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Each time I attend or give a workshop on communication skills, I always leave with a nagging feeling.  Communication skills are not something that you learn in one day.  In fact, no matter how good we are at making presentations, we can always get better.  To improve, we must practice these skills over and over again.

Practicing communications skills is easy…just do it!  Give your elevator pitch or story to anyone who’ll listen to you.  Write articles and essays about what you do and who you are.  My favorite though is practicing with others to help both you and them become better communicators.  At your university or company, get together with maybe 5-6 friends at lunch or whenever you have an hour to spend.   As a group, practice learning and improving science communication skills such as improvisation acting, condensing complex data, drawing pictures of your findings, developing a better elevator pitch, and telling stories about you and your projects.  And…this is important …do this repeatedly!  At least once and preferable twice per month, get together and do these exercises.  Regular practice helps keep your skills sharp.  Practicing with others makes it fun!

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