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Good communication is a must for scientific research

September, 2017

Biology student Aoife Cantwell Jones, from Imperial College London, learns how to improve scientific writing through two weeks of work experience at Kent PR and marketing agency Maxim.

People often associate scientists with poor writing skills, bad spelling and an inability to communicate. However, in a world with such rapid technological and scientific advances, researchers need to be able to share information, not just ideas with other scientists, but also with the general public.

As a hopeful future researcher, I decided to take two weeks work experience at Maxim to learn to better adapt my writing style to my audience, as well as to gain a valuable insight into the running of a business.

My first day started with an internal meeting, where everyone explained what they were currently working on. This was a really great way for me to meet the team (and more importantly, Alice the office dog) and I began to get an appreciation of the scope of PR and the variety of sectors that Maxim’s clients operate in.

An insight into the world of PR

The first week flew by and I had the opportunity to do work for a range of clients, including Rochester Bridge Trust, Lappset UK and Markerstudy Leisure. I enjoyed being able to write press releases, website profiles, articles and conducting research. My highlight of the week was a meeting in Rochester Cathedral, followed by a visit to the Old Bridge.

Already, in this short period of time, I felt I had gained a lot.

The importance of effective communication

As a student used to writing long essays, the structure and style of a press release was completely foreign to me. I learnt compromise is important: you do not have to be rigidly concise, if it helps guide the reader through the text. Here, the skills I have gained will be applicable to the literature reviews and experimental write-ups I do in biology.

The second week was equally as short as the first.

I was given an introduction into event planning by attending a meeting on the Kent Press and Broadcast Awards, a ceremony organised by Maxim. The amount of thought given to the planning was staggering, such as the different award categories, venue location and the individuals on the judging panel.

Although event planning is not something I intend to do much in the future, the underlying skills will be extremely transferable. For example, I need to be able to approach sponsors to get funding for research projects.

Another interesting part of the second week was a meeting on the proposed revamp of the Maxim website. Here, I learnt about the importance of brand representation and how a website can be utilised to attract future clients.

A thank you to Maxim

I have really enjoyed my two weeks at Maxim; from Sue’s delicious caramel lattes to translating a German text, each day has been full of surprises and I have learnt so much. The team has been so fantastic and welcoming, and have given great feedback on all of the work I have done.

Thank you Maxim for having me!

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