Communication Resources


The Benefits of Understanding Your Audience
The more you know and understand the background of your audience and their needs, the better you can prepare your speech.

Who Is Your Most Engaged Audience?
A breakdown of 5 distinct kinds of audiences to help you identify yours before you try writing content for them.

Science Communication vs. Science Writing: Different audiences and different styles
An example of two papers addressing the same topics are necessary because they are written for two different audiences.

 Clear Writing

Ready, set, speak! Tips for effectively communicating your science with public audiences
Dr. Allison Coffin, Assistant Professor of Neuroscience at Washington State University Vancouver, explains the importance of communicating your research and shares a few tips on how to do so.

Tear Down These Walls
A blog post that argues the need to break down “jargon walls.”

Four Perspectives on Communicating Your Research, and Then One More. #EB2012
Interesting blog on the importance of communicating your research.

Words Matter
A list of terms that have different meanings for scientists and the public and words to use instead.

Index of Banned Words
A continually-updated list of jargon you shouldn’t use if you want to write about science.

Science Writing: how do you make complex issues accessible and readable?
A debate between five of world’s foremost science writers on what makes good science writing.

Write Less, Say More: The Power of Brevity
Useful tips to get your point across.

Developing Effective Key Messages
A practical guide to developing clear, concise key messages.

Clear language summaries are tools for research outreach and knowledge mobilization
ResearchImpact summarized the importance of using clear language and Social Media to engage a wider audience.

Why the pen is sometimes mightier than the pipette – Part 1
Why you should write lay summaries to increase the impact of your research.

Communication 101: Illustrate Your Points
Video from the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting with best practices for communicating your research.

Should we use powerful or uncertain language in science writing?
Scientist-turned-journalist Paige Brown Jarreau looks at how effective powerful language is in science communication.

No, Writing Intelligibly Is Not “Dumbing It Down”
Science writer Matt Shipman argues that the absence of jargon is not “dumbing it down,” but using a “shared language.”

 Interacting with the Media

Tips for a Successful Media Interview

Working with Reporters: Interview Tips
Interview tips from scientists.

How do I become “media savvy”?
A practical media guide for scientists.

DePaul University Media Interview Tips
A thorough media relations guide with useful interview tips.

A Guide to Successful Media Interviews
A thorough, informative and useful interview guide on the different types of media and how to prepare for an interview.

Infographic – A quick guide to handling media interviews
A brief, visual guide to handling interviews.

Handling Media Interviews – A Few Tips
Tips from the Xavier University of Louisiana for media interviews.

New research details how journalists verify information
An article that explains the process by which journalists verify their information to achieve accuracy.

Handling Tricky Interviews

Crazy Callers: 4 Tips to Defuse Radio Rants
Tips on handling an angry caller.

Five Ways to Avoid Being Misquoted by Reports
Simple steps to increase the odds that the reports will get your story right.

An answer to avoiding the question
How to answer tricky questions from reporters.

Bridging over Troubled Water
How to transition away from a confrontational or difficult question.

Defuse Leading Questions
How to identify and how to handle leading questions.

Advice: Eight Warning Signs That a Reporter Plans to Flip the Script
When to be wary during a media interview.

How to Derail with a Troublesome Journalist
A short story of how a U.S government official turned a dispute with the media into a positive relationship.

How to Respond When Responding is Illegal
Four ways to work around a tricky situation.

How to Avoid the TV Talk Show Bait
Real examples of how talk show guests avoided being baited by the hosts and stuck to their agenda.

Counteracting the Reporter’s Most Powerful Weapon – Color Words
A list of negative, emotional color words used by some reporters and how to handle them.

Other Media Resources

A Guide for Scientists on Giving Comments to Journalists
Tips from award-winning science writer Ed Yong on what journalists look from scientists.

A Guide to Writing Press Releases: Insider Tips from a Newspaper Report
A thorough guide on how to write a news release and tips on how to pitch it, what to expect and what reporters need.

Don’t Use Numbers – Use Social Statistics
How to cite statistics in a more powerful and effective way.

Don’t be a windshield wiper
Short and funny video clip on how to interact with TV reporters.



Want to Improve Science Communication? Start with Bad PowerPoint Habits
An informative blog of what not to do with PowerPoint, written by someone who writes a lot about science.

You Suck At PowerPoint!
A fun presentation with tips on delivering an engaging and effective presentation.

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha: tips, resources & examples
Tips for both presenters ad organizers, with resources for creating an effective presentation.

Guide to Making a Pecha Kucha Presentation
Helpful advice from picking a topic to designing your presentation to practising and delivering your talk.

Presentation Skills I Learnt from Pecha Kucha
Brian Ling of Design Sojourn shares 7 lessons from his Pecha Kucha presentation.

General Presentation Resources

12 Ways to Hook an Audience in 30 Seconds
A list of hooks you can use to grab your audience’s attention.

15 Seconds to a Better Presentation
Inc. shares four easy tips to help you keep your audience.

Public Speaking for Introverts
6 tips from Susan Cain, author of New York Times bestseller QUIET: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.

Coping with Presentation Anxiety & “Stage Fright”
5 tips on how to get over your nervousness when presenting.

10 Tips on Giving a Killer Presentation
Some good tips to stand out from the crowd when you’re in front of them room.

 Social Media

Why Use Social Media?

Social Media for Scientists series by science writer and blogger Christie Wilcox:
Part 1: It’s Our Job
Part 2: You Do Have the Time
Part 2.5: Breaking Stereotypes
Part 3: Win-Win
Part 4: On the Road
Part 5: It’s Time to e-Volve

The role of Twitter in the life cycle of a scientific publication
A paper that details how Twitter can be a useful tool to provide a valuable contribution to scientific publishing.

Podcast: Do Scientists Need Social Media?
Learn how scientists can help you communicate your research.

Why should scientists use Twitter?
Read about how Twitter can help you network, get advice, and more.

Why Do Scientists Use Twitter?
Scientists tweet their reasons for using Twitter.

Using Twitter for Research Projects
Brief Twitter guide for researchers.

Social Media in Space
An article on how Canadian astronaut and Commander of the International Space Station, Chris Hadfield, used social media to communicate space travel to hundreds of thousands of people.

Online Media: You are the Source
Videos from the 2013 AAAS Annual Meeting that highlight tips on using social media to communicate science.

The Ideal Length of Everything Online, Backed by Research
Solid research exists to show the value of writing, tweeting, and posting at certain lengths. This article provides scientific social media guidelines

Tweetable science posters
A blog post that explains the advantages of creating a simple tweetable poster that can reach beyond that of the traditional conference posters.

An Army of Helpers: Twitter as a Reporting Tool
Science writer Viviane Callier examines how Twitter can be a useful tool in monitoring live events, obtaining news as events happen, understanding emerging stories, and more.

Getting Started

Tweet Your Science
Includes a Twitter guide, resources, and database of other scientists on Twitter.

A gentle introduction to Twitter for the apprehensive academic
Why you should join sign up for Twitter, and how to start.

Learning the Foreign Language of Twitter
Lost in a sea of acronyms and symbols? This article can help explain them.

Using Twitter in university research, teaching and impact activities
London School of Economics and Political Science’s guide for academics and researchers.

A Must-Read Guide to Twitter Slang, Lingo, Abbreviations and Acrononyms
Confused about all the RTs, MTs and # symbols you find on Twitter? Entrepreneur magazine breaks it down for you.

3 Great Sources of Social Media Inspiration
Hootsuite shares a few sources to help you overcome your social media writer’s block.

Top N Genome Scientists to Follow on Twitter: 2013 Edition
A list of scientists to follow, especially if you are an upcoming researcher in genomics.

Increasing Your Social Media Impact

Twitter Tweet Cheat Sheet
An infographic to maximize the impacts of your tweets.

Tweeting to the Choir? Tips on Using Twitter for Outreach
4 simple tips to engage and connect with a diverse group of followers on Twitter.

Committing to Social Media Monitoring
Tips to help you monitor social media better.

Science reveals what really increases Twitter followers
An article with tips on how to boost your number of Twitter followers.

140 Twitter Characters to Knowledge Mobilization
How to effectively use Twitter for knowledge mobilization.

A scientific guide to writing great headlines on Twitter, Facebook and your Blog
Tips, with specific examples, to increase engagement.

10 Common Mistakes You’re Probably Making on Twitter
What to do and what not to do on Twitter.

How to break into science writing using your blog and social media
Scientific American blog editor Bora Zivkovic explains the basics of how to become a science writer.

How to create perfect social media posts
An infographic with guidelines on how to increase engagement with your Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and more.

How to Tweet with a Purpose
Young Entrepreneur’s 6 tips to building a relationship with your followers.

30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore
Hubspot debunks some of the worst social media advices.

The 7 biggest counterintuitive social media mistakes you may be making
The Next Web identifies 7 mistakes and how to avoid them.

Useful Social Media Tools

Find backgrounds to customize your Twitter profile.

Find out how influential you are on social media.

Measure and analyze your social media impact.

Find content easily with this collection.

 Blogs and Websites

Why blog?

9 Reasons Why Running a Science Blog is Good for You
A list of advantages to blogging your research, including gaining exposure, engaging with your audience, and much more.

How to Learn by Blogging about Science
Physician Scott Wagers’ 12 steps to gain the most from blogging.

Science Blogs and Your PhD: A trump card for your scientific career
An article that explains some of the perks that come from blogging your research.

How to write a blogpost from your journal article
Some good reasons why you should write a blog post about your journal article, and tips on how to do so.

Getting Started

UBC Blogs
Sign up for a UBC blog, which is available to the entire UBC community.

UBC Website
Request your free UBC-hosted website that builds on the university’s Common Look and Feel theme using WordPress.

WordPress 101 Tutorial
A series of YouTube videos on how to use WordPress by the U20 Science community.

WordPress 101
U20 Science’s guide to using WordPress.

How to set up a science blog
A brief guide to starting your blog.


One-on-One Clinic
The UBC Centre for Teaching, Learning & Technology (CTLT) hosts one-on-one WordPress clinics every Monday and Thursdays from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. Sign up at the link above.

Promoting Your Blog

25 Smart Ways to Promote Your Latest Blog Post
A brief guide to increasing traffic to your blog.

7 Simple Ways to Attract More People to Your Blog
A few tips to getting your blog noticed.

 Strategic Communications

Checklist Communication Strategy Development
A presentation based on a checklist of strategic questions developed by IRC Water and Sanitation Centre to help develop a communication strategy.


How to communicate your work through stories
An article with steps on how to tell your research through stories.

Pixar’s 22 Rules of Storytelling
A list of rules from Emma Coats, former story artist at Pixar, on ways in which to tell a fun and interesting story to your audience.

Storytelling, Social Media, Equity, Knowledge Mobilization & Donuts!
Share knowledge through a presentation, blog or conversation in a more interesting way by telling a story.

Articulating Your Content Strategy Like a Child’s Story Book
Use visuals to make a bigger impact with your story.

3 days to better storytelling
A 3-part blog series with resources on how to strengthen your storytelling skills.

 Examples of Science Communication

Tria Decodes Mountain Pine Beetle Genome
In March 2013, Tria researcher Dr. Chris Keeling published a paper on the mountain pine beetle genome, a story that has generated considerable media interest and coverage.

Five things I learned when my research went viral
Heidi Appel, Senior Research Scientist at University of Missouri-Columbia, shares 5 reasons why her paper went viral, featured in 4,300 media outlets and accumulated over 12,000 Facebook likes in four days.

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