’s a really good question. I’m not really sure how– I guess I’m a little
confused about what you’re trying to ask. Could you elaborate
a little bit more? So while we look for
some more on that one, I’ll give them time to type. So here’s just a comment. Sea level discussions are
also tough on the east coast. Some communities don’t want
it discussed [INAUDIBLE] they want development to continue. So just a comment. I’m not seeing
additional information on Gwendolyn’s question. Let me move on. It looks like– Well, let me go– I just pulled up
Gwendolyn’s question. I think I just needed to
read it a little bit better. I think that if looking at– I think what you’re trying to
do is look at your audience and how big it is. Maybe your audience needs to
be more concise and smaller. And that maybe you
don’t necessarily have to judge a midpoint
for the communication. Maybe you are able to just
customize that communication to folks on that range. The folks who are
I don’t care are going to be very hard to talk
with, and they may not be– you may not be
able to reach them. And so you may have to
let them come to you. Whereas the folks who are very
intense and very, very upset, maybe it’s giving them a space
to talk about their feelings and start working through that. But recognize that you’re right,
that it is a very big spectrum. And so– but maybe one
of the things that you do is to kind of break
up your audience or break up your communication
to match the audience. OK. And thanks, Gwendolyn, for
adding more to that one. Oh, the next question is
a whole ‘nother topic, and that is we start
talking about what is your advice about using
different social media versus traditional media and
face-to-face communications for risk communications? Where should you put the most
effort for the best effect? That’s a really great question. And that’s also
one of those topics that I think about
frequently because I think that for some people,
social media is where they see the most information,
but it’s not necessarily where that behavior change
is going to come from. Honestly, the most
bang for your buck is really that face-to-face
communication, especially that one-on-one
communication with folks that it’s a
conversation with people they know and trust already. And that’s hard because
sometimes you need to get a larger message out. Maybe you’re doing a
larger outreach effort and you want to involve as
many people as possible, so you want to use traditional
media and social media. But you know, I think that
my personal feeling in that knowing that I have
had a lot of time in social media and
traditional media, I have found, really and truly,
that face-to-face communication to be far more affective. And that’s where
you get more ability to start changing rather than
it’s a flash on a screen, and you’re scrolling past
it, and you’re going, huh, interesting, and moving on. I think that the
social media that tends to drive that confirmation
bias a little bit more. OK. The next one is ask– I’m going to switch to
another question here. Are there any suggestions for
communicating with the media? Since you were just
talking about media, what about communicating
to the media? Oh boy, that’s basically
a webinar in itself. So maybe a future topic. Yeah, a future topic. But I think one of the
most important things, and I’m saying this
as a former reporter, build relationships with your– with reporters
that you work with. If you build those
relationships, you have better ability
to incorporate them and be able to communicate with
them a little bit more effectively, maybe have
more of conversation rather than blasting
out press releases and having them publish
the press release basically unedited. So building that
relationship with your media and also understanding
what your reporters need. What kinds of information
they’re looking for, what kinds of just format
they’re looking it for, and how can you best meet their
needs while they can often meet yours. OK, great. So here’s the question of what
about talking to or training youth? Do you have any tips on working
with our younger generation and getting some of
this to our youth? I think I’m just going to give
a very simple answer to that. And that is I think
a lot of youth tend to feel very
disempowered and kind of like nothing they’re doing
is going to matter anyway and that they don’t
necessarily have a role in it. And they have a
very essential role. And especially because when
we’re talking about climate change and very
long-term future– long-term risks in the future. It’s their future,
and it’s their world that they’re going
to be inheriting. And so I think helping them
feel like they have a space and that they have a position,
that their voice is important. [INAUDIBLE] that it’s not–
they can actually affect change. And doing that, I
think, helps them feel like they’re part
of the conversation and brings them to
the conversation. OK. So here is another one. Is knowing your audience
as simple as knowing where the community sits
in general, relative to Six Americas? Are there other
frameworks to consider? That’s a really great question. I think that knowing where folks
are relative to Six Americas helps provide that piece– a good piece of information,
and that you can make some assumptions based on that. But I think there’s often more
that you can warn about them. And I don’t know that
there is necessarily any specific framework for
it, but it’s how do they feel about local issues? If you’re talk–
and that’s something that I should have
highlighted in my talk is that making this local,
making this relevant, almost down to this is
my backyard, this is what’s going to affect me. This is how it matters to me. If you can find that out and
if you can tailor communication to making it obvious
for why somebody– why it affects
somebody, that helps make it much more relevant. And so that gives people more
of an idea of, OK, that’s something I should
pay attention to. For example, rather than– a lot of photos
that we look at are more of that global
problem, whereas it’s also in your backyard. So I think you can
learn more about folks. I don’t– I think that’s up to
you to figure out where you are and where people are at. Maybe you need to talk to folks
who work with your audience to see, OK, how are they
perceiving this risk and how are they
talking about this risk? How are they talking
about solutions? What are their
thoughts behind that? And start doing a
little bit more digging about who people are and why
they are the way they are. And that might be
a little bit more effective than
just focusing where folks are on the spectrum. Great. Well, that took us through
the Q&A’s that we had, and I think I captured a
couple of the questions that we also had in the chat. And just let me
switch over here. You will notice that a
couple times within the chat, I have put a link to
a Qualtrics survey. And we ask that you just take
a couple minutes of your time to evaluate today’s
webinar in the chat box. And we appreciate this. We’re also looking for some
additional webinar topics, or if there’s a
topic that you feel would be appropriate for this
EDEN Professional Development Series and would like to say I
would do this webinar, please feel free to contact
me, and we’ll get that into the information. Sarah just provided
in the chat box that link to the Risk
Communication Basics, so grab that while you’re
wrapping things up, too. We will also, when we put the
recording on the EDEN website, place that link to that for
your future reference, too. So please take a moment,
complete that evaluation. And Cheryl, I want
to add something to– Sure. –what’s on that link to the
Risk Communication Basics. There’s also two other
resources on there, and that is an example of
a handout for stakeholder engagement. Maybe you’re– you need to
give a handout or you know a community that needs to have
a handout for their CRS points. We have an example of
one that you can actually just use that has lots
of solutions and tips on folks that we can– it also illustrates
what risks actually are. And then, there’s also a
customizable PowerPoint template presentation
that can be used as a basic
foundation for if you’re doing a meeting or a community
engagement meeting about flood risks. And you can use that
to– use the tips in that to make your meeting a little
bit more affective and more engaging and interactive. OK, great. I would just like
to also announce that the February webinar,
which will be Valentine’s, February 14, same time
frame as this webinar, starting at 2:00 PM
Eastern Standard Time. Our topic is going to be
Community Rating System, so, once again, back to the
National Flood Insurance Program and looking at the
community rating systems from a collaborative approach. Our presenter is going
to be Madeleine Russell. Madeleine currently has been
with the Georgia Sea Grant. She’s having a change of
positions here, but just so– know that Madeleine
is still going to be doing this webinar for us. Tying into some of
the conversation today about social media, at– for our
April professional development webinar, we will have
Treye Rice with us from Texas AgriLife
Extension, and he will be talking about some
of the lessons learned using social media
through some of the Texas situations of this past year. So for those of you that
do have that communication social interest,
know that we will have upcoming webinars
on those topics and to be watching
for that information. So with that, I would like to
thank Sarah Watson for her time and sharing her
expertise with us today on this EDEN Professional
Development webinar. We appreciate everyone’s
time and participation. And also, once again,
please take time to grab that link to
the Qualtrics series and– or Qualtrics evaluation
and help us evaluate and learn more about how we can
better improve this webinar series for you. And Mark, thank you so much for
handling our logistics today and helping with
the webinar program. Alrighty. Thank you so much, folks. We’ll see you again next time. [MUSIC PLAYING]

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