Scientific Communication: Improvement through Improvisation


Wednesday, May 3, 2017, 2:00pm to 3:30pm


Waterhouse Room, Gordon Hall, 1st. Fl., 25 Shattuck Street

Workshop Facilitator:
Jake Livingood, Senior Assistant Director of Graduate Student Career Services at MIT's Global Education and Career Development office. He is also a graduate of the Improv Asylum Training Center in the North End of Boston. Jake has offered numerous improv workshop for a variety of groups at MIT and beyond.

Workshop Desciption: The 90-minute workshop is highly interactive and participatory. The workshop begins with improv warm-up activities that emphasize verbal, vocal and visual forms of communication and speaking with confidence in an uncertain environment. Participants continue to prepare for the unexpected by drawing a slip of paper describing a workplace scenario from a bowl and role-playing how they would respond to it. 

Jake will lead the group in role-play exercises designed to help postdocs:
- Prepare for the unexpected during enounters with colleagues or employers
- Increase your ability to work in teams by evaluating your reactions to stressful situations
- Confidently respond to difficult situations in the lab, workplace or in an interview

Jake has developed the EXPERT method for reacting to unexpected questions:

- Expect that an unexpected question or situation will arise. This puts you in the mindset to expect uncomfortable situations and leads to a greater chance of adapting when circumstances arise.
-  Prepare ahead of time for those potential situations. This can include reflection about how to handle common scenarios or practicing through improv activities.
-  Evaluate the uncomfortable situation. How does this situation make you feel? Do you change facial expressions or body posture? Does your communication convey doubt?
-  Respond to the student with confidence. Be comfortable with what you know and what you don't know.
-  Talk with a trusted person (peer, advisor, others). It is important to process uncomfortable classroom experiences with trusted mentors and colleagues. This provides an opportunity for growth as a colleague or mentor/mentee. 


improv_workshop.pdf11.52 MB