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Excellent communicators

Sometimes we all need a little inspiration. Luckily, when it comes to women in science and engineering there’s no shortage of excellent and inspiring communicators! Our “excellent communicator of the month” page is updated monthly, so stay tuned for the cream of the communication crop!

Amy Cuddy – Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are

 

In this video, Social psychologist Amy Cuddy shows how “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence, even when we don’t feel confident — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain, and might even have an impact on our chances for success.

Amy Smith – Simple Designs That Could Save Lives

 

In this video, MIT engineer Amy Smith details an exciting but simple solution: a tool for turning farm waste into clean-burning charcoal. Fumes from indoor cooking fires kill more than 2 million children a year in the developing world, but this simple tool could change that.

Amy Smith comes across as sincere, passionate and relatable. She confidently and clearly articulates her project and achievements without appearing boastful or arrogant. Her key strengths are: smiling (see 9:58 – 10:32 as Smith conveys her passion for the project with a smile) and self promotion (Smith doesn’t shy away from confidently expressing the achievements of her and her team).

Jill Bolte Taylor – A Stroke of Insight

 

Jill Bolte Taylor expertly weaves her personal story with a broader message in this inspiring TED Talk video. Her strengths include: self-disclosure (Taylor discloses two personal stories about mental illness and disease that help the audience relate to her and respect her dedication and devotion to studying the brain), the use of gestures (Taylor uses her hands and arms in swift fluid motions to emphasize her points. She uses the gestures to help explain the use of each hemisphere of the brain), and the use of compelling material (watch between 2:22 – 3:50 as Taylor uses a real human brain to illustrate her message).

Brene Brown – The Power of Vulnerability

 

Like all good speakers, Brown displays her competence and communality through her passion for the subject. Her main strengths are: effective use of voice tone (listen how Brene Brown fluctuates her voice for maximum efficacy at 0:43 – 1:34 and 3:15 – 3:43), good body positioning (moving around the stage, taking up space), and smiling (see how Brown’s facial expression between 13:14 and 13:45 enhances her warmth and communality?).

Jane Goodall – What separates us from chimpanzees?

Jane Goodall demonstrates excellent communication skills in this video, displaying verbal and nonverbal competence, as well as communality. Goodall’s main strengths in this video are: use of self-disclosure (watch at 1:25 – 2:06), effective use of pauses (see 23:24 – 23:48), and use of props / material (cute monkey, and no reliance on distracting powerpoint!).

Janine Benyus – 12 sustainable design ideas from nature
 

Janine Benyus demonstrates excellent communication skills in this video, displaying verbal and nonverbal competence, and tempering it with gestures of communality. Her main strengths include: effective use of gestures (see this at: 3:53 – 4:33, 6:33 – 6:36), building others up (between 7:27 and 7:51, she notes that the IT audience to whom she is speaking has a history of advances in biomimicry), and an unrehearsed feel (watch how Benyus adapts to a change in circumstances between 19:16 and 19:38).

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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