Tag Archives: Professional development

Finding Your Voice

13 August 2020: By Kathryn Palasis and Aimee Horsfall

On Wednesday July 22nd, the Adelaide node CNBP ECRs met with Kylie Ahern and LJ Loch from STEMMatters to learn more about how to effectively engage with the media. Kathryn Palasis and Aimee Horsfall have summarised their key takeaways below.

The media landscape has changed a lot over the past 5 years and is continually evolving. The news cycle is moving 24/7; a strong headline and accompanying multimedia are becoming essential to grab the reader’s attention. Journalists have a more significant social media presence, making it easier to track the trends, people and stories they are interested in, and learn how they portray different stories. Twitter is a great platform that allows you to contact people directly…

Confused ECR: Hi @STEMMatters, I’ve got an interview coming up and haven’t spoken to the media in a while! What do I need to consider when speaking to a journalist?

STEMMatters: You need to keep in mind that this is an interview, not a conversation! Your objective is to communicate your key messages, and the journalist is looking for the best possible story. But there are definitely some specific DOs and DON’Ts.

Remember that you’re not speaking to other scientists – think about how you can simplify the key concepts into general language. 

Confused ECR: How do I keep the concepts simple enough to be understood by a general audience?

LJ: Go with the BBQ pitch analogy – would this explanation work if you gave it to family or friends over a BBQ?

Kylie: The key questions to address are who, what, when, where, why and how. You also need to pass the “so what?” test –  make it clear to the audience why this work is important and why they should care.

JL: And don’t forget to avoid scientific jargon as much as possible… keep the story simple so it can be easily retold!

Don’t be apprehensive about speaking to the media, but do prepare for any question.

Confused ECR: And how do I handle the “tricky” questions?

Kylie: It’s important to combat misinformation, which can be rife. We like to say don’t blame the media, just be the media!

LJ: Also don’t get caught up overpromising when asked the common question “when will we see this on the market?” Redirect the question and comment on what is interesting about your work now.

You don’t need to wait to be asked for an interview!

Confused ECR: That is all really helpful! Is there anything I can do to keep up my media presence in the future, without needing to wait for another interview?

STEMMatters: Creating your own content and posting it online is easier, and more important, now than ever. Find your own style and see what people respond to. We have some tips to help you get started!

Get out there and give it a go – if you’re excited, everyone else will be too!

Confused ECR: Thank you so much, any final suggestions?

LJ: Smile and show passion when you speak! Don’t underestimate the “wow factor” of your science and remember people are interested in it, so show  your excitement!

Kylie: Don’t be overly critical of yourself if you make small errors, and don’t be scared of the media – continue to give it a go at every opportunity!

The CNBP ECR Network would like to thank STEMMatters for their entertaining and insightful presentation – we all took a lot away from it and will be ready to implement the tips and tricks as soon as we get the chance!

Commercialisation workshop outlines opportunities

17 May 2018:

Thursday 17th May saw CNBP, The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and Adelaide Enterprise come together at the University of Adelaide to jointly host a well-attended Commercialisation Workshop.

The event, with 45 participants comprising CNBP/IPAS researchers, students, Centre Associate Investigators and Chief Investigators looked to provide information, advice and discussion on commercialising technologies successfully, best-practice in starting and exiting start-ups, as well as tips for successful working relationships between academics and industry.

CNBP’s Business Development Manager Mel Trebilcock who helped coordinate the workshop saw the day as a great success.

“Firstly, Adelaide Enterprise provided an overview of a tech transfer office, templates relating to Invention Disclosures, Patents and the step by step process for a researcher ready to start the commercialisation process.”

“Then we had guest speakers – Melissa McBurnie (Brandon Capital) and Stewart Bartlett (from spinout company Ferronova), discuss their history of success and failure along the technology-translation journey, as well as talk about alternate  career pathways for researchers. They both provided some fantastic insights, including the adage that it’s okay to fail but that there is the need to stay positive and focused on your desired research outcomes.”

The afternoon session of the workshop saw attendees break-up into smaller groups and undertake a practical hands-on exercise whereby they had to work-up an invention based on household waste, to fill-out an invention disclosure, and to then provide a pitch to the whole room.

“This allowed for great involvement and interaction with an amazing amount of commercialisation experience being shared by attendees and guests,” says Mel Trebilcock.

New commercialisation workshops are also being planned by the CNBP for August.

“These will help prepare colleagues and collaborators to refine and learn the art of pitches with industry. It will also help them to lead ‘pitch teams’ presenting at a ‘Shark Tank’ style event to be held at this year’s CNBP Conference at Lorne,” she says.

A successful CNBP/IPAS commercialisation workshop at the University of Adelaide.