Importance of Science Communication

Posted on Oct 02, 2017
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“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:

  1. 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.
  2. Media outlets have fewer journalists with a deep science background so make your pitch interesting, relevant and story-based (not information-based).
  3. 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.
  4. 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!

I hope you can make use of these tips.  And I would love to help you communicate your science. Just give me a call.

By

Megan Helmer

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