LaDon Swann addressed the communicators this morning and recognized the key role communicators typically play in writing impact statements. He suggested that the task of writing impact statements be treated as a separate effort—”decoupled”—from writing annual report blurbs for NIMS, so that more time and care can be put into crafting substantive impact statements. He suggested perhaps an additional two or three months be taken after annual reports are filed with NIMS to concentrate on writing good impact statements—which, he reminded us, should be written about something that has happened (past tense), not something a program or PI anticipates will happen.
Amy Painter reminded everyone that less is more; impact blurbs should not exceed 100 words in length. Longer ones are less likely to be used due to the time it takes at NSGO to edit them to a manageable, useful length while hoping to retain the key information. Which brings to mind my favorite writing quote, from Mark Twain: “I would have written less, but I didn’t have the time.” Message from NSGO is to put in the time and thought it takes to write less.