About The Message Box Workbook

In 1999 COMPASS’ founders set out to address the gaps between science, policy, and the public discourse. Scientists, they recognized, have a great deal to contribute to solving society’s most pressing problems, but they often need help in learning how to engage effectively. COMPASS empowers scientists to engage meaningfully in the public discourse and decision-making. COMPASS’ Director of Science Outreach Nancy Baron developed our version of the Message Box early on, building on others’ work and adding key components such as identifying the “So what?” of your science—a core dimension of making your work relevant to your audience. Over the years, the Message Box has remained the foundation of our communication trainings.


The Message Box Workbook was developed through the generous support of the Rita Allen Foundation. We are excited to share this updated and expanded version, with examples of how the Message Box can be used beyond the environmental sciences.

This Workbook and its illustrations were inspired and informed by Escape from the Ivory Tower: A Guide to Making Your Science Matter by Nancy Baron, as well as our collective experience helping scientists to develop and refine their Message Boxes in our trainings and coaching. For additional useful information and context, we encourage you to read the book as well.

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© 2023 by COMPASS Science Communication, Inc.