The first time I tried to explain my lab work to my parents, it was not the smoothest conversation. Due to their limited scientific background, the concepts I was already familiar with seemed like incomprehensible gibberish to them. Eventually, I was able to get the main point across, but I knew there was still some lingering confusion. From this and trying to explain my research to friends, I knew that I had to work on my delivery.
The ability to effectively communicate one’s research is a crucial yet often overlooked skill. It would be incredibly beneficial for the academic community to incorporate formal training on communicating to the public, like the discussions we have in weekly meetings in the HSRF. This would enable researchers to better showcase the importance and impact of their work to the public and fellow scientists outside their field. In my opinion, the first tip is to simplify technicalities and be direct about the core aims of your research. By avoiding jargon that can confuse an unfamiliar audience, it keeps their focus on the main ideas rather than being confused. Additionally, illustrating the significance of your research through statistics or engaging stories can be effective. Personal anecdotes about diseases you are studying or statistics on the prevalence of certain conditions can make your message more relatable. Platforms like BioRender are also useful for creating figures that illustrate complex procedures or concepts that may be difficult to explain verbally. Continuous refinement and sharing your research with diverse audiences will strengthen communication skills and help gain insight into which aspects resonate most with people.
Aspiring to become a physician and potentially pursue further research, effective communication is a personal goal of mine. It is crucial for physicians to be able to communicate ideas clearly to patients, their families, and the general public. This will ensure that patients understand the issue at hand and can trust their physician’s recommended therapies. Furthermore, effective communication with the public encourages preventive measures and fosters a healthier society. Miscommunication only leads to confusion and distrust between patients and doctors. Moreover, within the medical team, there will be non-specialists who need to be well-informed to provide the best possible care. The HSRF program has played an instrumental role in teaching the foundations of these skills and emphasizing the importance of effective communication in the field of science.