Effective communication holds the key to carrying out excellent science and ensuring it has an impact. In a plenary panel at Polar2018, the IASC and SCAR communities explored communicating polar science across boundaries of all sorts.

To help bridge the gap between the panelists on stage and the audience filling the auditorium, IASC and SCAR experimented with using and app called Slido, so that participants could ask questions from their computers or mobile devices. The questions posted in real-time and the audience could upvote/downvote questions of interest. This real-time feedback helped moderators direct the course of the discussion, and using interactive polls also helped panelists get feedback from the audience!

So, how did the session go? Here are a few numbers…

  • 199 audience members engaged with our Slido event!
  • 73 questions were asked, and they were rated 751 times!
  • We held 3 polls with an average of 117 votes per poll!

Panelists fielded questions on topics ranging from political polarization of science to changing the merit structure around science communication activities. The audience pressed for opinions on the use of social media, and panelists stressed the importance of building relationships and listening to your audience when working to created shared value and a shared language. Panelists also shared examples of communicators they admired and even commented on the success of the infamous “Boaty McBoatface” incident!

So, how did the polls go?

  • Finding a shared language is easier later in your career…
    • 65% Agree | 35% Disagree
  • How often do you feel misunderstood by other collaborators?
    • 6% Never | 70% Sometimes | 21% Often | 2% Always
  • Do you think the Boaty MacBoatface incident helped or hindered science communication?
    • 75% Helped | 11% Hindered | 14% Neither

We all learned a lot from this experimental discussion, and IASC and SCAR hope to conduct more Slido panels in the future – so keep an eye out and let our Secretariats know what discussions you want to have at our meetings in the future!

Many thanks to our panelists (Lauren Culler, Stanislav Ksenofontov, Jacqueline Grebmeier, Bryan Lintott, Terry Wilson, and Justine Shaw), as well as to the attendees of Polar2018 for being engaged participants in our experiment.

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