How Well Do You Communicate with Decision Makers? Take the Quiz

Do you compete for funding?   Get asked to inform policy makers?  Or have to seek support from decision makers to advance your research? Today it is more vital than ever for scientists to be effective communicators and advocates for their work.

Decision makers, who have the power to turn scientific ideas into impact, often must choose between multiple opportunities for investing their resources. So scientists from every discipline need to be champions who can effectively make their case to advance their work. Getting decision makers to say yes takes a combination of communication, influence and relationship-building skills. Do you have what it takes? Take the quiz to find out.

Select the answers that best describe how often you take these actions. If you want to learn how to improve these skills, explore the Championing Science site and join our mailing list to receive occasional updates.


1.I provide a big picture view of why my science matters before diving into the details.
2.I help decision makers understand what inspired me to pursue my scientific work.
3.I start conversations by discussing the need before I describe what I can offer.
4.I approach communication opportunities with a clear purpose and carefully crafted message.
5.I determine what I want decision makers to think, feel and do after they hear from me.
6.I dry run my presentations with colleagues to test the clarity of my communication.
7.I seek to understand my listeners' perspective on my science before I offer mine.
8.I discuss my work by explaining its value in terms the decision makers uses and understands.
9.I provide information to sponsors and funders in the format that they prefer.
10.I use plain, common language to discuss my science with decision makers.
11.I avoid or translate acronyms and jargon.
12.I use iconic analogies to anchor scientific concepts to everyday familiar experiences.
13.I speak in short sentences.
14.I acknowledge what is known and what is unknown about my area of science.
15.I make the effort to build long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with decision makers.
16.I seek out advisors, influencers and partners who can help carry my science further.
17.I allot ample time to prepare for meetings with decision makers.
18.I assess my listener’s reaction to my message and adjust accordingly.
19.I make a specific ask whenever I speak to decision makers.
20.I only ask for the kind of support that the decision maker has the authority to provide.