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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

4 - Communication and Dissemination


During my Broader Impacts graduate seminar, students are assigned an exercise in which they video themselves doing elevator speeches. We then play these back and the entire class critiques what they have said. Listening to the groans beforehand, it is clear that most of the students do not enjoy this experience. (Although, in the course evaluations they later reflect that it was valuable for them to do the elevator speech.) In today’s world of sound bites and a few hundred characters (Twitter), the importance of focusing what you say into short dialog cannot be overemphasized. This style of communication is not restricted to your colleagues. It happens all the time, for example, at social events, in chance conversations in airports, to administrators and politicians working a crowd, to potential donors, and even a short conversation trying to “pitch” a research idea to an NSF program officer.