You have to care about the audience: Lessons from Springer Nature Storytellers

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The Source
By: Lucy Frisch, Tue Feb 25 2020
Lucy Frisch

Author: Lucy Frisch

Springer Nature Storytellers hosted an event at Berlin Science Week in which five researchers on the front lines of discovery shared true stories about life behind the science. We asked each of the storytellers to tell us what it was like to communicate about their research in a more personal way. Listen to the stories they told and read more about what they learned from the experience. 

Theoretical quantum physicist Carlos Riofrío has some experience in science communication, but he still had some nerves when preparing to talk at the Springer Nature Storytellers event at Berlin Science Week. Read our interview below to learn why he said he things actually went more smoothly than he expected.

What was your experience with storytelling and research communications before participating in the Berlin Storytellers event?

As a scientist I have been presenting my work around the world for about 15 years, so I do have some experience in research and science communication.

How was the storytelling experience different from other forms of science communication that you’ve done?

Using no notes and telling something personal was very different. Also the format was more like a stand-up [comedy] show and less like a scientific talk.

How did you prepare to tell your story in front of this particular audience?

I worked with Christine Gentry from The Story Collider. She coached and advised me while writing the story, and I practiced with her via video chat. When the story was ready, I practiced a few times with my wife and friends.

How did the actual event compare to your expectations?

I expected to get nervous and mess up the story (which I’m not sure I didn’t do) but when I got on stage I felt very comfortable. I also noticed that the hardest thing for me was to start the story. While practicing, I always struggled with that. On the day of the show, though, I wasn’t aware that there was going to be an introduction, so somehow with that addition, starting the talk became very smooth. I liked that a lot!

Was there anything that you took away from the experience that you plan to incorporate in your life as a researcher?

I learned that you should tell a story in scenes to make it more engaging.

What advice do you have for other researchers who want to improve their communication and storytelling skills?

You must care about the audience. Before preparing the talk, think about the audience and try to put yourself in their place.

Carlos Riofrío is a theoretical quantum physicist who now works as a data scientist in the automotive industry in Germany.

To hear more stories from Springer Nature Storytellers at Berlin Science Week, click below:

An audience likes to see the 'human' in scientists by Liane G. Benning



Lucy Frisch

Author: Lucy Frisch

Lucy Frisch is a Senior Marketing Manager on the Outreach and Open Research team, based in the New York office. She has a passion for storytelling and works to humanize the research published across Springer Nature with a focus on the researcher experience.