Essential skills; 1st meeting SO; course objectives

What Skills Matter?

1994 AIP study: industry, government and academe physicists ranked most frequently used skills:

problem solving, interpersonal skills, technical writing

A 1996 NAS Careers in Science study identified "survival" non-technical skills:

communication, teaching, writing
mentoring, teamwork, leadership

Communication skills include

clarity of expression
ability to organize thoughts
a good listener

Communication skills needed to:

First Class Meeting as a Sentence Outline

Abs: To sell science-related content to various audiences:

  1. Nature of audience refines the topic;
  2. Take-home message selects material;
  3. Criticism hones the presentation.

Refine technical content for intended audience.

  1. A different paper/talk for every audience.
  2. First two papers have non-science audience.
  3. Talks and last paper have class as audience.

Use take-home message (THM) to select material

  1. Adjust science level for audience-level THM.
  2. For page/time limits, keep material essential to THM.
  3. A sentence outline (a) lays out presentation logic; (b) eases revision; (c) speeds writing.

Seek and use criticism to perfect presentation

  1. Drafts will be anonymously evaluated by class.
  2. To effectively use criticism, author must assume the criticism reflects how well reader understand draft as written (not as intended by the author).
  3. Rewriting may mean throwing out the draft and restarting at either topic refinement or sentence outline stage.
  4. For talks, students solely evaluate; common response measure succsss & difference disorganization.

Epilogue: Skills stressed are relevant for persuading a known audience.

Course Objectives

To develop effective communication skills for various audiences.

    In striving for this objective, the course uses

  1. Lectures on various aspects of writing and speaking.
  2. Two papers and two talks by each class member.
    • Audience of papers is non-science peers.
    • Audience of talks is students in Physics 596.
  3. Policy papers at science level of class members.
  4. Proof you can write a resume.
  5. Peer assessment: solely of the talks and partially of the paper drafts.
  6. Detailed instructor comments on all assignments.

Strive to view all comments not as personal attacks but instead as serious, constructive suggestions for improvement.

Desired Skills: For Papers and Talks

Skill Comment
Define subject for
specific audience
Limit to tight point of view.
Find useful references In library and web
Write sentence outline Each (topic) sentence is paragraph point.
Greatly speed organization/writing.

Honing Skills Separately for Papers and Talks

TS = topic sentence
For Papers For Talks
TS is paragraph point. Each TS is viewgraph's point.
Write ¶ to develop TS's point. Organize viewgraph to explain viewgraph's point.
Use criticism to improve draft. Practicing talk improves fluency.
Effectively critique others: improve flaws with constructive ideas. Uses criticism of others to improve own talk.

To cite this page:
Imporant skills; SO as 1st lecture; course objective
[Saturday, 16-Dec-2017 17:21:47 EST]
Edited by: on Friday, 23-Mar-2012 15:58:31 EDT