I design each Program (instructional lectures, colloquia and workshops) to fit the specific needs and goals of the participating host organization. Training sessions are tailored based on input and feedback derived through preliminary meetings to outline the scope and goals desired.
Here are some of the Programs offered to improve the speaking skills of your team. Programs typically range from one to four hours. Courses composed of multiple Programs can be arranged. Cost = travel expenses + modest fee.
Talking to scientists! ***NEW***
What are the best ways to quickly, accurately and effectively talk about your work to fellow research colleagues? In this special science communication workshop, we will: determine whether your interaction with scientists should be a report (text) or a presentation (talk); highlight ways to boil down data and determine your underlying main message; practice giving a mock seminar and learn when (and when not) to use PowerPoint slides; learn ways to stand tall and respond to questions from critical colleagues; and, practice clever ways to network with others at scientific conferences.
denying science ***NEW***
The frustration of having people not believe the results of science keeps us awake at night. Are we going back into the Dark Ages? How did science lose its rightful position as the leader to better health and a safe, clean environment? Denying human-caused climate change, evidence of evolution, and the safety of vaccinations, nuclear power and GMOs are dangerously trendy. Charismatic leaders spout conspiracy theories that resonate with millions of well-educated followers. Learn about conformational bias, distrust of science complexity, and misunderstanding of risk and probability. Understand the differences between debating science and denying science. This program teaches you how to engage in this challenging dialogue and help people understand the truth of scientific evidence.
civics and science ***new***
As scientists we are intimately associated with responsible decision-making in a democratic society. People depend on us to help solve the problems of the world. In this program, we discuss the government appropriation of funds for research, the roles of scientists in policy decision-making, and the connections between science and society.
what's your story
Scientists are good at giving reports...often filled with lots of data in the form of text, tables, figures and graphs. Learn how to convert your work into delightful stories that contain human emotions and are interesting, informative and entertaining. Identify the source of stories that surround you every day. Importantly, learn when and when not to tell stories. Exercises include building and sharing stories about your work and who you are as a scientist.
become a fearless speaker
The old classic...overcoming that awful fear of speaking. Reduce nervousness through some simple exercises, practice basic improv techniques and start to think like a confident CEO. Wear the right clothes for the occasion, strengthen your vocal cords, and improve diction by reading poetry. Exercises include "confident clothes", improv, and impromptu speaking.
explain yourself clearly
Paint mental pictures with words, deliver simple and clear messages, beat jargon with plain language, avoid the curse of knowledge, and discover tricks to make your talk clear. Exercises include verbal pictures, chunking your talk, and impromptu speaking.
beat the clock!
Talks that exceed the allotted time limit make your audience nervous, reduce the effectiveness of your message, and disrupt the entire meeting. Situations when you are asked at the last minute to give a talk about your research can be terrifying. In this how-to Program, participants draft a talk based on time and audience, organize a talk from scratch, and learn ways to give your entire talk without using notes (or PowerPoint). Exercises include generating and organizing ideas quickly, building a memorable message, and mind mapping.
slides and posters
Visuals can greatly improve or totally destroy your talk. Learn some tricks to make interesting and easy-to-read slides, analyze the value of an assertion-evidence approach for making good visuals, and master the design of eye-grabbing science posters.
interviewing: the big inquisition
Nearly 25% of all job interview candidates are rejected because of poor speaking skills. Effectively answering interview questions and giving a good chalk talk presentation about your work can increase your chances of being selected for the position. Can you do the job? Who are you? Will you fit in with our group? What will you cost us? Get ready for the big inquisition!
learning, practicing and teaching science communication
Attending a science communication lecture or workshop improves your ability to give good talks. However, much like athletics and performing arts, speaking must be practiced repeatedly if you want to seriously get better. In this session, we learn how speaking skills can be learned, practiced and sustained. A commitment to these career-building skills and a bit of time periodically is all that's needed. Helping others improve their speaking skills makes your colleagues, organization and the whole field of science better prepared to connect with society.