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Alexandra (Ally) Abrams, Tuesday, 9-29-15 September 30, 2015

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Alexandra (Ally) Abrams, Tuesday, 9-29-15

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Guest: Alexandra (Ally) Abrams. Topics: Communicating space advocacy more effectively. Please direct all comments and questions regarding Space Show programs/guest(s) to the Space Show blog, https://thespaceshow.wordpress.com. Comments and questions should be relevant to the specific Space Show program. Written Transcripts of Space Show programs are a violation of our copyright and are not permitted without prior written consent, even if for your own use. We do not permit the commercial use of Space Show programs or any part thereof, nor do we permit editing, YouTube clips, or clips placed on other private channels & websites. Space Show programs can be quoted, but the quote must be cited or referenced using the proper citation format. Contact The Space Show for further information. In addition, please remember that your Amazon purchases can help support The Space Show/OGLF. See www.onegiantleapfoundation.org/amazon.htm. For those listening to archives using live365.com and rating the programs, please email me as to why you assign a specific rating to the show. This will help me bring better programming to the audience.

We welcomed Alexandra (Ally) Abrams to the show to learn more about how best to carry on effective communications regarding our space advocacy interests and efforts. Ally is the new Director of Communications for the Space Frontier Foundation plus she does communications for Boeing and previously for GE (see her full bio). During the first segment of our 93 minute program, Ally first responded to my question about her earning a bachelor’s degree in writing and rhetoric from Syracuse University. I asked if there was a departmental definition for rhetoric separate from how we typically refer to rhetoric in Space Show discussions. Ally had fun answering this question and that set the tone for what in my opinion was an excellent, informative, and very entertaining discussion with her on how best to communicate our space advocacy passion. Note that it is important to not just have excellent, informative and high quality discussions with our guests but having fun enhances the experiences and helps us learn and retain. After just a few minutes with Ally on The Space Show, it was easy to understand her success and accomplishments in the field of communication and relevant rhetoric, not the B.S. type of rhetoric. In addition, we talked about the narrative, the vision, and the need to tell a good story. She also talked about targeting various groups with different messages though the goals of the message for the organization might be similar. Ally mostly referred to Millennials and Boomers throughout our discussion. As for Millennials, she said they were motivated by wanting to improve the world, to do good and meaningful work and to be a positive force in the community. She cited Planet Labs as an example through their donation program. Also in this segment Ally talked about successful startups and the use of teams given no one person can be an expert in everything. Team members might include an expert in marketing, social media, finance, management as well as other disciplines. Listener John asked Ally a question using the SLS arguments on The Space Show as an example where the talking points for each side never change and nobody really listens to the opposing view. Ally had much to say about this & about removing emotion from the discussion. She also talked about strategies and tips for how to influence the opposition, plus the tactics that can be used to accomplish real communication with the opposition. Other topics in this segment dealt with audience segmentation, more differences in how to reach Boomers as compared to Millennials. Doug called to ask how the SFF support of NewSpace commercial space using Skybox as an example, facilitated the Foundation’s objective of space settlement. Ally offered a great response to this line of questioning that I supported. Don’t miss this discussion.

In the second segment, BJohn send us an email asking if we should stop using the politically charged word colonization for the more benign term settlement. Ally had much to say about this, especially if one wanted to communicate on an international level. Another question asked of our guest was if space advocacy in general would be enhanced and more effective if advocates and organizations spoke with a united voice rather than with so many diverse voices with separate goals. She said the unified approach always works best and one can see this with a simple review of history. Benny asked Ally what she would do if she heard people talking about a space topic, water on Mars for example, in a supermarket line and they were being negative or were poorly informed. Would Ally intervene in the discussion and if so, how would she communicate with these people. This opened the door a good discussion on communicating with the general public. Another suggestion offered us by our guest was to get rid of the use of jargon. Later, I asked our guest if it was important to sway the general public and if so, what percentage of the general public. Ally had much to say about the need to have support from the general public, then how best to communicate to the general public. Near the end of the program, Doug emailed us asking if it was more important to communicate to the general public or the decision makers. Ally suggested both were important but you should listen to her comprehensive response to Doug’s question. Other tips and tools were offered before the show ended and I am sure we will ask Ally to return as a guest to continue working with us to improve on our ability to sell space to other space advocates along with the general public.

Please post your comments/questions on The Space Show blog above. You can reach Ally Abrams through the Space Frontier Foundation website, https://spacefrontier.org.

Comments»

1. rocketscirick - October 7, 2015

I had a lot of fun with this show. I had a lot more comments to make, but I’m going to bore people with them.

So just for fun, I’ll throw out a couple of classic examples of attempts to communicate technology. These speak to the issue of technical jargon, and perhaps science literacy. They are sufficiently classic that hopefully some readers recognize them.

* The Turbo Encabulator – https://youtu.be/Ac7G7xOG2Ag
* Up Goer Five – https://xkcd.com/1133/


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