Gretchen Reynolds, Phys Ed Columnist for the New York Times Well blog and author of the New York Times bestseller "The First 20 Minutes," and Lori McMahon, PhD, Dean of UAB Graduate School, broke science communication down at the latest Science Communications Workshop in conjunction with the UAB Center for Exercise Medicine 7th Annual Symposium. Here are ten tips on how to better communicate your science–whether it is with a reporter, community member or science writer:

  1. Don’t use social media to make your first connection with a reporter/science writer. If they don’t already know who you are and what your science is about, they will not interact.
  2. Remember that the general public has little science background, nor does the media. Always ask the reporter, “Do you understand what I just said?”
  3. Bring up the limitations in your research. Your research can get easily misinterpreted.
  4. Practice, Practice, Practice. Participate and attend Discoveries in the Making and Three Minute Thesis.
  5. Scientists have a critical responsibility. If people don’t understand your science, you risk making them less interested in science.
  6. Be honest about your science.
  7. Null results are still results. Plus they can be newsworthy! For example, exercise won’t help you lose weight.
  8. Be people-minded. The most effective way to explain your science is through storytelling.
  9. Make it easy for someone to be able to retell your story or science.
  10. At the end of the day, it’s your neighbor’s tax dollars that help fund your research. It’s our responsibility to inform the public of our science and discoveries.