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Alda Center Now Teaches Communication Skills to Entrepreneurs

Alda center workshop

The Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, renowned for helping scientists explain their work to a general audience, is now helping CEO-entrepreneurs better communicate their businesses with key audiences. The Alda Center Industry Initiative is for scientists, engineers and other technical professionals in industry who want to become better at communicating their work with varied audiences including clients, corporate leaders, marketing personnel, policy makers and colleagues in other disciplines.

Graham Chedd and Marcy McGinnis lead a workshop called Introduction to Distilling Your Message
Graham Chedd and Marcy McGinnis lead a workshop called Introduction to Distilling Your Message.

On March 23 executives from more than a dozen tech startups gathered at the Long Island High Technology Incubator as the Alda Center and the Center for Corporate Education held its first one-day seminar to teach entrpreneurs how to communicate more effectively. The seminar — hosted by the Clean Energy Business Incubator Program — included improvisation exercises, discussions on tailoring information to a specific audience and mock media interviews.

Many of the attendees shared concerns about communicating effectively and simply to potential customers, government officials, media outlets and investors.

Communication skills are also a crucial part of the patenting process. An idea must be communicated correctly and in detail when filing a patent, or entrepreneurs risk losing patent protection.

“It’s a three-legged stool, with the improv being by far the most important and the thing which is unique,” said Graham Chedd, a visiting professor at the Alda Center and a founding member of the science documentary series NOVA. “It’s an integrated package.”

Chedd was an instructor at the seminar along with SBU alum Louisa Johnson, who teaches at the Alda Center, and award-winning television executive Marcy McGinnis, who was instrumental in creating the Center.

For more information about the Alda Center Industry Initiative, please email karen.oaks@stonybrook.edu.

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