Sunday, February 26, 2017
10:00 – 13:00 or 14:00 – 17:00
Imagine a world where movie theater marquises boast titles about ocean acidification, phytoplankton ecology, and streambed geomorphology. Sound far-fetched? Perhaps. But we can all agree that Hollywood has figured out a few things about communication that science could learn from. Their time-tested storytelling techniques and perspectives can indeed help us turn science into something average people and policymakers really care about.
Improv instructor and communications expert Brian Palermo returned to ASLO to present a 3-hour communications bootcamp for scientists. Palermo, a co-author of the book Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking (2013), has led numerous workshops giving participants a hands-on practicum in the elements of effective communication. Participants in his previous ASLO workshops have called this approach “much needed in the scientific community” and said the workshops “should be compulsory for all professional scientists.” Palermo’s dynamic presence also makes the workshop lots of fun. See some videos and summaries from prior workshops below.
Participants learned from the workshop leaders and each other by experimenting with improv techniques and practicing communicating their science with the group. The workshop was open to all attendees and communication experience levels, from students to senior faculty and communications novices to seasoned practitioners. Financial support for this workshop was provided by the Ocean Sciences Division of the National Science Foundation; attendance was free of charge for registered attendees of the 2017 Aquatic Sciences Meeting.
Background Information & Resources
- Video: Improv exercises from Expert Village: “First Letter, Last Letter” and “Yes, And?” (90 seconds each)
- Video: Randy Olson’s TED talk about the “And, But, Therefore” storytelling template (10 minutes)
- Video: Randy Olson’s webinar about the Story Circles Narrative Training program (1 hour)
- Video: “Why aren’t they listening?” panel discussion at OSM 2014 (1 hour)
- Video: “Overcoming the cultural gap between scientists and the public” panel discussion at OSM 2012 (2 hours)
- Article: ASLO Bulletin: “Improv training for scientists” by Brian Palermo
- Article: ASLO Bulletin review of Connection: Hollywood Storytelling Meets Critical Thinking (2013) by Olson, Barton, and Palermo