Another Time-saving Tip: Sharing Useful “Frames”

framesIf you haven’t read Andy Revkin’s recent Dot Earth blog post about a new study from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, not to worry. Just start using “global warming” rather than “climate change” when you’re talking to anyone other than scientists. We know from the science communication experts that using frames widens the audience. By frames, I’m referring to “interpretative story lines that communicate what is at stake in a societal debate and why the issue matters” (Gamson and Modigliani, 1989).

I’m curious how we might make framing easier, given its importance. For example, during our Advanced Training in January, Hitting Your Policy Mark, Liz Hadly and Tony Barnosky advised us that the CNA Military Advisory Board, a panel of the highest-ranking retired military leaders, identified climate change as a threat multiplier. This month the same group updated their description of climate change as “Catalyst for Conflict.”

Might we use the blog to start sharing frames that work? When you come across one, share it! Like this post, the write-up doesn’t need to be long.

Margaret Krebs designs trainings, workshops, and other educational content for the Leopold Leadership Program.

The Gift of Time: the 10+2 Strategy



Last week while watching Peter Redstone facilitate a webinar on time management, I was reminded of the concept of “thinking time” introduced by Mary Budd Rowe, a visiting professor at Stanford in the 90’s.  She would give a 10-minute presentation and then give students 2 minutes to think—either on their own or in small groups.  She found that it increased the length and appropriateness of students’ responses and it changed the quality of questions asked by the instructor!

Peter stopped in the middle of the webinar and gave everyone 3-4 minutes to think about several questions regarding the challenges we face with time management.  Rather than asking us to think later—or more likely never!—we had time to reflect and write out our priorities.  It struck me as another tip worth sharing besides the ones shown above that Peter shared during the webinar.  Thank you, Peter!

Why are sticky notes & hula hoops essential tools for a Leopold Leadership event?

2013 cohort solving a complex problem!

2013 cohort solving a complex problem!

I just read a reflection on the question, How do you design a training so people learn something and are inspired to use it?  posted by a leading social media trainer Beth Kanter.  In a nutshell that’s my job and why I think interactive design is critical if you want people to integrate what they’ve learned into their repertoire.  Here in the Leopold Leadership office we’ve been following Beth’s blog and Pam Sturner’s been participating in a peer-learning group that Beth organized as a Visiting Scholar at Packard Foundation. Read Beth’s tips for interactivity.  It’s a long post so you may want to begin reading from “Design for Participants to Apply”!  

Let’s try an interactive brainstorm!   Can we get 20 tips?  Add your tip by replying to this post.  Here’s one to start us off:

Stand Up/Sit Down: (I opened the June training in 2013 with this one.) You get to know who’s in the room quickly and gets people moving as well!

Directions:  Stand up if you:

  • were born outside of the US (born in south, northeast, west, etc.)
  • traveled more than 2 hours to get here (keep increasing until you found out who traveled the longest)
  • took a gap year sometime in your educational journey
  • etc…(you’ll want to customize for your group!)





5 tips for preparing to “interview for information”

Note from Margaret:   Thank you, Kathleen, for sharing your insights on interviewing.  I’d like to be a fly on the wall some day watching you interview.  I’m sure you had more fun than your colleague collecting camel bite data!

 This fall both the 2013 cohort and fellows attending the “Hitting the Policy Mark” advanced training are preparing informational interviews.  Leopold Fellows, don’t be surprised if you get an email from one of them.  The purpose of these interviews is to avoid reinventing the wheel by discovering what others are doing and to find bright spots or success stories. 


  1. Susi Moser (2005) recommended an incredibly valuable and comprehensive resource to use when preparing questions. Katharine Jacobs, who is currently the Director of the National Climate Assessment, wrote a handbook several years ago for NOAA,  Connecting Science, Policy, and Decision-makingA Handbook for Researchers and Science Agencies. You’ll find detailed suggestions on each of the areas outlined in the photo above.
  2. Imagine you’re an alien! In the late 60’s I remember getting this advice as part of change agent training.  It’s a mind-set that I still find helpful as a way to suspend judgments and assumptions.  It also provides a way to draw someone out, expressing your ignorance on a particular subject.  Tell me more about …
  3. Appreciate your advice on…: Use this as your email subject line. I’ve found I get immediate replies.  All of us like to be acknowledged as a person with expertise!  You can also use the phrase during the interview as an opener — a “grand tour” or overview—question such as:  What’s a day in the life of a [insert role]?  Can you draw me a map of . . .? How did you get started working in this area?
  4. Rod Fujita, Director of Research and Development, Oceans Program, EDF advised me to avoid asking:  What do you need from scientists?  Instead try a hypothetical:  What question, if answered, could make the most difference?  What are the dilemmas or opportunities?  What assumptions do you need to test?
  5. Who else should I be talking with?  Don’t forget to wind up your interview by asking this important last question.  This is your opportunity to ask for help expanding your network, to open doors and make connections to people you don’t know but want to know!

What question(s) work for you?  Please add your ideas and tips by commenting.

Developing a framework for using social media

As a program we’re pursuing opportunities to further fellows’ exploration of how to use social media professionally.  This June at the All-Cohort Reunion, Liz Neeley facilitated a one-day workshop:  Message Box and Beyond:  Finding your voice in social media.  You can explore the resources she recommended and hear from Chris Field, Tom Sisk, Josh Schimel, and Luis Zambrano as they discussed their thoughts with other fellows at the reunion.

In 2011 we assisted Google with their Science Communication Fellows initiative (12 were Leopold Leadership Fellows!):  “In an effort to foster a more open, transparent and accessible scientific dialogue, we’ve started a new effort aimed at inspiring pioneering use of technology, new media and computational thinking in the communication of science to diverse audiences.”  We took advantage of their proximity to record the participating Leopold Leadership Fellows’ perspectives.  Watch these 5 short video clips!

  • Potential opportunity for the Leopold Leadership network to work together towards change. (Simon Donner, Alan Townsend, Frank Davis, and Julia Cole)
  • “The world is a lot different than 2004!”  Changing media landscape (Jon Koomey, Andy Dessler, and Brian Helmuth)
  • Audience: I’ve become more and more interested in connecting with young people who are using social media”  (Whendee Silver, Jon Koomey, and Simon Donner)
  • Implementation: You’re never too old to learn Twitter!   (Brendan Bohannon, Alan Townsend, and Simon Donner)
  • Concerns: What is the right way to communicate what to whom?  (Frank Davis and Susi Moser)

Resources you may find useful are these guides contributed by Shannon Crownover from Ocean Conservancy, a presenter at 2011 cohort training:

How are you engaging with the next generation vis a vis social media?