Impact Training for Global Change Ecology Students with Rosmarie Katrin Neumann
By: Katharina Funk
We all don’t really know what to expect as we sit on our chairs, placed in a circle, watching Rosemarie Katrin Neumann from Impact Dialog preparing her things: Setting up her notebook, hanging up posters, laying out colourful slips of paper. What will we learn today? What will we do? It is a very different class, as we do not sit behind our tables, as we are supposed to talk to each other, as we are to learn things that are usually not covered in a lecture: We are here to attend Rosmaries’s Impact Training, to learn how to increase the impact of our research, of ourselves.
This means – Rosi, as she introduced herself, explains – not only to improve our communication skills but also to think of new ways of communication. And, this is for Rosi the most important point, our representation in the social media, our digital footprint.
But first we talk about ways to exchange knowledge. We learn, how important it is to know, what contents we want to communicate and what we want to achieve. For a start this sounds quite trivial to me. But then I begin thinking about my way of communication. I have been trying to give my best, but could it be that this is not the best for others? Maybe I would have been more successful if I thought more about what the others wanted, and how I could show them that my knowledge will benefit them too.
I can use this realization immediately during the next exercise, where we are to write a policy brief. Instead of asking myself what I think is important, I try to assess what kind of knowledge a policymaker would be interested in.
I ask myself what I would want to achieve with this policy report, and what kind of information the policymaker needs to help me to achieve my goals.
Knowing the theory behind communication helps me a lot to figure out what I want and to adapt my communication accordingly.
During lunch I have the possibility to talk with Rosi. She is currently doing her PhD in Newcastle, but she is also writing Articles and running her Impact Dialog business. She is interested in effective communication and her aim is to bring scientists and policy maker together to change the world. “You don’t have to do everything by yourself.” she says, “There are a lot of people out there with awesome skills.”
She wants to empower us to improve our skills, but at the same time she encourages us to work together. As a single person you can only have a certain impact, but if you work together, you can achieve so much more. That is why one plus one is for me eleven, because together you are much more than the sum of individuals.
In the afternoon the workshop is all about our presence in social media. She has done her research and found information about almost all of us on social networks. We talk about our current presence and what we want to achieve. What we could do better and how to do it better. Rosi herself is quite active on Twitter (@RosmarieKatrin), promoting her research and sharing important information. She tells us how various researchers have already contacted her, because they have seen her tweets and were interested in her work. We talk about how we, too, can increase our impact by tweeting about our research and projects we do. In the end we learn about different strategies how to increase our followers and how to get in contact with other scientists.
Sadly, we have only one day with Rosi, so even though I feel I could have learned a lot more from her, she has to leave Bayreuth in the evening. Nevertheless, we have had a very successful training, leaving us thinking about the other side we try to reach. Having learned about the communication with stakeholders, policy makers and other scientists, why social media are important for our research impact and how to improve our digital footprint, Rosi pointed out many new perspectives and gave us incentives on how to improve out impact. But the biggest impact for me was the realization how much we can achieve together and that only together we have to power to change the world.
Author: Katharina Funk
I joined the Master’s program “Global Change Ecology” in 2016, studying additionally environmental law. My Bachelor’s programm was “Integrated Life Sciences” in Erlangen, Germany. My main interests are climate policy, sustainability, environmental ethics and social-ecological systems.