The Secrets of Science Communication revealed at NRN-LCEE workshop

On Wednesday 22 August, the NRN-LCEE team was pleased to welcome Dr Helen Scales and Zoe Trinder-Widdess to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff, where they delivered an excellent workshop on science communication.

Zoe going through some of the tips available at the workshopZoe going through some of the tips available at the workshop‘The Secrets of Science Communication’ attracted Lecturers, postdocs and PhD students from across Wales and covered a broad range of topics. In the morning, Zoe started the day with an overview of different contexts in which good science communication would be advantageous. She gave lots of practical tips and dos & don’ts on how to make your science to appeal and be understood by your audience: From cutting jargon to choosing the angle of your narrative, removing unnecessary words and different layouts. Helen followed on from this with some excellent advice on how to use good science communication in academic papers. The power of a good abstract and title became clear and she also provided direct feedback from major journal editors on the most common issues and flaws that they encounter in submitted work.

After lunch, Helen gave an inspirational account on how to write a good story, drawing from her own experience and some of the writers that inspired her. Building a good narrative clearly provides many powerful ways to get your science across. Again, editors from major publishers had also provided their view on what makes a good story. Following this, Zoe gave an insight into the other end of the communication spectrum: effective use of Twitter. There are many more tools to manage your network, get information out to target audiences and track its reach and use, than most workshop attendees had ever realised! The day ended with a session on face-to-face communication by Helen, where she tapped from her own vast experience presenting on (live) radio programmes, science festivals and other interactive fora.

Plenty of words that can be cut from many science textsPlenty of words that can be cut from many science textsAll in all, Helen and Zoe presented an educational workshop with something to take home and improve on for everyone. As they both concluded: “Never defenestrate someone, when you can simply push them out of a window.” And as one of the attendees commented: “It’s not just about publishing our research in a journal, it’s about what we do with the research to create a bigger impact.” How to achieve this has certainly become more attainable with the advice from this workshop.

Publication date: 22 August 2018