How to select a good talk title for Soapbox Science: 10 Top tips and things to remember from Orode UV Aniejurengho

This list will help you clarify if your talk title is suitable for Soapbox Science.

Written by one of the Soapbox Science Lagos, Nigeria, organisers: Orode UV Aniejurengho.

  • 1. Soapbox Science is a novel public outreach platform for promoting women & non-binary scientists and the science they do.

  • 2. Scientist is used in a general way and includes those involved in science, technology, engineering, maths and medicine research (STEMM). PhD students, lecturers, professors, STEM professionals, entrepreneurs – you can take part in Soapbox Science.

  • 3. The main aim of Soapbox Science is to bring your cutting-edge science to the public, in an accessible, fun and unintimidating way.

  • 4. We want the public to be aware of research that is taking place or done by women in science – we find that this creates awareness of career opportunities in STEMM, inspires young ones towards careers in STEMM, gives an opportunity to see people who look like them, e.g., from BAME backgrounds, doing fabulous research, could minimise the spread of false information as the general public hears direct from you the researchers.

  • 5. Your talk must be scientific, consider research you are currently doing or have completed e.g., from your PhD, Your Post-doc. If your talk title is motivational – this is not suitable, it is best to consider submitting this for consideration to be published as a blog post on the global Soapbox Science website.

  • 6. The title should be easy to understand by the general public (not an expert in your area, but the people who have not had the opportunity /inclination/ means to meet a scientist or learn about science that happens in their local area). Example title – How are drugs personalised for you?

  • 7. For your talk/presentation there is no middle-man, no PowerPoint slide, no amphitheatre – just you remarkable scientists.

  • 8. Props can be used to demonstrate certain aspects in your talk, we find that where relevant, this can promote understanding for your listeners. Examples of props used by past speakers have included giant DNA, interactive experiments, mannequins, giant superbugs, plants, salt, balloons, confetti. The list is varied, and guidance can be provided by the organising team.

  • 9. Your local organising team will usually arrange some training in designing talks, understanding what Soapbox Science is etc. We encourage you to take advantage of this, previous attendees have commended the training and we find that the talks of those who attended the training is more engaging.

  • 10. If the event is Online, you will be guided by the organising team on structure etc.

The general public always enjoy engaging with the research in different areas of STEMM that the speakers present, and there are always a wide range of questions.

It can be a nerve-racking experience but all speakers at the end usually enjoy the process of rethinking how they communicate the complexities of their work to the general public. Amongst some speakers we find collaborations being set up.

Overall, Soapbox Science has been described by both speakers and attendees as exciting! We look forward to hosting you as a speaker and supporting you to prepare an engaging and inspirational scientific presentation.

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