Talking in Triangles: Communicating Science

SOCORRO, N.M. October 30, 2012– Professional communicator Dan Agan is presenting a workshop on communicating for scientists and engineers Friday.


Dan Agan


Agan will present “Talking in Triangles: Effective Communication to Non-STEM Audiences” twice on Friday – at 8 a.m. and again at 1 p.m. The workshop, which will include demonstrations and participatory exercises, will last about 3½ hours and will be in the Tripp Room of the Skeen Library (room 212).

“The basic thesis of the workshop is helping scientists and engineers, researchers, technicians, professionals to communicate more effectively with non-technical audiences,” he said in a phone interview. “I give them a crash course in communicating effectively. Scientists aren’t doing anything wrong, but many of them haven’t been exposed to any significant mentoring or training or coaching in how to signal the value and meaning of their work to non-technical audiences.”

Agan will focus the workshop on creating and distilling a message. He also will discuss creating “talking slides” and making effective and interesting PowerPoint presentations.

“Communicating what you do is on par with actually doing it,” he said. “The fundamental skills we’ll cover are easily transferable to writing, lecturing or interviewing.”

While the workshop is designed for professionals, students are welcome to attend. Several Tech faculty, staff and students attending an NSF-sponsored workshop in Albuquerque last year, which was co-lead by Agan. This workshop will include some of that material.

Dr. Mary Dezember attended that workshop and was impressed enough to invite Agan to bring a similar workshop to Tech.

“Dan Agan is a dynamic speaker who will inspire us about new ways to think about communicating,” Dezember said. “I’m glad we could bring him to Tech. I think this is a great opportunity for Tech researchers to get a new perspective about sharing their work.”

Agan is President of Panthera Group LLC, a strategic communications firm which specializes in branding, marketing and communications initiatives that drive client success.

Formerly, he served as senior vice president of Programming and Marketing for the PBS television network, principal and senior marketing executive for PBS Enterprises, and Chief Marketing Officer for publicly-traded software companies Excalibur Technologies and Convera Corp.

Agan frequently speaks on branding, communications, and signaling value at professional conferences, and has been a guest lecturer in marketing and communications at leading universities, including George Washington University, Harvard Graduate School of Business and the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum. He has coached over 2,000 scientists, engineers, and corporate executives in media relations and communications, co-created the Emmy-award-winning series The Science Of, is a contributing author to the book Broadcast Advertising and Promotion, and is an award-winning advertising copywriter.

Early in his career, he was a broadcast journalist and television producer/director, and continues to consult on, produce and direct programs for organizations, television and the web. Agan has counseled a broad range of private sector, non-profit and government organizations on branding, business, marketing and communications strategies, including AOL, AARP, Discovery Communications, Encyclopedia Britannica, the National Science Foundation, TSM Corporation, the Metropolitan Opera Association (NY), the University of Evansville (IN), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Fleischman-Hillard Public Relations, and the United States Department of State, among others.

This workshop is sponsored by the Office of Research and Economic Development, the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning (Department of Education SES Title V grant), the Office of Academic Affairs and the Department of Education PPOHA Title V grant.

People interested in participating should RSVP to vpaa@admin.nmt.edu or call Jacoby Boles at 835-5363.

– NMT –

By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech