How to spark communication in science

Our future Problem Solvers

Scientists are a critical stepping stone in driving the future forward. They live among the main population group, solving global problems such as climate change, fighting global health dangers like Ebola and the Zika Virus and many other issues. They are (mostly) working for one common goal: To make the future a better place for the next generations to come. But scientists can also not exist without non-scientists. Why? Because it needs different mindsets, different perspectives and generally a diverse set of skills to make things happen.

The “Nerdy” Talk

In her witty and concise four-minute talk Melissa Marshall, a communications teacher specializing in teaching speaking skills to engineering students at Penn State University, explains the communication barrier between scientists and non-scientists. Moreover she gives a few interesting pointers on how to spark communication between those two groups. She emphasizes the importance of alleviating the barriers, because scientist’s ideas need to be heard and understood. Melissa Marshall is a crusader against bullet points and an evangelist supporting effective slide design in scientific presentations. She believes that the future depends on the innovations of scientists and engineers, and is passionate about helping them to tell the story of their work to the public. 

Now to the non-scientists among you, did you ever feel bamboozled (a typical example of a non-scientist word, right?) when you were told by a scientist about what they do professionally or what they have invented or discovered in their research?


Also, scientists: How frustrating must it be to explain that over and over again, reaching the point where it stops being exciting even for yourself? 

“Have you ever wondered why they’re called bullet points? (Laughter). What do bullets do? Bullets kill, and they will kill your presentation.”

Well, Marshall has come up with several solutions to the problem and ways of how the understanding between two very different knowledge groups can be fostered. She has even formulated a scientific equation to this communication problem. Check it out here:

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About Olivia List

Olivia is doing her Master's in Business studies and has specialized in marketing before. She is interested in health topics, innovations in the health industry, psychology as well as digital marketing and media and loves to eat, think, talk and write about food ;)

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