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Level Up Your #SciComm: The New Message Box Workbook


We know that you are eager to engage. We know that you can’t always find a way to bring us to your lab, campus, or office for a training or a refresher to build on the foundational communication skills you already have. And we know that it’s hard to get started without good tools and clear guidance on how to use them—practice is the best way to deepen understanding, and a little extra coaching can help you make the most of the time you’re putting in. COMPASS is pleased to release the Message Box Workbook, a comprehensive walk-through of our most fundamental communication tool and the foundation of our trainings, so that you can start working on your communication skills anytime, anywhere.


Click on the image of the Workbook to start an automatic download.

COMPASS’ mission is to empower scientists effectively engage in the public discourse around the environment. Over the years, we have also fielded many training requests from scientists who want to be more effective at sharing their research, but don’t work on environmental topics. It’s been hard to say no to these requests (and to a certain extent, we can argue that almost anything applies to the public discourse around the environment), but with a small team and limited time, we’ve had to.

But through generous funding from the Rita Allen Foundation, we are now able to share the Message Box tool and step-by-step instructions for using it, to all scientists. Many of you are already familiar with the Message Box; we’ve been teaching and tweaking it for the last fifteen years. We believe the principles of the Message Box can be applied to communicate pretty much anything, from astronomy to zoology. Our experience has shown it to be versatile and powerful, but now, we hope you will put that to the test.

The hardest part is always getting started, so we encourage you to download your copy of the beta version of the Workbook today. We’ll also be providing a Message Box Workbook training session at the AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston on February 17 at 9 am, where you can pick up a hard copy and get some in-person advice from our team.

The Workbook is a living document; while we’ve done our best to condense what we’ve learned from fifteen years of teaching this tool into a quick and engaging written format, we anticipate modifying and revising the Workbook to reflect our ever-expanding understanding of effective science communication. And we welcome your input on how to do that. Please share any thoughts and suggestions you have on our beta version online here.

In addition to walking you through the process of developing your own messages, the Workbook includes exercises that you can do with your peers and colleagues. After all, the best way to figure out whether your Message Box works is to practice. Social media offers lots of options for getting feedback and tips from others, too.

Let us know how you’ve used the Message Box Workbook, and give us your feedback here.

Twitter: @COMPASSscicomm, #COMPASSMessageBox

Instagram: #COMPASSMessageBox

We look forward to hearing from you!

#MessageBox #SoWhat #training

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© 2023 by COMPASS Science Communication, Inc.