Scientists, what’s your communications strategy?

ChatBubblesI’m just starting to prepare some training for PhD students and early career scientists to help them become good communicators as well as top researchers.

I’m convinced that communication is not about personality, although if you are a natural storyteller then it is oh-so-much easier. But the best communication (and by ‘best’ I mean ‘effective’) is driven by strategy not charisma. Purposeful planning is the key.

As a contracted copywriter I sometimes forget about the strategy behind my work. People call me up because they need me to write something, perhaps a brochure or a case study for their website. I always ask them about the purpose of the piece and its intended audience, but often I am hired just to deliver words (admittedly, my questions about the brief can sometimes push me into more of an advisory role).

My new workshop will encourage attendees to develop their own communications strategy. Here are a few reasons why everyone should have one:

  • Purpose: if you know why communication is important then it becomes a legitimate part of your work, rather than an annoying add-on or exciting distraction (depending on your preferences)
  • Focus: know what you want your communication to achieve
  • Time management: find the balance between research and communication
  • Career development: understand how your communication can support your career ambitions
  • Impact: make sure your research makes a difference in the world (and boost your institution’s REF ranking too!)

If you are an early career researcher or PhD student, please share your own experiences of communication. Do you think it is important? What kind of support or training do you think you need? Please add your comments below!

In future blog posts I’ll be exploring some of these ideas in more detail. I’ll also provide you with practical tips and tools, not just to develop your strategy but also to plan and deliver engaging “campaigns”. If you can’t wait, contact me to find out more about the workshops.

Filed under: Communication strategy,dissemination,University issues | Tags: , , , , | By Edwin on April 23, 2015 at 2:48 am

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