We all have to summarize research, promote ourselves, and win over indifferent audiences, but how do we do all of those things simultaneously when our listeners don’t understand our aims or vocabulary? Elevator pitches are about presenting a product or idea, using a distilled message to make a sale or win over a key player, but summarizing DH for people used to authority and concision can be a challenge.
I’d like to talk about good approaches to advocating effectively and quickly for DH, whether talking with the general public, administrators, or potential donors. I think doing DH in the open means, at least right now, not just putting files online, ensuring public access, going CC, etc.: I think we have to be able to communicate to the people who don’t come knocking at our door. I categorized this as a “Talk” session, but depending on who’s interested, we might want to play around with practice pitches + instant feedback, or role playing. Here are some conversation sparks:
Shock & Awe. What are some of our favorite phrases or facts for talking about the power or breadth of digital humanities approaches? How about sharing our favorite sites or apps to showcase on phone or tablet?
Business Cards. How do you represent yourself–DH first, middle, or last? Do you use any jargon? Do you give people formal business, cards, informal cards, share your Twitter handle?
If you’re at an institution without a huge DH presence, or you’re meeting with someone who’s not that interested in it, how do you demonstrate the value of DH? What are some good strategies to use when your Provost/Dean/Principal/Lead asks why you haven’t produced a monograph (or three) yet?
Finally, why do I care about this? I’m a librarian, and while I work with students and faculty “doing” DH, I also work with people who have varying levels of awareness of it, or who might be interested but have little time to find an entry point. Maybe most of all, I want to be able to speak more effectively with people who are interested in contributing time, money, or energy to DH efforts, but who need convincing.