Connect with audiences outside the academy, without compromising the integrity of your research
Your research has revolutionary potential. But trying to make people outside your research domain understand that feels like trying to communicate through a brick wall.
The communication habits you've learned inside the Ivory Tower just don't get through to the world outside.
Sounds like you could use some help with knowledge translation.
Let's move past complicated frameworks and strategies to get down to the nitty-gritty of knowledge transfer—finding clear language and visuals to convey your meaning without drowning nonexperts in detail.
Hi! I'm Dawn, and I can help you speak the language your nonacademic audience understands.
I've published in academic journals, presented in boardrooms, and produced just about any kind of business writing or communication product you can name. (When I graduated with a PhD in Victorian literature, I had no idea that writing scripts for animated videos would be so much fun!)
Throughout my career, I've successfully crisscrossed the boundaries between the academy and the Rest of the World. Now, I share with other researchers the communication strategies and techniques it takes to successfully navigate the worlds of industry, government, and the not-for-profit sector.
I'll help you engage, educate, and inspire the audience you want to impact. Depending on your needs, I can come alongside you as a thought partner and author or as a knowledge translation coach.
Amplify your impact
How could some help with knowledge translation enable you to extend your impact beyond the lab or library? Here are some examples of goals we could tackle together:
- Collaborate with researchers from other disciplines
- Network effectively with industry
- Build trust with community groups
- Deliver winning proposals and pitches
- Get buy-in from funders or investors
- Attract end-users or customers
- Share knowledge through nonacademic forms of publication, such as blogs and infographics
- Prepare compelling cover letters for industry jobs
- Grow your confidence and your leadership skills
Don't expect me to "dumb down" your complex ideas.
As a professor, I preached "academic integrity" to undergrads, so I hold to that principle outside the academy too. In my book, it's never a good idea to compromise on accuracy for the sake of sounding clever.
Knowledge translation shouldn't mean knowledge dumbification. My job is to help you distill the essence of your meaning into simple (not simplistic) communication that rings true while propelling your audience to action.
How I work with clients
Every project starts with a thorough assessment of your needs so we can figure out the best approach to get you to your impact goal.
For some clients, engaging me as a ghostwriter is the best path. I take the lead on translating research findings into a real-world communication product (such as a report, fact sheet, blog article, or presentation deck). All you have to do is review the draft and provide feedback to help refine it.
Other clients are more interested in developing their own capacity for knowledge translation. For these folks, I provide coaching to build up specific skills in stakeholder analysis and communication.
“Dawn is an absolute pleasure to work with! She has been able to seamlessly convert and summarise our Centre's academic research papers into two-pagers that are beautifully designed and are in an easy-to-read, business language format. Not only is Dawn a true professional but she is one of the kindest people you will meet. She is now our go-to person for translating research papers. We highly recommend her services!”
What drives me
The library is my happy place—that's where I slake my lifelong thirst for new knowledge. (Most Mondays, you'll find me at the Mount Allison University library digging into an eclectic range of topics.)
But I learned early on in my career that the library is also my cocoon. It feels a bit too cozy. Something pushes me to bust out and share what I learn with others.
For me, stepping out of the chrysalis means sharing my expertise in language and communication through teaching and coaching. It also means supporting other experts as they reach out to offer the riches of their knowledge.
As a doctoral student, I studied social protest fiction, storytelling that strives to change the world. I still believe in the power of story to spark innovation and collaboration. That's the belief that fuels me as I help researchers tell their stories of discovery and light the way forward.
“We reached out to Dawn to get expert support in disseminating the details of the research projects we were funding and the impact of the researcher's work. The way we had been telling them was too broad, and we weren't getting to the meat and potatoes.
Dawn helped us get to the "why does this matter" and the "what is that we're trying to tell people?" of the stories by using an interview approach; she was also able to capture the voice of our team so that we created a consistent story and a consistent voice.
It's great having a connection with Dawn because she understands our business and what we're trying to achieve. I can pick up the phone and say, 'I want to write this story. Here's the information I have. How do I get this out on paper?' Dawn has become an extension of my team.”