Craft your message

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Friday, June 29, 2018


Brigette Smith

OSA ambassadors are emerging leaders in the field of optics and photonics and they provide career advice, technical knowledge and mentorship to students and early career professionals. This week one of our ambassadors, Carlos Lopez-Mariscal visited the office and Jen introduced him to me. He was kind enough to sit and talk for awhile about his career in outreach and answer my questions. We had a really great conversation about how to prepare for first impressions when speaking to colleagues that could be good to have in your network and how to get better when addressing groups. I told him about my position last year helping to organize a program with my Women in STEM group where we were able to work with local middle schools in the area and visit twice a month to do mini mentoring sessions and science lessons/demonstrations. (Shout out to SPS for the grant!)  My job in the beginning was to contact principals and school board members and to meet with them to discuss the aims of the program and the plan for implementing it and ultimately get them on board with the idea. I asked him how do you overcome the nerves that come with it in the beginning and how can you make sure you are effective in communicating? He laughed and told me as for the nerves it just comes with practice. You have to work to be good at human interactions and the more you practice the easier it will become for you. To make your interactions truly meaningful you need to make sure the person clearly understands what you want to say and that you clearly understand them. You need to take time to craft your message. Find the perfect words to describe what you mean and craft your message to be precise and powerful. That really stuck with me. I’ve ran into the situation many times in meetings and in front of the classroom where I knew what I wanted to say and how I wanted to progress but I would find myself getting tripped up in delivery and I feel like this could really help me. I’m truly taking his advice to heart because I want to improve my professional speaking. I am very lucky to have gotten the chance to hear his advice and learn from someone who has been working in this profession for a long time now.


On a separate note, today is my birthday and my family came out to visit DC and spend some time with me. Last night we went walking down to the washington monument, the Vietnam and Korean war memorials, and the Lincoln memorial. It was really wonderful to be able to show my family those things and get a chance to spend some time with them. This morning we went to the Museum of natural history, the Smithsonian palace, and the museum of Native American history. It was great to get to see the museums and experience it with my family. My little sisters were so excited in the natural history museum, and I’m not going to lie I didn’t see the entire thing when I first visited so I was overjoyed to see the dinosaurs. Tomorrow I think we plan to visit Arlington, the air and space museum, and then see where the day takes us.


Brigette Smith