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Activity 8.3 - Choosing appropriate messages

Course: Science Communication Skills for Water Cooperation and Diplomacy
Book: Activity 8.3 - Choosing appropriate messages
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Date: Sunday, 25 October 2020, 6:34 AM

1 - Introduction

You have spent quality time in previous modules developing compelling messages about your research. Similarly, your messages here should be tailored to your audience, easy to understand, relatable, and generally be interesting. Consider the profile of each target audience member: how will you adapt your message as a result?

2 - Personas

For each of the audience members you identified earlier, complete a ‘persona’, or an audience profile. It should contain:

Persona 1


Education level


What do they enjoy doing?

What are their goals?

What distinguishes them from others?

What keeps them up at night?

What attitudes might they  have about your area of work?

What do they read?

Who do they talk to?

Download this as a PDF or Word file 

Developing a persona is a largely hypothetical exercise. If possible, ‘test’ this persona on someone from that audience or find evidence to check your assumptions about them. Keep amending it as you find out more about your target audience.

3 - A one-line message

Turn your objective into a general one-line message. 

E.g. We need to stop focusing on damaging ‘water war’ debates and concentrate on tangible evidence-based solutions.

4 - Tailor it to each audience

Adapt this message to the profile of each of your target audiences. 

Both the messages below are about shifting the ‘water wars’ frame, but are tailored according to their respective audiences:

Example 1

Audience: Editor at media outlet

Message:  There are recent innovations in water science that can help millions of people in the Nile Basin. We need to tell people about them.

Example 2

Audience: Other researchers

Message: Our work is not being communicated because the media are predominantly reporting on water issues through a conflict frame. We need to change this.