The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University is dedicated to helping scientists more effectively communicate with the public, with funders, with policymakers, and with fellow scientists.
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.
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.
UVM has entered into a relationship with the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, based at Stony Brook University. The center’s mission is to enhance understanding of science by training the next generation of scientists and health professionals to communicate more effectively with the public, public officials, the media and others outside their own discipline.