Communicating Science: Distilling Your Message


Target Audience:

Open only to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employees. Recommended for ologists (e.g., archeologists, biologists, geologists, hydrologists, etc.), field supervisors, project leaders, and others who communicate the scientific work of the Service to a variety of audiences - particularly audiences who may lack a science background.

Summary and Objectives:

The aim of this course is to help participants learn to communicate more effectively about science with people outside their field, including members of the public, policy makers, the media, and prospective collaborators in non-science disciplines. It is taught by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science - the nation's leading science communication research, education, and training organization. The 2-day program immerses participants in the Alda Method and empowers them to use and adapt new communication skills to a wide variety of situations. Participants will learn and experiment with effective communication strategies and skills. On the first day, learners practice paying close attention to verbal and non-verbal communication, setting real and achievable communication goals, and crafting a brief talk for a large audience. On the second day, participants learn to engage in difficult conversations successfully, and practice using narrative techniques to share their work and its significance. The combination of an interactive plenary and small group work will help participants learn to speak clearly and vividly about their work and why it matters in terms non-scientists can understand.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Employ strategies that make messages and information memorable.
  • Shift their focus to others to adapt messages to aid another's understanding.
  • Prioritize clarity by minimizing jargon and using evocative language and analogies.
  • Apply a strategic communication tool to consider audience, context, challenges, and communication goals.
  • Develop, practice, and, with constructive peer feedback, refine a short talk.
  • Identify and practice deploying strategies useful for difficult conversations.
  • Harness the power of narrative to discuss complex science and research.

Competency Addressed:

Communication - Basic, Communications and Media - Basic, Oral Communication - Intermediate, Speaking - Intermediate

Course Short Name
Course Type
Course Category
Training Tuition Cost
16.0 hours
Training Credit Hours
Semester Hours

Questions and Registration

Course Contact


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