Inspiring Australia NSW works with libraries to engage more people with science. We are now looking for researchers across the STEM disciplines to present short talks in a local library, especially during National Science Week this August. If you would like to develop your presentation skills and connect with the general public, why not give a library talk?
Many NSW libraries would like to deliver more regular science outreach programs and we help them develop these programs by connecting researchers with library program managers.
Why you should get involved
There are three main reasons why you will benefit from developing an interesting story about what you do as a researcher and sharing this story with the community.
- You will help inspire others to appreciate the role of science in society
Sharing stories creates connections. A memorable interaction with you might have a positive impact in someone’s life later on. When your enthusiasm for your work shows, your audience will be inspired to find out more. They may not understand everything you’re talking about, but they will enjoy hearing you express a point of view with passion – even if it’s a controversial.
They may learn something new and even consider going into a STEM career. They may be more inclined to support public funding for the work you do, or talk to other people about how interesting your work is.
As to why this is important, a serious STEM skills shortage has been identified in Australia. The problem begins at school, with Australia lagging in maths and science on many international benchmarks. Gender equity is also an ongoing issue, with fewer women pursuing STEM degrees than men. Each time researchers discuss their work with non-scientists, they provide role models for young people and their advisers.
- It’s good for science
Researchers have an important role to play in helping improve awareness of Australia’s research capability. While research and academia are at the heart of Australia’s innovation agenda, scientists are not celebrated like entrepreneurs. You can help change this situation by telling people about why your research is important, answering their questions and explaining the benefits of scientific research to Australian society.
- Sharing your story is good for you!
New opportunities unfold when you start get involved in new things. This sounds like more work – and it is. But the benefits are worth the effort. This experience will help you develop a concise and compelling story about your research and why it matters. There’s huge value in sharing your story and building new networks. Public speaking develops confidence. It also gets your name out there, and you may start to receive invitations to participate in other interesting pubic engagement initiatives as a result. But most of all, speaking to the public can be good fun!
Talking with the public
Presenting a short talk in a library is very different to giving a short talk to your peers in an academic setting. Your audience will be intelligent and curious but it is unlikely that they will know much about your topic. However, they will be interested to learn, so it is up to you to develop an interesting story about what you do that holds their interest.
If you commit to a library presentation, we will provide you with some training on how to effectively connect with non-scientists. You can use this opportunity to develop your public speaking skills.
Most libraries schedule public programs on weekdays at around 6 pm or on the weekends. If you would like to give a short talk in a library and are able to participate in the early evenings or on the weekend, please send an email with some information about yourself and your topic to email@example.com
We will then match you with a public library and connect you with the program manager. A training session will also be arranged in late April/early May.