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Little Shop of Academic Horrors

Instructor: Silvia Löhken
Date: Friday, July 7, 9am-5pm
Recommended for: Doctoral candidates in any stage
Language: English
Participation fee: 20 Euro
Registration until: Thursday, June 8


Communication in academic life contains some tricky situations. Some of those press our personal red buttons: We may freeze among chatty strangers at conferences, stay quiet in meetings when important decisions are at stake, or crumble under the pressure of decision-makers. Some of us may be afraid of leaving "unacademic" impressions. We may dread coming across as too assertive, arrogant or preposterous – or being insulting without knowing.


This workshop addresses these issues and is unique in its design. It helps young scientists identify their personal challenges in academic communication – and develop strategies to cope with unexpected, dreaded and difficult situations. Participants will deal with some typical case studies before recollecting their own examples of academic horrors. These are the focus of this training concept. Possible contents:

Topic category 1: @home – difficult situations in home institutions (meetings, negotiations, team tensions, conflicts, how to say "no")
1. Warming up to the chilly side: case studies from the darker zones of academia
2. Let's get real: examples from inside the room

Topic category 2: On the road (conferences, invited talks, pitches: contact management, academic dicussion, addressing decision-makers, creating collaboration settings, grant acquisition, job interview)
3. Warming up to the chilly side: creating contact with decision makers
4. Let's get real: examples from inside the room

Theoretical and methodical tools will be delivered depending on the needs of participants and cases.
Should the time frame not be sufficient to deal with all cases, participants will make their own choice of priorities. In the rare case of lacking cases from the participants, the trainer has enough challenging horror scenarios to keep the audience frightfully entertained.

After this workshop, participants know about their individual challenges and are able to deal with them in professional situations. They have developed a sense of self-confidence and efficiency in awkward situations. They have also experienced two very relieving facts: They are not alone in this – and they are able to cope!

Sylvia Löhken

Sylvia Löhken holds a PhD in linguistics. She is an expert on introvert and extrovert communication and published several bestselling books on related topics. She has experience as scientist and "knowledge" manager in Germany and Japan and was head of public relations and strategy development for a large international organization. She is a certified coach, trainer and moderator at textATRIUM.