Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science

November 14, 2014 | 8:30 am


Join the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science for an innovative workshop on

November 14, 2014

at the

University of Virginia



Overview: The goal is to help participants learn to communicate more effectively about science with people outside their field, including the general public, policy makers, the media, students, potential employers or funders and prospective collaborators in other disciplines. Through discussion and practice, we will focus on fundamental skills -­‐-­‐ knowing your audience, connecting with your audience, and speaking clearly and conversationally about your work and why it matters.

Improvisation for Scientists is a workshop pioneered by science advocate, Alan Alda. Participants will take part in improvisational theater exercises aimed at helping them connect more directly and spontaneously with different audiences. This is not about turning scientists into actors or comedians, but about helping the participant recognize and engage with the audience on a level where the message of the scientist can land effectively with the listener. These games require participants to pay close, dynamic attention to others and emphasize the two-­‐way nature of communication: What is received counts more than what is said. Through the course of training, participants will investigate body language, listen with more awareness, and respond with greater sensitivity.

In Distilling Your Message, the combination of an interactive plenary and small group break-­‐out workshops helps participants learn to speak clearly and vividly about their work and why it matters, in terms non-­‐scientists can understand. Participants will practice finding common ground, speaking at different levels of complexity for different audiences, and answering questions about their work. The plenary will address problems and solutions in public interactions as well as peer-to-peer communication.


Events Include:


8:30-9:30 am: Introduction to Communicating Science General Session (unlimited attendees, required attendance for those participating in the hands-on Improvisation for Scientists workshop) OLSSON 120


9:30 am -12:30 pm: Improve for Scientists Workshop-32 participants will be selected (based on order of registration and completion of questions below) to participate in the Improvisation for Scientists workshop where you will discover theater exercises that help you connect more directly with listeners. It’s not about acting or comedy – it’s about paying dynamic attention to the people you’re talking with. Rodman Room, THORNTON HALL


1:30-2:30 pm: Introduction to Distilling your Message General Session (unlimited attendees, required attendance for those participating in the hands-on Distilling your Message workshop)  MONROE 130


2:30-4:30 pm: Distilling your Message Workshop-16 participants will be selected (based on order of registration and completion of registration question-participants must have attended the morning workshop of Improvisation for Scientists) to participate in the Distilling your Message workshop where you will learn how to talk clearly and conversationally about complex science without “dumbing it down.” NEW CABELL HALL, 552

Please email if you are interested in attending any of these events.