Movie subtitles advanced the spread of foreign films throughout the world. Adding translated text to the bottom of the screen during a film allowed for an entire nation to share their art and culture to another. Even though a film’s content remains unchanged, subtitles enable the artist’s message to spread across a wide audience.
Subtitles are similar to how you effectively communicate your research. With the right communication tools, the same research message can be shared to many different audiences. One technique for researchers to subtitle their presentations is through the use of analogies. Analogies can effectively explain a complex process by comparing it to a more general one. Communicating your research into understandable terms allows for a wider diffusion of information. Just like the subtitles of a movie, effective communication allows you to share your art with more of the world. In general, a broader understanding of your research problem among others leads to a greater appreciation for its significance. If a larger number of people can understand your idea, then there’s more potential for discussion from diverse angles of expertise.
Both research and business require the ability to create these real-life subtitles for different audiences to make sure that everyone is on the same page. Whether I pursue graduate school or the marketing industry upon graduation, the skill of effectively presenting material to multiple audiences is essential. For graduate school, students must be able to defend their ideas and write in a way that specialized individuals can understand. Mastering a certain discipline requires the ability to convey its specific topics in general terms. In marketing, one of the first terms you learn is market segmentation—the idea that people have different interests and needs for a certain product or service. The target audience for a single product can have multiple market segments, each with distinct characteristics to appeal to. Marketing segmentation represents only one of the many situations that effective communication skills is necessary for working within industry.
When considering professional goals, it is always good to keep in mind the people you will encounter and the best means of communicating with them. In my own career, I look forward to crossing boundaries between business, academia, and other institutions for the opportunity to learn and discuss new ideas with others. While I am still unsure if my path will be in academia or industry, I’ll make sure to subtitle my work for each unique audience along the way!