Chemists, "What do you do?"
In everyday conversations – a neighborhood party, a networking event, a business flight – you’re given the opportunity to share something about yourself and your profession and to improve someone’s appreciation for chemistry.
Don’t get tied up in the language of research notes, lectures, or your latest progress report. When you’re talking to a non-scientist about your job, think in broad terms and big pictures. Use real-world examples to illustrate how your role makes a difference.
Who am I talking to?
If you’re able, use examples that the other person would be familiar with, such as a current event, a connection to their profession, or a link with their community.
Will they understand what I’m talking about?
It’s critical to speak in terms that anyone can understand. Avoid using technical terms or, if you have to use them, explain them in simple terms. You may also need to generalize what you do to make it understandable.
Why will they be interested?
People are interested in topics that affect them personally, so show them a connection to their lives. The enthusiasm and pride you show when discussing chemistry will make others more likely to listen, too.