As young
researchers, we really need to communicate our ideas and results to an audience
effectively, using articles, posters and oral presentations; moreover, since we
are all involved in the development of new vaccines, we should also be able to
inform and discuss our work with a broad audience, since it’s clear that the
successful story of a vaccine is linked to the number of vaccinated people.

Probably, we would
all agree that “communication” is not a skill that is easy to improve when you
are sitting alone in front of a computer. However when you test your abilities
with other people and receive constructive criticism from them, you can start reflecting
upon what you are learning and reshaping your ideas about the way you present
your work.

For this reason I
was really enthusiastic to join the course “Communication in Science” for PhD
students, organized in Leiden. It consisted of 5 sessions in which we (the
participants) experienced various forms of written and oral presentation from
an interactional perspective, discussing and reviewing the work of others, giving
and receiving feedback, commenting about posters, articles… it was worthwhile!

I learned a lot
from the tutor and the other students but the most useful recommendation was: never
forget the audience!
In fact, generally we are focused on what we want to
do, instead of what we want our audience to do as a result of reading what we wrote or listening
to what we said. So since you are my
audience and “effective communication uses information to move an audience from
an initial mixed state of knowledge to a final state of understanding”( S. Benka), I would like to share two articles suggested
during the course that may be useful for you in future:

G. Benka. Who is listening? what do they
Physics Today 2008; 61, 49

· P.J. Sterk, K.F. Rabe. The joy of
writing a paper
2008; 4: 224-232