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University of California Los Angeles Gasworks Park Tour Questions

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I’m working on a communications discussion question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.

1) Write an introduction to your talk, keeping in mind the specific location that you are starting at on your site. The five w’s are important to keep in mind when introducing your talk to your audience: who, what, where, when, and why? Let the audience know what your talk is about, why you are meeting at that location, who the most relevant characters are (human or other animals), and anything they need to know about time (of year, in history, etc.). Provide the basic information that we need to know in order to get started and follow your talk. A good introduction is usually somewhere between 2-5 minutes. How many words or pages is that? Read it aloud and time your delivery in order to find out.

2) As part of your introduction, hook the audience. The hook can be whatever grabs the audience’s attention and gets the “hooked” into following your tour and wanting to take part as active listeners. Producing a good hook is an art, not a science. For example, your hook might be a really good question, one that will at least be partially answered by your talk. We listen to stories because we want to know how a central tension or question will be resolved. Ideally, the audience is actively engaged in answering the question as well. That is how you get “buy in” from your audience. Get them interested and involved. However, while all good talks have a central question to be resolved, that is not always accomplished with the hook. That is why the final project rubric has two categories, one for “hook” and one for “question asked and answered.” Those two things might be one and the same, overlap with each other, or completely separate in your talk. 

3) Outline your talk as a whole, including a sentence or two for each stop and the conclusion. Briefly describe what you plan to discuss and/or ask the audience to do at each stop. Cite quotes or pieces of information that you will be using from your journalistic and scholarly resources, with attention to what will genuinely propel your presentation. This is not just about listing information, it is about entertaining and educating your audience through a purposeful narrative, one that has the added advantage of using the landscape to tell the story. In sum, think about the basics of good storytelling: setting, plot (what information goes where?), and characters (key site features, people, and or other animals, that are at the center of your talk).

4) This week’s reading is about “risk communication.” Many of the key terms and concepts in the chapter are fairly dramatic and laden with emotion. In a way, communicating risk is a matter of storytelling using the best available evidence. They are matters of life and death for individuals as well as whole societies. For example, what is the “precautionary principle” if not the story of what could potentially happen to us if we do not take action (and/or cease certain actions and trends). In 100-200 words, explain how one of the concepts in the textbook could relate to your interpretive field project. Make sure you define the concept before explaining how it relates to your site and/or topic.

5) Shelton Johnson is a master interpreter for the National Park Service. What does he do well in this video performance that you would like to do in your talk? It helps to experience many effective interpreters. That is why we have assigned and provided several examples during the course, including past student tours on Izy.Travel as well as expert examples like Mr. Johnson’s performance. Draw inspiration and ideas from them, and then start to produce your best talk. Also, remember that every format is different. Keep in mind the requirements and affordances of the Izy.Travel format and the interpretive talk assignment when crafting your tour. Invest your interest and passion so that your audience will also care about your important site and topic.

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