Abstruse, obtuse, and sesquipedalian: if these are words used to describe your scientific writing, you've got a lot of company. But it's not company you want to be in .
Scientific writing, by its very nature, involves communicating new ideas, and ideas complex enough to require study. But with an increasingly tech-savvy market and an emphasis on innovation, communicating scientific ideas well is more important than ever.
- Have a writing strategy. Knowing who will read your work and what you want them to do with the information will guide you. Take the time to critically analyze your readers and write a statement that indicates what action you want your readers to take when they've finished reading.
- Think critically. Science is about examining the information and drawing logical conclusions. Carry that ethos over into your writing.
- Organize strategically. Know how to introduce concepts and organize them so that your readers can follow and understand your points.
- Use language effectively . Keep ideas crisp and concise and match your vocabulary to your audience. Remember, using the most technical terms might not always make you seem smart and can sometimes work against you by making you seem inaccessible.
- Know your supplemental materials. Whether it's a knowledge base for your employees, a consumer-facing website packed with extra information, or a handout for a presentation, craft your message and your delivery to be as effective as possible.
- Practice presenting. It might be a fate more feared than death for some, but good presentation skills can be learned, and with so many poor presenters out there, a good presentation makes a great impression. An in-person presentation or a webinar can be one of the best ways to present scientific ideas.
- Use charts and tables well. Scientific illustration can enhance scientific writing by providing an additional way for readers to understand your work.
- Develop an eye for editing. Mistakes irk, but mistakes in science can do much worse than that.
Images via Shutterstock.com