Review: How to talk about the coronavirus with friends and family

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Review: How to talk about the coronavirus with friends and family

Review: How to talk about the coronavirus with friends and family

This podcast offers advice for communicating with family and friends about COVID-19.

The two-step flow theory states that information starts with the media and then people take that information and filter it out to other people in an attempt to help friends and family members understand information. Science communicators offer four tips for how to communicate about coronavirus with friends and family:

  • Start where you are with the people you are close to
    • Understand your identity as a messenger to know who you can relate to and how to relate to them
  • Pick your battles
    • People process information through different lenses and so it is important not to attack people’s identities (e.g., do not confuse political arguments with science communication)
    • Identify and affirm a shared identity first so that you are trusted and then the person will be more likely to listen because s/he does not feel attacked
  • Avoid unforced errors
    • Do not reinforce misinformation because the more someone hears something, the more likely that person is to believe it, even if untrue
  • Be honest and transparent
|2020-05-27T08:41:22-04:00May 27th, 2020|COVID-19 Literature|0 Comments

About the Author: Maria Brann

Maria Brann
Dr. Maria Brann, PhD, MPH, is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and affiliate faculty with the Injury Control Research Center at West Virginia University. She explores the integration of health, interpersonal, and gender communication. Her translational focus and mixed methods approach are woven throughout her health vulnerabilities research, which advocates for more effective communication to improve people’s health and safety. Her primary research interests focus on the study of women’s and ethical issues in health communication contexts and promotion of healthy lifestyle behaviors to improve personal and public health and safety. She researches communication at both the micro and macro levels and studies how communication influences relationships among individuals and with the social world.

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