Organizations and conference organizers are increasingly looking to integrate science communication skill building into their professional development tracks. I’ve conducted dozens of communications workshops for leading science organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and the American Geophysical Union.
My workshops include presentations and lectures, robust Q+A, discussions of video clips, roleplaying exercises and peer learning.
I've designed workshops that cover many types of communications skills, including:
Identifying audiences and how to reach them.
Conducting media interviews.
Crafting compelling presentations.
Testifying before legislators.
Most of our workshops still rely too heavily on lectures and Q+A to get points across. But group exercises, one-on-one coaching and learning by doing are powerful ways to build new skills.
Junior faculty can be among the most visionary scientists. But they’re seldom the most practiced communicators. In an environment where evidence-based messages are needed more than ever, Aaron devised a curriculum for Columbia’s Mailman School that demystified science communication and readied faculty in disciplines from health policy to maternal health to translate their research for media, policymakers, and donors. Aaron led two days of hands-on training, helping identify vulnerabilities in the public health narrative and countering them with intellect, logic, and wit. More than two years later, his initial class of ‘trainees’ are among our most visible faculty members.
So many Earth and space scientists are eager to build their communications skills. Over the past several years, Aaron has worked hand-in-hand with us to produce high-quality, interactive communication workshops for our members. In addition to running some of our workshops, he’s helped us find compelling panelists, offered terrific examples of successful communication in a variety of circumstances and given hands-on support to attendees as they’ve developed their own messages around their science. The workshops have always been a great success, with 93 percent or more of the attendees rating the workshop as excellent. Aaron’s presentations are always entertaining, accessible, and filled with vivid and helpful examples. His input and feedback to participants is unfailingly kind, thoughtful, incisive, and applicable. Aaron’s passion for science communication is clear and it energizes those who work with him and learn from him.