Efrat Resnick, PhD student at the Department of Chemical and Structural Biology, Weizmann Institute of Science
“I always found it hard to talk to other people about my research and explain why it’s so important and interesting. During the Scicomm 1:1 training with Meital I was surprised to find out just how much I actually use jargon when I talk about my research- which in hindsight contributed to the fact that others found it hard to follow and understand my explanations. During the training, I learned to easily explain my research to diverse audiences while adapting to different situations, time frames and the levels of interest and knowledge of people who listen to my talks.
I feel that this training contributed and helped me in ways I couldn’t have imagined, like the fact that I want to talk to diverse audiences even more than I did before. There’s no doubt that when you spend a big portion of your time in an environment that shares your interests and jargon, i.e., your lab, it becomes easier to lose awareness to how you speak when you step outside.
It’s safe to say that I’m out of my comfort zone!”
Daniel Voignac, PhD student in the Department of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture, The Hebrew University (former MSc student at Imperial College London, UK)
“When I explain my research to others, it is often too easy to lose the attention of my audience. This generates a big frustration to me because I always see what I do as being fairly easy. I also felt that I already obtained communication skills in public speaking from past experience. However, when working with Meital in the SciComm workshop, I was able to actually see and measure improvement in science communication skills, and progress, made by my peers and I from one week to the next. Moreover, Meital encouraged us to give each other constructive criticism, an important element on its own in the scientific world, which made it feel much easier to process rather than getting feedback only from the workshop's leader. I believe that the impact of this workshop will go with me a long way as I communicate my research in different forums in my career.”
Tom Manovitz, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Physics, Harvard University
“Having my friends and family share my excitement about my daily achievements in the lab is important to me. But when I tell them about my research in quantum mechanics, I find it extremely hard to bridge the technical knowledge gaps. Luckily, thanks to Meital’s excellent training, I was able to minimize my extensive use of jargon and technical terms when I speak and to create a set of analogies and clear messages that express the meaning of my research to non-professionals.
In my view, there’s an important social value in transferring scientific knowledge from scientists to the general public. I’m happy to report that since my training, I lecture in front of non-scientific audiences much more than I had before and my friends and family finally understand what I do all day.”
Rafael Stern, PhD student at the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Weizmann Institute of Science
“As researchers, our tendency is to be very focused on our research subjects and less about how it may affect our society in a broader perspective. When I talk about my research, I understand that what seems important to me is not as important or interesting to people outside my research. When training with Meital, I was able to build messages that resonate with different audiences and in an efficient time frame that makes the audience absorb my messages in a memorable way.
Although I studied theatre for many years, this specific training process made me reconnect with myself and my research in different ways than before. I was able to reach communication goals that otherwise were not achievable.
The year of covid-19 emphasized the fact that reaching scientific conclusions is only the beginning of a long process that would eventually influence humanity. It is important that we take our message to the general public before disinformation and misinformation will dominate the media. If we don’t have tools to spread our knowledge, we and the public become dependent on mass media, which isn’t always reliable or truthful and might have an agenda behind it.”
Shay Shemesh, PhD student at the Department of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, Hebrew University, consultant at SavorEat
“Despite having extensive experience in communicating my science in front of various audiences, as part of my doctoral studies, I attended Meital's SciComm workshop. Meital breaks SciComm, step by step, to a set of skills ranging from tools needed for an excellent presentation of research products and audience analysis, to how to position the speaker's hands while standing on stage. Meital has a lot of patience, experience and other many useful tools, and all this is done in a pleasant spirit accompanied with humour, challenging exercises, and constructive critical thinking and feedback.”
Amichai Baichman-Kass, MSc student at the Department of Microbiology and Plant Disease, The Hebrew University
“As a graduate student in microbiology who is often required to explain his research to others, I’m not always aware of the knowledge gaps between me and the audience in front of me. Moreover, when I give talks in different forums (including other researchers and students), I feel that my body language is not always in line with the message I want to deliver to my audience. In Meital’s workshop, I was surprised by the practical elements and exercises that, on the one hand, changed the way I present in talks and strengthened my confidence and, on the other hand, helped me build my messages to diverse audiences more efficiently. I feel I now have more tools to work with in order to keep sharpening my communication skills.”