Pre-Conference Workshop

Making the Choice To Connect

Thursday, October 14th 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Plenary and breakout session presented by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science 

Alternate breakout session presented by Dr. Laura Garrett

Sponsored by




8:30 am to 10:00 am

Plenary session:  Open to unlimited attendees
Focus: Making the Choice to Connect
Synopsis:  During this ninety minute session, the instructor and attendees will use simple improvisational theater exercises and message-design techniques to help you explore and experience effective communication strategies especially as it relates to complex ideas such as science.  You will build fundamental skills in active listening designed to help you, a researcher, better understand your audience.  Attendees will begin to develop skills and strategies that will help you improve audience engagement and understanding.

10:00 am to 10:30 am     Morning Break

10:30 am – 12:00 pm

Option 1 Breakout 

Presented by: Alda Center instructor
Price:  $50 per person; Open to first 32 people to register beginning July 1
Focus:  Crafting Clear and Vivid Communication
Synopsis: Inspired by Alan Alda’s notion that “real listening is the willingness to let the other person change you,” this breakout session builds on the foundations of the opening plenary. Participants will apply their fresh insights to a sequence of improvisational exercises and message design challenges. Specific skills work in listening, relating, ordering information, and defining meaningful goals to make their message stick is layered into small group practice with peer feedback.

Option 2 Breakout

Presented by:  Dr. Laura Garrett, DVM, DACVIM (Onc)
Price:  FREE and open to all
Focus: Easing the burden of communicating with clients
Synopsis: Dealing with clients is often one of the major stressors in veterinary professionals’ work lives. This follow-up session will focus on the use of a range of techniques, including aspects presented in the plenary talk, to make communication within the medical care setting more fruitful and enjoyable. Discussion will be encouraged. Come away with a few specific items to try in your daily practice life.