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'Listen. Write. Present' Offers Communication Tips for Science Professionals

(January 20, 2012)

RALEIGH, NC -- (Marketwire) -- 01/20/12 -- "Check any online job-hunting Web site for science, technical, pharmaceutical, biotech and medical jobs and you'll find one common requirement: 'excellent communication skills,'" write Stephanie Roberson Barnard and Deborah St. James in their new book, "Listen. Write. Present -- The Elements for Communicating Science and Technology" (Yale University Press; 2012), www.ListenWritePresent.com.

Unfortunately, the science-rich education required for health-care professionals leaves little room for learning how to craft a message for a particular audience. And that's essential not only for getting jobs, but for keeping them and winning promotions, says Barnard, a communications consultant who specializes in training medical professionals to speak and write clearly and effectively.

She and St. James, deputy director of publications and communications for a North Carolina biotech company, offer these tips for getting your message across:

Plan: Take time to get to know your clients, colleagues and co-workers. Establish rapport and cultivate a collaborative relationship by finding out about others' interests (check out the pictures in their offices for clues) and inquiring about them. If you have never been to their offices, look them up on-line.


Listen: Smile, nod, and acknowledge the speaker -- and mean it. Really focus on what the person is saying and not just on the words. It's better to spend a few minutes concentrating on the other person's message than wasting time trying to remember what he or she said because you were trying to do something else.

Present: Practice. Practice. Practice. Need we say more? Of all the tips we offer, practicing is perhaps the most important one. "Stiff" presenters are the ones who haven't practiced. They're so busy trying to remember what they're going to say, they can't tune into the audience.

Meet: Respect people's time by presenting materials simply. The biggest complaint people have about meetings is that they last too long. Presenting your ideas simply and concisely and you'll appear focused and prepared.

About Stephanie Roberson Barnard and Deborah St. James

Stephanie Roberson Barnard has trained thousands of pharmaceutical industry professionals on how to be more effective speakers, writers and communicators. This is her second Yale Press book with Deborah St. James, Deputy Director of Publications and Scientific Communications at Grifols. She has worked in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry for more than 20 years. She is a former college English instructor.

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