“Good science writing must explain, but also elucidate by showing interconnectedness and enchant by transcending the sum of the information.”
And with that sentence, I knew I was among my people! I recently attended the Science Writers and Communicators of Canada conference in Ottawa, and it was a delight to be among such a talented and inspiring group. Below, I share a couple of things I picked up from the conference that may help you in communicating your science: But first, I want to tell you why I was there.
Recently, PR Associates rebranded as a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) focused communication and public relations firm.
It isn’t the most common “PR” focus, but it’s truly a perfect fit for us. The company has been working in the mining and engineering space since its inception; our founder covered tech and health as some of his beats as a journalist; most of my career has been in technical fields, biotech, clean-tech, marine technology and now mining for more than six years; and my entire team has science communication know-how.
I spend a lot of my time going to conferences and events to meet people who may be interested in our services. But I also believe in keeping my communication skills sharp, so I can offer my clients high-quality and relevant advice. And I knew this conference would offer me some education. I was so impressed by it, that I’ve offered to help with the conference when it comes to Vancouver in 2018. More on that in the coming months.
4 Simple Tips for Science Communication
Now, the tips I promised:
- Science is a process; not an end game. But your non-science audience may not know this. In telling your story, help them to understand the body of research and its implications.
- Media outlets have fewer journalists with a deep science background so make your pitch interesting, relevant and story-based (not information-based).
- The average sound byte in the 80s was 42 seconds, now it’s eight. That’s how long you have, to capture your audience’s attention with your science.
- People are bombarded with more information than ever before (thanks to Google); your information might not sink in the first time. Communicate often and in different forms.
Not rocket science… (insert groan here), but useful nonetheless!