Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science: The Intro (Plenary Session)
- 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
During his 11 years hosting the PBS television series “Scientific American Frontiers,” Alan Alda realized that the conversational approach he took in interviewing scientists led to a surprisingly spontaneous and vivid presentation of their work. Using improvisational techniques he had learned in 50 years of acting on stage on on-screen, Alda devised The Alda Method™. Since 2009, the Alda Center has used this training methodology to improve the communication skills of thousands of scientists and health professionals throughout the world.
This interactive session introduces participants to general principles in how to craft short, clear, conversational statements — intelligible to non-scientists — about what you do and why it matters. The session consists of an interactive presentation and discussion on interpreting technical material using examples and analogies to illuminate unfamiliar concepts to your audience. The plenary will address problems and solutions in public interactions as well as peer-to-peer communication. Participants will be actively engaged in improvisation exercises and will practice clarity in speaking to non-scientists about their work.
Target audience: Faculty, staff, postdoctoral associates and students who want to develop skills that will enable them to effectively and successfully communicate about their research and scholarship with those outside their field.
About the instructor: James Rea is a communications coach and consultant who specializes in helping scientists, engineers and other technical experts reach their key audiences with clear, engaging stories. James started on this path nearly 20 years ago, when he took on a communications role with the U.S. EPA’s Design for the Environment Program. In 1998, James left the EPA to bring stories of science and sustainability to a wider audience as an independent reporter and producer for National Public Radio. His work aired on NPR affiliate stations around the country, most often reaching listeners via the airwaves of WAMU 88.5 FM in Washington, DC. In 2001, James began his own communications consulting practice, putting his skills to work for a variety of clients including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the American Chemical Society’s Green Chemistry Institute, the Center for Green Chemistry & Green Engineering at Yale, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. James continues this work now as an instructor for Alda Center workshops, driven by his passion for helping scientists, engineers and other technical experts share their inspiring and vitally important work with the world.
Memorial Union, Great Hall