Plenary session Framing and Science Communication

Framing: using the right language to persuade

How can it be that some messages seem to be accepted without any restraint, while other – carefully based on facts and arguments – don’t even seem to be heard? Why can there be such a gap between what you say and what people hear? How can you hit the right note so that your public will listen and agree with you?
The answer to these questions is framing. Every time you open your mouth to say something, you choose how you tell your story. A frame that fits your audience will trigger a mental story that will stick, if you tell it in the right words. It is not the facts, but the frame that usually decides whether your message gets across. This frame will work the brain in an emotional and associative way without the receiver even realising it. Frames are invisible, yet very powerful stories that you can build to perfectly fit the person you want to convince. Getting your arguments right just isn’t enough; you also have to get your frame right.

Sarah Gagestein is an expert in framing. She designs frames for organisations that have something important to say, but are not always heard by the public they want to reach. She trains CEO’s, managers and politicians in framing in a sensible way and she researches public and commercial frames. She studies Rhetorics (MA) at Leiden University and wrote two (Dutch) books about the fascinating art of framing and persuasion.

How to survive your 50 seconds of fame as a scientist

Scientist are good at science, not at being in the media. Media are good at news, not at reporting science. So how to handle being science news as a scientist? Some do’s and don’ts from a former journalists perspective, and some additional advice from a current head of communications. On training for interviews, sticking to your story, and preparing for the right soundbite, and still be truthfull. With real life examples from life sciences.

Martijn van Calmthout (Eindhoven, 1961) talks, writes and breathes science, from the first humans to the big bang. He was head of science at the Volkskrant newspaper for a long time and made radio programs and live talk shows about science. He is currently head of communications at the National Institute for Subatomic Physics Nikhef in Amsterdam. He studied physics at Utrecht University and wrote a series of books, including a tour guide to all Dutch Nobel Prize winners and a biography of physicist and war hero Sam Goudsmit, also published in the United States.