When operating in a lab, you should be as transparent as possible with the individual you're communicating with, whether an undergraduate student you're mentoring or the editors of a journal you want to publish in. Sadly, conducting experiments independently daily is only one of the significant ways to improve communication in the lab and work on those skills. Here are a few ways we can refine them:
For those in life sciences, all that hard work will need to be summed up and shared with a larger audience. Graduate school alone is full of committee meetings and local and occasionally international conferences. Unfortunately, working in the lab only allows a little time to train for these events. So, how can you enhance your presentation skills? First things first, preparation! Lab meetings present the perfect option for this; you can submit your data and receive constructive criticism to help you grow. Next, write down what you want to say and practice it multiple times until you're secure enough in what you're stating and how you're expressing it. When practicing, get accustomed to taking deep breaths and pausing, which, as a listener, will make everything you're saying easier to comprehend and digest. Try to keep a bottle of water convenient, as it will allow you to take breaks and remain hydrated. Also, remember that, out of everybody in the room, you typically know the most about the topic you're presenting. In addition, most other scientists are empathetic to your cause, as they've had to go through the exact process many times in their professions.
Rehearsing your writing skills is also critical when working in life science. The primary means of sharing results lies in papers published in scientific journals, grant funding applications, and business reports. Learning how to structure these long-form pieces that highlight meaningful details in clear and concise practices while sticking to the journal's or funding agency's detailed guidelines is essential. Just like presenting at a meeting, practice is the only way to enhance your writing skills. Begin by writing abstracts with the data you have on hand to help you gather your piece's main points and how to pack them into a digestible section of data. As more results arrive, composing the outline of a work can help you imagine the best way to deliver your data. For graduate students and post-doctoral fellows, applying for fellowships also supplies an opportunity to sharpen your writing skills. Regardless of how you practice, it's always a fine idea to have somebody proofread your work for transparency, grammar, and syntax, no matter how experienced you are—even this blog has been proofread multiple times! Remember, your reports are more likely to be tolerated by high-impact journals if the ideas you're conveying are written as definitively and error-free as possible. In addition, read as many articles as possible; this will help you stay up-to-date on your subject while also delivering an excellent set of writing examples.
Participating in the arts, composing short stories, illustrating, or sketching doodles, can help you mature your capacity to express complex ideas. In addition, expressing yourself through creative outlets will allow you to see your research through additional lenses, providing you with better gratitude for how your creation fits into the world as a whole and better contextualizing it for others.
These are just some ways to improve your communication in the lab. Contact us today for our professional staffing solutions. We are here to help!