MIT: Independent Activities Period: IAP

IAP 2013

MIT Can Talk Workshops

Tony Eng

Enrollment: Unlimited: No advance sign-up
Attendance: Participants welcome at individual sessions
Prereq: none

A series of open and independent workshop sessions on public speaking/oral communications meant to be practical and hands-on.  No registration; come  to as many as you like.

Plus, you may win an "MIT Can Talk" T-shirt door prize!   (Limit one per individual across all workships; must be present to win.)

Add yourself to the mitcantalk-announce mailing list for reminders about general upcoming events related to MIT Can Talk!

Sponsor(s): Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Contact: Tony Eng,

Reading an Audience

Jan/28 Mon 10:00AM-12:00PM 32-141

No matter how brilliant your speaking may be, if you are not reaching the specific audience in the room your presentation will be poorly received. In this workshop we'll talk about observing body language and adapting on the fly as well as targeting your talk to the audience you expect to have (rather than the one you might like)! Be ready to be an emotional audience member!

Alison Malcolm

Wielding Humor

Jan/28 Mon 03:00PM-06:00PM 32-141

No one can be "taught" to be funny, comedy helps in all forms of communication. learn tips on incorporating humor into a speech, how to feel out your audience, how to employ certain techniques (e.g. timing, switches, setup/punchline/tag-on, callbacks, combinations, etc), and how to be able to work on your feet in a realtime environment. Come and "find your funny." Squares encouraged to attend.

Mehran Khaghani

Visualizing the Narrative

Jan/28 Mon 06:00PM-09:00PM 32-144

Narrative and storytelling are as old as human society. In this workshop, you will  develop narratives using a visual approach to storytelling that integrates complex systems, metaphor and storytelling in order to communicate a core message that connects with a target audience in a compelling way. Join us.

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai


Nonverbal Behaviors for Speaking

Jan/29 Tue 10:00AM-12:00PM 32-141

This workshop explores the roles and influences that various nonverbal behaviors have on effective speaking. Through various demonstrations and activities, we will discover the power of eye contact, movement/use of space, and gestures as they relate to engaging and influencing the audience.

Neal Hartman

Speechwriting and Message Crafting

Jan/29 Tue 12:30PM-02:30PM 32-144

Using the tools that speechwriters use when writing for someone else to help you write speeches for yourself.

Joshua Mueller

How to Tell a Compelling Story

Jan/29 Tue 03:00PM-05:30PM 32-144

Nothing grabs audience attention and imagination so strongly as a well-told story. This workshop will teach you how to tell a story so that people really listen: what to include, how to shape it, and how to keep every moment compelling.

Jo Radner


What the Audience Remembers

Jan/30 Wed 10:00AM-12:00PM 32-141

What does the audience remember after a one hour presentation? Probably only a few key points from your talk, a memorable quote and a detail or two about you.  So you better make sure that the things they take home are the ones that are important to you. This workshop is about what you want you audience to remember and how to make that happen.

David Engel

Express Yourself!

Jan/30 Wed 01:00PM-03:00PM 32-144

Expressive. Synonyms: Animated, Sensitive, Open, Easy-to-read, Dramatic.
Antonyms: Impassive, Emotionless, Blank, Expressionless, Inexpressive, Unrevealing
Which would you rather listen to? Which way would you rather speak?
Wear loose clothing.

Keeley Eastley


Don't Just Stand There

Jan/30 Wed 04:00PM-06:00PM 32-144

Dynamic speakers are vocally energetic, but they should be physically energetic as well. Learn some ideas for how to more effectively utilize your room during a speaking engagement.

Tony Eng

Your Presence in Space

Jan/31 Thu 11:00AM-02:00PM 32-144

An effective confident speaker is more than just physically "there" -- they are present, they are in the moment, they take up space. Learn how to find and fill both the space within you and the space immediately around you, so that you can be yourself in front of an audience.  Wear loose clothing conducive for physical movement.

Anna Kohler

Getting Your Face Out of Your Speech

Jan/31 Thu 02:30PM-05:30PM 32-144

I clunod't bvleiee taht I culod aulaclty cummicontae waht I was rdnaieg! How do you read without reading? Not so differently than reading that first sentence. Explore how to "take the words off the page", while continuing to make a connection with your partner/audience. Covering keywording, phrasing, text analysis and even some helpful writing hints we will perfect the art of the "cold read".

James Elliott