On January 8, Young Women In Bio RTP hosted a communications workshop titled "Communicating Your Best Self" at the North Carolina School of Science and Math for 11th and 12th graders. 20 students attended the workshop in which three Young Women In Bio volunteers, who are active graduate students or industry professionals in biosciences, presented on best practice methods for effective communication in different settings. A large part of the presentation was sharing personal experiences in the field of science and specific challenges and ways to overcome them. The presentation broke down the verbal and non-verbal forms of communication – emphasizing how much of effective communication relies on the non-verbal components. The presentation included demonstrations on non-verbal communication methods such as handshakes and body language. This included a session for the students to practice introducing themselves and shaking each other's hands. Videos were also shown in the presentation that exemplified the influence of tone, inflection, and uptalk in communication.
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In general, the students seemed surprised at how much of communication relies on the non-verbal portion – including dressing appropriately for professional settings – and how it can have such a strong impact on a communication message. Specific questions were asked on how to communicate effectively at networking events and scientific conferences and the best ways to prepare for those situations. The volunteers discussed these questions and suggested ways for students to find the best communication practice methods for each of them.
The volunteers enjoyed having an engaged and enthusiastic conversation with the students on communication and were happy to share their own personal experiences in this workshop. YWIB hopes to be able to participate in a communication workshop event again and thanks Dr. Kimberly Monahan for her help in organizing and coordinating the event for her students.