The Performing Art of Science Presentation at AAS 229

by Guest on September 14, 2016

This guest post is by Emily Rice and Chris Crockett on behalf of the AAS Employment Committee and is one of a series of posts advertising the activities at the upcoming #AAS229 Meeting in Grapevine, TX

We’d like to encourage you to consider attending The Performing Art of Science Presentation Workshop on Tuesday, January 3, 2017 at the AAS Meeting in Grapevine, TX.

Talking about science — whether to colleagues, students, or the public — can be just as essential as the papers, proposals, observations, programming, and data analysis that comprise our more stereotypical science activities. An engaging presentation makes others take notice of what you’re doing and can be key to breeding new ideas, building collaborations, or landing a job. Yet, it’s an aspect of being a scientist that few of us are trained in.

If you want to give clear and memorable talks, ones that make your audience engage with your content and remember it (and you) long after they’ve left the room, then there’s a workshop you’ll want to check out at the January AAS meeting.

A science presentation is very much a performance — you are on a stage and asking an audience to give you their attention. You want to tell them a story that helps them connect with your ideas, and you want them to be influenced by what you have said and how you say it. And that’s why scientists can learn some valuable lessons from the world of theater.

Nancy Houfek, an actor and director, is running a workshop at the AAS 229 in Grapevine that uses techniques from theater and storytelling to bring your talks to life. Body language and voice, purpose and structure, confidence and passion — all of these are tools that can make your talks more polished and engaging. Nancy will share how to leverage these skills the next time you communicate with an audience. 

The first (shorter) version of this workshop at AAS 227 in Orlando was outstanding. There was lots to learn, even for a relatively experienced presenter. Nancy is an extremely knowledgeable and accomplished performer and is also attuned to the particular communication challenges facing scientists. The only complaint was that the workshop needed more time and space for the participants to explore and practice many of the techniques than Nancy shared, which is why AAS 229 in Grapevine will feature a longer version of this workshop.

The workshop runs from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 3. Preregistration is required so be sure to sign up when you register for the meeting! Sign up by September 29 so that your next science presentation is one that people remember.

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