Who’s afraid of the teddy bear?

A training, early last year.

A researcher is working on a story for a broad audience. About UAS: Unmanned Aircraft Systems.

I ask why he doesn’t just use the word ‘drone’.

Well, UAS is a term used in European legislation. And that’s what the research is about. What’s more: UAS is a broader term that also encompasses the person operating the drone.

But ‘drone’ may be easier to understand for your audience, I propose.


Later in the course, I have another suggestion: he could give an example of one specific drone. Maybe a drone that flies here, through this city, to deliver a teddy bear to a sick little girl.

Resistance again. His research is not about teddy bears or sick girls.

I admit: I made this conversation up. But I regularly have conversations like this one.

Many experts are afraid to make their story simpler and more ‘popular’.

Maybe it helps to think of communication as a spectrum.

Good communication is a fair bit to the right side of this spectrum: approaching ‘popular’. But ‘too popular’ also exists.

Most experts don’t have to worry about that. Their comfort zone ends way before that.

Therefore, I often challenge experts to move to the right side of this spectrum. And to make their story more accessible, understandable and fun.

To not be too scared of the teddy bear.