Be Able to Communicate Your Work Effectively to Any Audience
The Plain Writing Act of 2010 (H.R. 946/Public Law 111-274) requires the federal government to write documents, such as tax returns, federal college aid applications, and Veterans Administration forms in simple easy-to-understand language…”
Communicating your ideas clearly to a general audience is crucial to them understanding your research topic and interests. A general audience may include people who have never heard of your topic and are much more familiar with other fields which is why your writing has to be very clear and avoid technical language. You will have a greater opportunity to receive funding if your audience understands what is being funded. To help you with this process there are tips and resources available below.
Resources & Examples
Use Plain Language that the General Public can Understand! Run your work through this readability checker. Try to make your work readable at a Grade 10 or lower.
Check out these before and after examples for using plain language from the NIH.
Checkout this NIH page for more information on making your science clear for the general audience.
The Message Box is a useful tool for developing your elevator pith. The entire workbook can be found here: https://www.compassscicomm.org/the-message-box-workbook. Reference: COMPASS Science Communication, Inc. (2017). The Message Box Workbook. https://www.compassscicomm.org/
Intro video for developing an elevator pitch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KNsAV5-TRmA
Check out this book: Marc J. Kuchner’s “Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times.” By day, Kuchner is an astrophysicist who works for NASA. In his off-hours, he’s a country and western songwriter. And while the book is titled “…for Scientists,” the principles he sets out in the book apply equally well to scholarship and creative artistry. It's a short book, with plenty of examples and anecdotes, and not overly technical.
Tips from FSU Senior Faculty
- Don’t forget to introduce yourself (in one to two sentences) if you do not already know the audience
- Realize an opportunity for presenting your pitch, and have it ready
- Don’t give a pitch when it’s not wanted
- Know your goal- for your particular audience
- Use successful models (e.g., watch video clips of good elevator pitches)
- Don’t get lost in the detail
- Make it personal
- Don’t speak the way you write, use simple language
- Know your audience, and make the pitch connect with them
- Use mental images and mnemonics to help you recall your pitch
- Convey a societal relevance
- Practice saying your pitch out loud, with feedback