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Workshop Preparation: After Confirmation and Scheduling

This page is for institutions who have a signed agreement with AAAS to host a AAAS Communicating Science workshop (or workshops) at their institution.

Thank you for booking a AAAS Communicating Science event! Now that you have reserved your date, it is time to recruit workshop participants and plan the logistics.

Virtual Events

Virtual Workshops

Graphic depicting tips for joining a GoToTraining session. Photo credit: AAAS.
Tips for joining workshops via GoToTraining. Photo Credit: AAAS.

Virtual seminars are hosted in GoToTraining. They are interactive and participants have the option, but are not required, to turn on their microphones and cameras during discussions. Participants will need to register in advance for virtual workshops and should join 5 minutes early. Participants joining a virtual workshop should:

  • Join using your unique link. (Each participant must register individually and will get a link via email.)
  • Enter your audio pin if joining the audio by phone so that your mute/unmute controls work properly.
  • Use a headset instead of a computer’s built-in speakers and microphone to make it easier for you to be heard and to prevent echoes.
  • Mute your microphone unless you are asking or responding to a question.
  • Turn off your camera unless you are speaking.

Virtual Seminars

Virtual seminars are hosted in GoToMeeting. Participants have the option, but are not required, to turn on their microphones and cameras when asking questions. Participants joining a virtual seminar should:

  • Enter your audio pin if joining the audio by phone so that your mute/unmute controls work properly.
  • Use a headset instead of a computer’s built-in speakers and microphone to make it easier for you to be heard and to prevent echoes.
  • Mute your microphone unless you are asking or responding to a question.
  • Turn off your camera unless you are speaking.

In-Person Workshops Events

AV Requirements

AAAS requires the following audiovisual equipment onsite to be provided by the host:

  • Podium with microphone (as needed; lavalier microphone preferred)
  • Audience microphone (recommended)
  • LCD Projector
  • Projection screen
  • Computer with Microsoft PowerPoint, USB port, and internet access
  • Video/audio projection capability through computer and audio hookup (for playing video with sound from laptop)

Room Set-Up

  • Participants will be writing and working in small groups, thus classroom-style setup or round tables are preferred.
  • Allow space at the front of the room for a podium and projection screen that is visible to all participants.
  • Food and beverages (if provided) should be placed in the back of the workshop room or in an adjacent room.

Food and Beverage

Food and beverage service is not required but is typically appreciated by workshop participants and is provided by the host. If offered, food and beverage service is provided by the hosting institution or their agent. We recommend:

  • Coffee and water for the workshop duration.
  • Full-day workshops: light breakfast items along with coffee and tea, lunch at midday, and a light snack during afternoon break.


Hosts are responsible for registering participants for in-person workshops. We recommend you collect the following information from each participant ahead of the workshop and share it with AAAS during your planning call (approximately 2-3 weeks before the workshop):

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Job title and area of research
  • Level of science communication experience

AAAS will also conduct an anonymous pre-workshop survey. The registration and survey information will allow us to better tailor the content of your workshop to the participants.

Marketing Materials

Workshops Flyer

Promotional Image

Marketing Language

Join your colleagues for an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Communicating Science Workshop specifically designed to help you plan and participate in a wide variety of public engagement activities. During this three-hour workshop designed for scientists and engineers, you will develop your public engagement and science communication skills through discussion, self-reflection, small-group work and practice sessions. The workshop focuses on the importance of effective, two-way communication and is designed to enable you to engage in meaningful, reciprocal dialogue with diverse audiences. When the workshop is complete, you will be able to clearly identify a public engagement goal, define a relevant audience, craft messages tailored to that audience and consider the most effective method for engaging that audience.

Workshop Module Descriptions

Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals
The introductory-level, three-hour Science Communication and Public Engagement Fundamentals module introduces scientists and engineers to the latest science communication research and basic best practices for engaging with the public. Participants use the AAAS Framework for Public Engagement to develop individual plans that include a public engagement goal and address ways to engage a relevant audience with tailored messages. Participants also brainstorm an engagement scenario and identify next steps to put their plans into action. This workshop is designed for scientists and engineers who don’t have much experience with public engagement, although experienced engagers may find it useful.

Engaging the Public with Social Media
The three-hour Engaging the Public with Social Media module guides scientists and engineers through reflection on the state of the evolving social media landscape and their roles in it. Appropriate for both novices and those who are already using social media, participants evaluate their online presence and think critically about how they can use social media to accomplish their public engagement goals. This module combines instruction, guided discussion and individual and group activities and culminates with participants developing comprehensive social media public engagement plans.

Engaging Communities in Climate Conversations
The three-hour Engaging Communities in Climate Conversations module guides scientists through the fundamentals of engaging in conversations about climate change, with a focus on impacts and solutions. Participants consider the American public’s attitudes and concerns about climate change and response options, develop actionable goals for engaging around these topics, think carefully about their target audience, and craft science and solution-minded messages that will resonate with that audience. Participants analyze real-world examples of communities responding to climate change and consider how to cultivate similar conversations in their own engagement work.

Engaging the Media
The three-hour Engaging the Media module helps scientists plan for engaging with journalists and media consumers. Participants consider how news is reported, the range of audiences and platforms for conveying news, the role of intermediaries such as public information officers, and the benefit of the media as a tool to extend the reach of conversations. With guidance from a facilitator, participants evaluate the newsworthiness of their research and prepare for a planned or hypothetical media engagement. Participants rehearse a media interview, both sitting in the “hot seat” and playing the role of a journalist, broadening their perspective of how the media works.

Engaging Policymakers
The three-hour Engaging Policymakers module illuminates the policy landscape, illustrating where and how policy happens and the many roles scientists and engineers can play in decision-making. Using the AAAS Public Engagement framework as a guide, participants develop an individual engagement goal, strategically identify a target audience and identify key ideas around which to center conversations. Facilitators guide participants through thinking critically about mechanisms for engaging policymakers, encouraging dialogue and evaluating their activity to inform future engagements. Participants analyze a real-world example that informs their engagement plans.

Engaging People of Faith
The three-hour Engaging People of Faith workshop was developed in collaboration with the AAAS Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion (DoSER) program to support inclusive engagement with diverse publics, particularly communities and people of faith. Through guided discussion, participants review the historical and social context for science engagement; how culture, worldview, and identity (including faith) influence ideas about science; and best practices for science engagement on potentially contentious topics. Participants will collaborate with peers on a challenging question or situation to help shape how they approach future public engagement activities with people of faith.

Evaluation Surveys

The Center works closely with social scientists whose research addresses science communication and public engagement with science, including scientists’ goals and motivations for engaging with the public. Working with these researchers, we have developed an evaluation program that measures progress toward these goals. We use anonymous pre- and post-workshop surveys to collect information about workshop participants’ engagement goals and workshop feedback.