Effective Oral Communication

Effective Oral Communication is designed to convey the principles and practice of dynamic and persuasive techniques for the oral communication of scientific information. Giving practice talks and working in small groups, students spend much of their class time critiquing actual presentations, including their own, and solving a wide range of exercises that exemplify the real-world challenges that face presenters. Free-form, in-class discussions make it possible for class members to learn from one another’s experiences. The material is tailored for use in Master’s- or Doctoral-level degree programs, as well as in programs leading to certification, such as the Humphrey Fellow’s Program. Training modules can also be adapted for use in distance-based learning.

Major components of the course include …

  • scientific message construction for various target audiences.
  • concepts for crafting oral communications of scientific information to a variety of audiences.
  • systematic approaches to audience analyses and the preparation of graphic support, like PowerPoint slide decks.
  • analysis of first impressions and the importance of a professional image.
  • effective strategies for dealing with the media.

Learning Objectives Associated with Competencies

  1. Describe the principles for effective oral communication of scientific information.
  2. Explain how communications is an interactive process in which both information and meaning are shared.
  3. Distinguish among data, information, and messages.
  4. Define the term “target audience,” characterize such an audience, and plan, conduct, and critically evaluate an analysis of an audience.
  5. Define the term “SOCO” (Single Over-Riding Communications Objective) and to be able to condense complex messages into sound-bite-sized SOCOs.
  6. Critically evaluate the elements comprising persuasive and informing presentations.
  7. Explain and characterize the most effective approaches needed to prepare material for the primary purpose of persuading versus informing, and to be able to use the three types of persuasive proofs (logos, pathos, and ethos) in such presentations.
  8. Explain and apply the different approaches needed to prepare material to be conveyed in print versus orally.
  9. Distinguish among the most effective approaches for preparing material to be conveyed to scientific versus non-scientific audiences.
  10. Create and integrate into a presentation (written or oral) appropriate and effective tables, graphs, charts, and photographs to enhance the quality of that presentation.
  11. Demonstrate the effective use of visual aids for oral presentations of scientific work.
  12. Describe effective strategies for dealing with the media.
  13. Explain how a speaker’s image and dress communicate important messages to an audience.
  14. Describe the basic steps in dealing effectively with the media and especially the communications aspects of an emergency public health setting.