Soft Skills Workshops

All workshops are designed for 1-2 days and can be held online as well as on-site.

Project and Time Management for Scientists
In the Project and Time Management for Scientists workshop the participants train fundamental skills to be efficient and effective as a young researcher.
In the first part of this workshop, we focus on self- and time-management techniques to be effective and work efficiently as a young scientist. The methods learned and practiced include the Eisenhower matrix, the Pareto principle, S.M.A.R.T. goal setting, and performance curves with the goal to learn effective prioritization and improve the decision-making skills of the participants. 
The second part is about the project management of a PhD thesis and/or another scientific project, e.g., leading to a manuscript. The participants discuss the complexity of a PhD project with the numerous stakeholders involved. Further, they will learn how to apply traditional project management techniques, such as Gantt charts, to their PhD, and we elaborate on where to use agile techniques in a PhD. The workshop closes with a discussion of risk management.

Leadership Skills for Scientists
Advancing as a scientist, both out- as well as inside academia, comes with increased leadership responsibilities. In this interactive workshop “Leadership Skills for Scientists” the participants learn the essential leadership skills which are necessary to be successful as a PhD student or Postdoc and to later facilitate a successful transition to a senior position at a research institution or the dream job outside academia.
Effective leadership requires authenticity and starts with the leader itself. Therefore, we initiate the workshop with a series of self-management and self-leadership activities. In team scenarios, emotional intelligence is a key leadership capability. By bringing awareness to this, and through breakout sessions in which we practice changing the perspective, we increase our level of empathy. The participants further learn about the distinct leadership styles with their advantages and drawbacks, and we discuss how situational leadership can be applied. Clear and precise communication is another vital leadership skill, which we train in supervisor-supervisee role plays. Next to practicing “traditional” top-down leadership, the participants get acquainted with bottom-up leadership through these activities. Finally, we practice additional leadership and communication skills such as self-presentation, networking, pitching and storytelling techniques. To conclude the workshop, the group reflects on the essential traits of “a good leader”.

Leadership and Career Development
The Leadership and Career Development workshop aims at PhD students in the last phase of their PhD as well as at postdocs. The goal is to facilitate a successful transition from PhD or postdoc to senior scientist or the dream job outside academia. 
Advancing as a scientist, both out- as well as inside academia, comes with increased leadership responsibilities. In the first half of the workshop, we determine as a group the traits of “a good leader” and further practice these traits interactively.
As a first step in developing a career strategy the participants determine their personal set of values as well as their short- and long-term career goals. These are then implemented in a career development plan. We further practice self-presentation, networking skills, pitching and storytelling techniques specific for career advancement.

Career Development Strategies: Mastering my Job Interview
Are you currently working as Postdoc or finalizing your PhD? Do you plan to transition to a position outside of academia, potentially in industry, but you feel unprepared for searching and finding a new position?  In this highly interactive workshop, you will learn and practice career development strategies with a focus on leaving a great impression in your job interview.
We will start with a brief introduction to efficient job searching strategies to get to the interview for the job of your dreams. Then we will train general presentation skills to sell yourself in a job interview. Knowing your strengths, but also your weaknesses, will allow you to express yourself authentically. We will further discuss what to expect from job interviews in general and gather a check list of what to do and what not. You will learn how to prepare to answer standard and non-standard questions and we will practice easy-to-use storytelling techniques for these situations. Furthermore, we will discuss how you can ask adequate questions yourself. We will practice all these newly acquired skills in breakout sessions and role plays. Finally, we will discuss methods to cope with anxiety but also possible failures.

Advancing my Scientific Career and Selling my Scientific Output
In this interactive workshop you will acquire powerful skills to effectively sell your scientific results and advance your scientific career as an early-stage researcher.
You will learn and practice simple storytelling and pitching techniques, which can be used to write abstracts for peer-reviewed publications, grant and research project applications as well as for job interviews. We will discuss general rules for effective scientific communication, and you will train applying these to the visual presentation of research results. This can be used in seminar and conference presentations, but also to market your research on social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. We will further discuss how to strategically plan your scientific career, which includes setting SMART career goals and efficient networking skills.

Creativity in Science and Academia
Creativity is crucial in academic work in natural sciences, and creativity can be learned and trained systematically. We use techniques from design thinking and agile methods to increase our creativity and create a “Yes, and…” mindset. We further discuss and train, in group work and breakout sessions using multiple digital tools, how we can develop for example novel scientific projects using these newly acquired skills. The specific activities of the workshop consist of: 

  • Breakout sessions to train generating ideas/new projects with structured brainstorming or mind mapping
  • Group discussion about creativity and positive psychology
  • Partner activity to practice “Yes, and mindset”
  • Input on “Pitching and Storytelling”
  • Breakout session on using agile and creative techniques to produce scientific stories, e.g., for proposal or abstract writing

Scientific Presentations
In the Scientific Presentations Workshop, you will learn all the skills needed to give excellent scientific presentations, for seminars, conferences, or a thesis defense.
We will discuss general rules for effective scientific communication with a special focus on oral presentation skills. You will learn how to build appealing stories from your scientific results using structured storytelling and pitching techniques. In partner activities you will train talking freely and without technical help such as figures and slides about arbitrary scientific topics. In breakout sessions you will further practice presenting your results in short presentations in which you are allowed to use the technical help of your choice and your peers will help you to optimize your presentation.

Communication Skills for Scientists
In the Communication Skills for Scientists workshop, the participants learn to use effective communication to improve and present scientific results.
The first half of this workshops aims at learning general rules for effective scientific communication, including storytelling and scientific writing techniques. Next to this, we practice brainstorming and idea-structuring methods to increase creativity, which helps drafting scientific manuscripts as well as making presentations.
In the second part we continue training to apply the general rules of scientific communication to the visual and verbal context, e.g., using the example of a graphical abstract. The participants further learn how to exploit effective communication to directly improve their scientific results via giving and receiving feedback as well as through clear communication with peers and supervisors.

Communication and Conflict Management
Do you work in collaborations with other PhD students and further scientists? Are you looking to get valuable feedback from your supervisor or peer? Or do you just need to work out with your colleague how to share equipment and resources? Communication is vital – especially for young scientists – and conflicts cannot always be prevented.
In this course you will learn skills which help you to efficiently communicate with colleagues and supervisors, e.g., to define common levels of expectation and to prevent conflicts. Special emphasis is put on giving and receiving feedback effectively. We further train how to resolve conflicts if they occur, and how to minimize their negative outcome.

Good Scientific Practice
Following rules of good scientific practice, for example the Guidelines for Safeguarding Good Research Practice by the German Research Foundation (DFG), helps preventing scientific misconduct and gives strategies how to deal with a possible misconduct, if it occurs.
During this Workshop you will learn about and discuss the following topics: Introduction to Good Scientific Practice, the seven sins of academic behavior, handling data, publication process and authorship, supervision, reproducibility, conflicts of interest, and the ombuds system.
The workshop is highly interactive and includes hands-on activities and discussion rounds. For example, in group discussions you will gain a deeper understanding of good scientific practice and why we need rules for it. Furthermore, you will learn applying the rules for good scientific practice through study cases. Finally, we will invite an Ombudsperson, your trusted contact in case of a suspected scientific misconduct, for a short introduction and Q&A session.

Next to my own workshops listed above, I cooperate with Dr. Juliane Handschuh giving the workshop “Equality and Diversity in Science” as part of her workshop series “Gender Equality and Diversity in Science”. Please find more information on Dr. Juliane Handschuh’s website.