Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Science communicators: Your wish list for a newsletter, and a workshop?

I just spent a weekend with many of my favorite science communicators, and want to continue here a conversation I started there, informally, with those of you who also work with scientists and help them communicate with public and media audiences. Here's what I want to know: What would your wish list look like for a train-the-trainers-type workshop specifically focused on helping you learn about training scientists in communications skills?
Regular readers of this blog know that many clients hire me to train their researchers in framing what they want to say so that it's clear to non-scientist audiences--I've done that in a series of workshops on communicating science to the public for the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as for universities, corporations, and other nonprofits. But I'm well aware that many colleagues working in those organizations have to do some version of that training on the spot, in the workplace, every week. So I'm considering the development of a train-the-trainers workshop that will offer a toolkit you can take back to your operation, along with practice in and discussion of tactics that work (and don't work), and an understanding of what might motivate your scientists to learn and try public communication skills.  I'd like that workshop to be based on real-time needs, so please share your thoughts in the comments, or email them to me at info[at]dontgetcaught[dot]biz.

Part two of this request: Perhaps not surprisingly, I have a lot of scientist-followers, particularly for posts on The Eloquent Woman that are focused on science communication.  Scientists aren't my only client focus, of course, so the topic comes up only infrequently. I'm wondering whether there's a place for a regular newsletter aimed at helping scientists communicate with public or non-technical audiences. I'm thinking of a paid subscription newsletter that would offer an inexpensive but regular source of encouragement, examples and education about how to make technical topics clear.  But before I launch, I want your feedback at the email above, or in the comments below. What would you find useful in such a newsletter?

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I'm looking forward to hearing your ideas.

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