August 2, 2019 | Published by |

by Sonia Bluhm, Vanessa Round

The ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes (CLEX) held its annual Winter School for CLEX related students from June 24-28, this year. To cap off the Winter School, a targeted communication half-day session was organised for the Friday afternoon by a collaborative team of communicators and knowledge brokers from CLEX, the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub (ESCC hub) and the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub.

After a week of intense climate modelling and data assimilation at the winter school, this sessions asked the 50+ CLEX students (and six Hub early career researchers who also attended) to step outside their normal science focused activities and consider their communication goals.

Participants were challenged to think about and plan how to target information about themselves or their research to audiences they identified to get the maximum benefit. To put the theory into practice, participants recorded a two-minute video pitch about a specific communication goal to their selected audience.
 
Vanessa Round from Hub Project 2.6 participated in the session. Vanessa provides an overview of the session below.

Joining the CLEX Winter School for the research development communication workshop at Melbourne University felt like a step back into my student days . But the difference was that I now have the job I would have wished for and can directly apply what I learnt. The workshop had us reflecting on why and how we communicate, in particular how to connect with different target audiences depending on our communication goals and desired impact. There was shared discomfort at each having to produce a two-minute video, but most agreed it was an extremely useful way to become more aware of and improve our communication style (and the videos were generally better than expected!).

My personal take-home message was that excellent, targeted communication is a skill that can be improved through planning and practice.
It was also interesting to learn about the work of the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub and meet the large number of graduate students working in climate science in Australia.