Tips for more impact
Thanks for attending our Impact workshop or lecture! We’ve summarized our most important tips, tools, and links below. You can learn even more about science communication in our article series.
Don’t forget to fill out our feedback form below so we can make this workshop even better!
Questions? E-mail us at email@example.com
Ingredients for making impact
Define the impact you want to make
You don’t want to “inform people”, you want to create an impact! This means having a concrete positive effect on people and the world, like improving health, creating prosperity, protecting the environment or contributing to life-changing technologies. Define your goal, message and audience.
Choose a target audience
Think about why your message is relevant for your audience and how you can help them! In other words: don’t make them think, and don’t assume they know everything already. And make sure your message aligns with the audience you pick.
- Fill out your University profile page.
- Fill out your LinkedIn page: add projects, images, testimonials, information about your research.
- Ask questions at a conference.
- Present a poster at a conference.
- Give presentations.
- Voice your opinion on Twitter.
- Create an engaging visual from your research.
- Be a guest in a podcast (or create one!)
- Start a blog.
- Write a column in a magazine.
- Claim your domain name and create a personal website.
- Create a fact sheet about your research.
- Write a book.
Write your key message
Impact starts with a great message! Write down your key message in a single sentence, by thinking about the following:
- What is the goal of your message?
- Who is your audience? Who can benefit directly from your message? And why is it relevant for them?
- What is the main thing you want to convey? This is the thing you want people to remember.
Need more help with this? Read more examples on how to create an engaging message in our article: How to design a poster presentation so your research stands out.
- Don’t use jargon.
- Always write in active voice, do not use passive sentences.
- Use transition words like therefore and however.
- Use logos, ethos and pathos in your story.
- Start with a provocative question, anecdote, quote, or amazing fact.
- End with a question, a call to action, a referral to your opening statement.
There is too much fast food in Rotterdam, causing children to be overweight.
Therefore, we want to activate policy makers to create new legislation to reduce fast food outlets in Rotterdam with an infographic.
In order to reduce obesity and improve public health.
Design your text
Remember that 79% of people on the web only scan text. So write conclusive headings that summarize the paragraph below it.
Not “Introduction” but “Bats can carry diseases that infect humans”. So that people don’t have to work to get your message.
- A good paragraph length is 5-6 lines, and 50 characters wide.
- Always left-align your text, so you don’t create gaps in your paragraphs (and don’t center-align long paragraphs).
- Find the structure of your text and design elements accordingly. Can you design a date, a heading, a byline, a side note differently so it’s easier to scan?
- Give your text room to breathe.
- Always align your text to the left (never center text).
-Use real bullet points and not dashes like these, because they do not make your text more legible.
- If you use bullet points, make sure the sentence is a grammatically correct sentence.
- Always use H1, H2, H3 headings in your text so people can scan your text (nobody reads anything anumore).
Great body fonts
Great heading fonts
Read more about content design
Shape your message
A Word document is often not the right form for your message. So try to think of a great form in which to shape your message. Is it a website, infographics, animated video, poster, presentation or scrollytelling website? Find some inspiration in our overview of sci-comm forms.
Copy-right free images
Professional stock photography pond5.com, 123rf.com,dreamstine.com, istockphoto.com, bigstockphoto.com
- thenounproject.com – general icons
- flaticons.net – general icons
- scidraw.io – scientific icons
- bioicons.com – scientific icons
Fonts & colors
- fonts.google.com: Free fonts to download for use in presentations or websites.
- dafont.com: Free fonts, not so great for online use.
- https://color.adobe.com/explore: Inspiration for colors schemes.
- Shade generator
- colorzilla: Browser extension to pick colors.
- Contrast checker – Check for accessibility
- Accessible color generator
Read more about design
Reach your audience
People will find you mostly by using a search engine or linking from another website (such as your university profile page). Think about what people will search for:
- Your name
- Your expertise
- A question they have about your expertise
Once you know this, write about it so that people can actually find you. Each page has only one H1 heading and a unique title that’s most important for SEO (search engine optimization).
Blog about your expertise! Go to Answer The Public to find what people are searching for. Some examples:
- A question: Does vitamin D boost the immune system?
- A benefit for your audience: 10 scientific ways to improve your sleep
- How to: How to do a regression analysis in SPSS
Using (social) media
The media are a great intermediary to help you reach more uniform parts of the general audience. Think about which media can help you reach your audience. If you use social media, you can choose and do this yourself, but this requires more work. Be aware of the differences and similarities between science and the media.
When you want to attract attention from a journalist, ask yourself how these people would likely find you? What do they Google?
Tips before you do a media interview
First you ask questions: what do they want, who are they (writing for)? An interview never ends, and off the record doesn’t exist. Don’t let anyone put words in your mouth.
How to get your message across:
- Be honest about your message: add context, no bravado! The one essential thing about talking to the media as a scientist.
- Come up with a statement, a story and a statistic to illustrate your point.
- Use bridging to shift attention towards you message.
Before you start using social media…
- Think about what it means to your privacy and free time.
- What do you want to get out of it?
Then, build your online presence by completing your university and LinkedIn profiles, and expand from there.
Read our e-book
Cause an Effect- A practical guide to designing science presentations that engage & inspire where we share all our tips and tricks on great presentation design.
Share your feedback!
We hope our workshop made you a better science communicator. As we often say: “Feedback turns good into better, and better into best”. So we’d love to hear from you what you liked and how we can improve. We’ll be eternally grateful for your feedback!
Read more tips in our science communication blog
Want to become a better science communicator? Book one of our workshops!
Basics of Science Communication
Learn how to engage your audience effectively
Avoid the PowerPoint traps and visualize your message
Science in the media
How to engage media with confidence
Storytelling for scientists
Use narrative techniques to talk about your research in a new way
IMPACT with science communication
Get creative with your science communication for impact!
Design Crash Course
Learn the design principles to create more impact
Poster design & graphical abstracts
How to communicate your research visually
Create a personal website
The nuts and bolts about creating a personal academic website
Get inspiration for your next post to create an impact online!
Are you an online scientist?
Your first steps towards a better online profile
Write a slogan for your research
A jumpstart into approaching your audience