One of the most important aspects of research includes communicating your findings to others. Depending on if you are presenting to others in your field, researchers outside of your field, the general public, or even children, your strategies for talking about your research will have to be adjusted in order to become an effective speaker.
An important step to effective communication is to be aware of the language that you are using. Bill Nye said on an interview on the podcast Ologies that he attempts to clarify and define a scientific term before he ever uses it, which I have found to be an extremely helpful tool in seamlessly blending jargon into any communication. Using language that only those in your field will understand is a quick way to alienate your audience.
Even when writing for others in your field, it does not serve the author to write in unclear and excessively complex ways. It is important to keep in mind the big picture of your project, and of research in general, to share your findings with others. Articles that are the most easily accessible are more likely to make a greater impact on their field.
Since I am potentially interested in a career in wildlife biology, understanding how to communicate with a general audience is imperative to that field. It might be easier to capture your audience’s attention, since many people are interested in wildlife, but fields like wildlife biology and conservation have the hefty goal of education and outreach to the general public as a strategy to conserve our natural resources. A lot of wildlife biology research has implications for the general public, especially when it comes to wildlife management which can have social, economic, and ecological implications to the public. In those cases it is important to not forget the people that your research also affects and to inform them in an interesting and easily digestible way. Changing human behavior is difficult, and having a clear idea of the significance of your research and how to convey that in a way that is interpreted correctly is important to achieve that goal.
Through this fellowship I hope to hone my communication skills even further through first practicing on other researchers. Having to quickly and effectively explain my project and its significance was surprisingly difficult for me at first, but I have already seen the difference when people ask me what my project entails.