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Science Communication Workshop: Good Storytelling Has Never Been More Important

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

On the 18th of February 2021, the best experts on scientific communication from IRENE network told us their tips on making scientific data and results more accesible to the public.

Almost 40 participants attended the Science Communication Workshop of IRENE COST Action. While it can be tricky to effectively communicate the difficult scientific matters to lay public, it has become indispensable routine for most scientists in Europe. To master this skill, Dr. Markus Wagner invited members of Implementation Research Network in Stroke Care Quality – IRENE to learn from the best within our collective. Particularly pleasing is the fact that the Workshop managed to attact a high number of Early Career Researchers.

The Science Communication Workshop constitutes the first ever Training School of our Action. IRENE will strive to bring you similar opportunities to grow as an expert, communicator and a leader in stroke care quality.

During the Workshop, we all have strongly agreed that the society would benefit from regular communication comming from researchers. People need someone they trust to explain issues that to them might feel out of reach. In some European countries however, scientists are yet to overcome the lack of trust. To win their support, Dr. Wagner sees storytelling as a way to go.

Story has a clear beginning, middle and end and it needs an appealing headline, said Dr. Wagner.

He reiterated that a certain science idea must make its audience

· unconfused

· pay attention

· understand

· remember

· agree

· care and

· be able to act on

His talk was riddled with usefull tips and compelling examples to build upon in your own endeavors.

Prof. Hendrik Knoche then took the notion of catching the attention of the public and applied it to fine art of data visualisations.

„A picture is worth a thousand words,“ he reminded but only „if you know how to read it.“

Visualisations are not necessarily intuitive, interpretation is what is important and we need to be able to explain, and that is where the storytelling kicks in, Prof. Knoche added.

Despite having huge amount of visualisation possibilities we can always deconstruct them into three questions: What? Why? and How? Attendees on our Workshop could have seen some of the hints to make the right decisions visualising their data. The goal remains the same – to tell an engaging story.

Jumpstarting your social media communication was the last on the menu. Jennifer Thomsen from ESO Head Office clued us in on the tips and tricks that European Stroke Organisation uses to keep the general public engaged.

Social media is now the top source of science information for people. „More and more people are posting images and you are clicking on things because the image gets your attention,“ Thomsen advised. Be consistent in your messages and once you start the conversation be able to finish it, embrace the two-way communication, know your audience and have a posting schedule.

Looking back at the Science Communication Workshop, we appreciate the positive feedback coming from you. In the coming weeks, IRENE will make available short videos from the Workshop so that you can take a look at the most imporant advice once again.

Author: Jakub Simkovic

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