MIT Can Talk : Workshops


A series of independent workshop sessions on public speaking/oral communication will be offered at the end of IAP. They are meant to be practical and hands-on, and are open to all members of the MIT community and beyond. Come to as many or as few as you like!

Drop-ins are welcome (unless it is a limited-capacity workshop), however, you are encouraged to sign up ahead of time so that we can enough materials on hand and we have a way to contact you in case the workshop location is moved or cancelled (e,g, due to snow). If for some reason, we have to limit attendance (e.g. room is too small), we will give preference to individuals who have signed up.

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Workshop Schedule

Note: subject to change and updated as details become available.

On Friday, Jan 22nd

Organizing Your Thoughts by Kitty Huang
12noon-1:30pm, 26-328 Signup!
A brilliant mind ferments many intelligent ideas. Being able to express ideas clearly to others is a key element in successful communication. This interactive workshop will help you to transform your random thoughts into succinct presentations with a solid structure. Bring your "spaghetti thoughts"; we will straighten them out here.

Scientific Storytelling by Sean Kearney
2-3:30pm, 26-328 Signup!
Science can often be difficult to communicate well. Learn how to communicate scientific concepts in a clear and compelling fashion using the elements of narrative craft.

On Saturday, Jan 23rd

Storytelling by Tony Eng
1-3pm, 26-328 Signup!
Nothing grabs an audience's attention than a well-told story. You will workshop and develop a story. Want to enter the MIT Can Talk competition but don't know what to talk about? Come to this workshop!

Audience Engagement by Kyle Keldsen
3-5pm, 26-328 Signup!
Speaker ready? Check! Message prepared? Check! Audience engaged? Wait…what? Engaging your audience is an often unexplored key to delivering a great presentation. In this session, you will learn tips & techniques to better connect with your listeners, rather than just speak at them. When someone actively participates in your presentation, they become emotionally & psychologically involved in the message you are sharing, allowing you to serve them more effectively. This is a mashup of two Own the Room modules; limited to 24 participants.

On Sunday, Jan 24th

Connect First by Tony Eng
1-2:30pm, 26-328 Signup!
Practice your technique by presenting some fundamental tips on how to be a great presenter, and learning about how the brain blocks and receives information. Included are a series of tips and exercises on how to eliminate weak language, overcome nervousness and actually enjoy speaking before groups. This is an Own the Room module; limited to 16 participants.

Voice Modulation by Tony Eng
3-4:30pm, 26-328 Signup!
Learn how to modulate the volume and speed of your voice, and to expand your body language to enhance and punctuate your speech. This is an Own the Room module; limited to 16 participants.

On Monday, Jan 25th

Wielding Humor : Comedic Delivery by George Gallagher
2-4pm, 26-328 (Speaker will be on Skype in LA) Signup!
Sponsored by the De Florez Fund for Humor
Learn techniques for delivering comedic lines such as explosions, reversals and staircases. Come and "find your funny." Squares encouraged to attend!

Wielding Humor : Comedic Writing by David O'Donnell
4-6pm, 26-328 (Speaker will be on Skype in LA) Signup!
Sponsored by the De Florez Fund for Humor
Learn techniques used by Hollywood comedy writers to mine your own personal reservoir of comedy. You'll discover how to create a comedic throughline to build your content on, or merely ways to inject a dose of humor into your writing. You will learn various exercises including 'The Cluster', 'The 7 Deadly Sins' and other ways to access your funny bone.

On Tuesday, Jan 26th

Effective Delivery by Bob Dolan
2-4pm, 26-328 Signup!
This workshop is designed to provide you with tips and strategies for delivering an effective speaking engagement. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be. We will also discuss room set-up, body language and verbal delivery.

On Wednesday, Jan 27th

Your Presence in Space by Anna Kohler
1-3pm, Walker 201 (enter Memorial Drive side)
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. Limited to 25 participants.

Workshop Leader Bios

Bob Dolan provides career counseling and professional development workshops for the Postdoctoral Scholars program at MIT. He has held several roles at MIT since 2005 and has served the undergraduate, graduate and alumni programs across all courses and disciplines. Before joining academia, Bob had a private Career Consulting practice. Bob is active as a guest speaker and has delivered programs at several universities and career venues throughout the northeast region. He also volunteers and provides career guidance to military personnel transitioning into the civilian workforce. Prior to a profession in Career Management, Bob worked 20 years in industry as a member of Corporate Finance Management teams and led global organizations. Bob holds a BS in Business, an MBA, and worked in the publishing, chemical, and high technology telecomm industries.

Tony Eng hates writing these things. If you really want to know, there's Google (weebly Tony oral communication); but even better, just meet him and ask!

George Gallagher is an award winning actor, producer and writer who has performed in over 50 theatrical and film productions including,  "The Sunshine Boys" for comedy legend Neil Simon, "It Must Be Him", for Kenny Solms, (Emmy Winning writer of The Carol Burnett Show and The Golden Girls) in addition to Angeles in America for the late theatrical and film director, Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Barefoot in The Park- Nichos & May Comedy Duo).

Kitty Huang is a communication trainer. She has worked as a copywriter, screenwriter, and journalist. Her insightful mind and creative approach have successfully resolved conflicts and have created opportunities. She specializes in communication techniques between men and women; parents and children; employers and employees, as well as business providers and clients.

Sean Kearney is a PhD Candidate in the MIT Department of Biological Engineering. As a member of the Purdue iGEM team for four years, he was exposed to an enormous variety of scientific communication styles. Currently, Sean works in Eric Alm’s lab discovering the principles underlying the evolution and organization of microbial communities. In his free time, Sean enjoys dodging buses while biking the streets of Cambridge, advocating for animal welfare, falling off rock walls, and fermenting vegetables and sugary liquids.

Kyle Keldsen is a life-long trainer and speaker. While in Junior High, Kyle and a team of fellow students won first place in the Monterey Bay Area Computer Contest. Unfortunately, his lagging math skills kept him from becoming a tech guru! After spending close to twenty years in technology sales, Kyle has transitioned back to his first love—public speaking. In addition to his role as Coach for Own The Room, Kyle is a leader within Toastmasters—a global non-profit organization dedicated to developing speakers and leaders.

David O'Donnell wrote and produced the award winning dark comedy Love & Dating: in LA!, which screened at 10 festivals internationally including Cleveland International Film Festival, Hollyshorts, and Santa Monica International Film Fest where it won the Audience Choice Award. He has several projects currently in development, including feature script Sons of Salt - in development with producer Adam Schroeder (Zoolander, The Truman Show, Chronicle).

Last Modified: Oct 10, 2015