Communicating with Non-scientists: It’s a Ball or Tylenol?

Communicating Non-scientistsEffective communication is one of the most important skills required of a successful scientist.  We’re all accustomed to the process of writing papers, presenting data and giving talks among colleagues.  But once we leave the lab, things can get dicey.  Think of the dinner party where you’re the only scientist and someone asks “What do you do?”

A number of factors influence our experiences in communicating our work to non-scientists.  So to answer the question below, think about your average experience with the general public.  Returning to the dinner party situation, if scenario made you reach for the Rolaids, that should be a hint…



How would you describe explaining your research to non-scientists?

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5 comments so far. Join The Discussion

  1. psi*psi

    wrote on December 7, 2009 at 10:57 am

    Easy! "I make materials for solar cells and flat-screen displays. The technology we're working on lets us print these devices like you would a newspaper!"
    Plus, an instant way to friends with anyone eco-curious or gadget-inclined.

  2. dayman

    wrote on December 7, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    My entire explanation is 90% handwaving. I just hate talking about it because it inevitably leads to "when will you be done?" or "what are you going to do with that?" or, if I'm luck, both.

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