Increasingly, scientists are stepping out of their laboratories to discuss their research and findings with the public. Research topics and studies are being translated into news articles for widespread consumption across the world.
As discussed in the paper, ‘Considerations for effective science communication’ published in the Canadian Science Publishing, this science-related knowledge sharing has driven scientists to delve deeper into ‘how to communicate effectively’.
The research paper recommends 16 highly useful considerations for scientists seeking science communication:
Tips for effective Science Communication:
- Define what science communication means to you and your research: Determining whether your work needs or why it needs communication is vital to your research objectives.
- Know and listen to your target audience: Understanding your audience and their pre-disposed mindsets will determine how to approach and deliver the information.
- Consider a diverse but coordinated communication portfolio: Plethora of tools are available in today’s day and age to communicate with your audience. It is important to identify the most effective approach to reach your audience.
- Draft skilled players and build a network: Build an organized team inclusive of communications experts who can bridge the gap between academia and the industry.
- Create and seize opportunities: Be aware of opportunities/platforms to discuss your work. Sometimes creating these opportunities on your own also help in amplifying your message.
- Be creative when you communicate: Creativity helps in attracting your target audience.
- Focus on the science in science communication: Retaining the science in your story is crucial because that is the sole reason why your target audience wants to listen to you.
- Be an honest broker: Science communication should not be done by over-sensationalizing or overpromising research results.
- Understand the science of science communication: Learn the art of communicating science by studying different techniques and understanding the varied audience types and mindsets.
- Think like an entrepreneur: Communicating science is directly related to reputation building. Scientists should think like marketers while approaching science communication and think of their research as a ‘market-driven product’.
- Don’t let your colleagues stop you: The field of science is changing and it has become increasingly important for scientists to step out of their ‘small professional bubbles’ and talk about their work as stated in the paper, Considerations for effective science communication.
- Integrate science communication into your research program: Planning and implementation of the research program should include science communication. The scientific process can also be as intriguing as the outcome of the research while communicating science to your audience.
- Recognize how science communication enhances your science: Sometimes understanding the audience’s feedback and considering their inputs can enhance a research study to make it more relevant.
- Request science communication funds from grants: In a lot of cases, science communication is eligible for funds which can help a scientist buy tools, add resources or even fund his/her research project.
- Strive for bidirectional communication: Engaging in a two-way communication can help in understanding the audience’s feedback and consequently enhance the research study.
- Evaluate, reflect, and be prepared to adapt: Continuous evaluation, reflection, and adaptation are crucial to science communication.
Communicating science is an art. PR Associates can help you present the most complex scientific concepts to a wide group of non-science audience and positively influence their behaviour.