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Presence: Crafting Persona through Storytelling, Gravitas and Media Engagement

The Presence series is a new faculty program that covers elements of crafting an academic and public persona that is inspiring, influential, and memorable.

Over 5 Fridays in February and March 2018, faculty participants will be engaged in 90-minute workshops over lunch, led by experts who will show participants ways to inspire through storytelling, influence through gravitas, and engage the media. 

Participation is not required in all 5 sessions but is highly recommended.  However, sign-up is required due to space limitations.

All sessions held 11:45 to 1:30 pm at Kingscote Gardens Conference Room #140. (Kingscote is at 419 Lagunita Dr, Stanford, CA 94305. It is the newly-renovated building next to the Faculty Club).


February 9: The Power of Storytelling, with Thomas Freeland

Do you want your students, colleagues and other audiences to remember what you tell them? Give it to them as a story. Stories inspire, motivate, and stick.  Your stories become part of your legacy.  In this workshop we will explore the structure and the craft of storytelling, with examples drawn from various oral and performance traditions. Participants will work on techniques for sharing their stories compellingly and memorably in a variety of contexts.

February 23:  Gravitas: The Commanding Presence, with Thomas Freeland

We know it when we encounter someone who has presence.  But do we know how they do it? In this workshop we will work on specific vocal and physical techniques of being able to relay presence, whether in the service of commanding a research group meeting, articulating a point of view with colleagues, or making an argument in a public forum.  Participants will develop their ability to exercise, mentally and physically, the quiet authority of being frank and open. "Taking the stage" is a learnable skill; participants will be guided in the basic steps of establishing one's presence in a space.

March 2: Social Media Presence for Faculty, with John Stafford

Do you "friend" your students on Facebook?  Should you tweet? How often?  What about Instagram, Snapchat?  Social media have become vehicles for connections, advocacy and building a public persona. But the lines separating the personal from the professional can easily blur.  In this session, you will learn approaches to managing your social media presence, from deciding on the extent of your engagement to ways social media could be useful for advancing your research, advocacy or other important professional work.  Learn about Stanford’s social media channels and ways in which you could leverage Stanford’s social media presence.

March 9: Working with the Media, with Amy Adams and Brad Hayward

Learn and practice foundational skills in interacting with print and broadcast reporters.  In this workshop, you will learn how to engage a public audience in a way that creates value for yourself and your audience.  Learn the benefits and risks of working with the media, what to do when you get a call or email from a reporter, and how best to prepare for an interview.  The workshop will touch upon strategies for responding in difficult media situations, methods for conveying your messaging effectively, and your rights as a private citizen and resources you have as a Stanford faculty member.

March 16: How to craft a public voice through op-eds, with Zeba Khan

In this session, you will examine the anatomy of an opinion article/editorial (op-ed).  You will breakdown the elements of a powerful argument and learn ways to use those elements in order to construct effective op-eds. You will also learn techniques for pitching your op-ed that will increase the likelihood of publication.  The session will also introduce strategies for your public advocacy for the issues you care about through op-ed writing.

Program Instructors and Facilitators

Amy Adams is Director of Science Communication at the Office of University Communications, where she works with a team of writers to cover research news and scientific advances. She has worked as a freelance writer for magazines including Science, Natural History, New Scientist, The Scientist and Astronomy and has held a number of writing and communications roles at Stanford and at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. She has a B.A. in biology from Whitman College, an M.S. in genetics from Cornell University, and a certifcate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Thomas Freeland is an Advanced Lecturer in the Oral Communication Program. He earned his B.F.A. and M.A. in theatre at the University of Colorado and his Ph.D. in drama at Stanford. He has taught Voice, Acting, and Public Speaking at the University of Colorado, Oberlin College, American Conservatory Theatre and Stanford. He is also a published translator and frequently appears in local stage productions.

Brad Hayward is Associate Vice President for University Communications at Stanford, focusing on leadership communications and issues management for the university. He joined Stanford in 2012 after serving in a number of communications and media relations roles in the University of California system. He previously was a reporter in Sacramento covering state government and education. He holds an undergraduate degree in history from Stanford.

Zeba Khan is a writer and commentator focused on how Islam intersects with race, politics, and identity within the U.S. Her commentary has appeared in numerous outlets including The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, CNN, Al Jazeera America, The Root and The Los Angeles Review of Books.  She is a 2018 John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford and was recognized as a leading figure in the Muslim American diaspora by the Obama White House.  Prior to her time at Stanford, Zeba served as the Director of the Public Voices Fellowship program and as a Senior Facilitator at the Op-Ed Project, where she trained thousands of women and historically underrepresented voices on how to own their expertise and develop their public voice.

John Stafford is Assistant Vice President for Digital Media Strategy. John leads Stanford's central digital engagement initiatives, which encompasses multi-channel messaging, social media, communications insights and analytics, and internal consulting. John has lead digital strategy teams for over 15 years, spanning startups, biomedicine, and higher education. He is a founding advisor to the Stanford Medicine X Conference and is an alumnus of the Graduate Program of Journalism at Stanford. He also holds a B.A. in U.S. history from the University of San Francisco.

Past Events

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 - 08:30