It can be challenging to communicate OEHS topics. This PDC will help learners become more effective communicators, both in general and specifically of scientific and technical topics with others who do not have the same background, knowledge, or expertise, whether that is other industrial hygienists, occupational environmental health and safety professionals, or those in the sci-tech or STEM fields. The science and practice of effective communication is a significant topic and part of the workshop (if we can’t communicate effectively, we certainly can’t expect to be able to communicate on sci-tech topics). Much of the morning is effective communication in general, while the afternoon we focus more on sci-tech concepts. Many of the cases, examples, stories, and exercises use IH, OEHS, sci-tech, and STEM themes and contexts. We'll explore a dozen major areas, including over 150 subtopics.

The PDC includes a learner workbook with extras, including research and real-world examples that cover the need, how to apply each, key points, dos/don'ts, examples, cases, stories, learner activities/exercises, a don't forget list, an I can or I will action plan, and references and sources. You can expect to be engaged, actively participate, practice, discuss, role play, laugh, and learn. You will leave energized with a workbook of ways to continue your path to more effective communication.


Attendees should come prepared to engage and actively participate in hands-on skill-building exercises designed to help improve communications skills (e.g., role playing, discussions, practicing, storytelling, games, etc.). Learners should be prepared that the concepts may be new and present different ways of communicating with and relating to others.

Value Added

The Learner Workbook provides materials and exercises than can be covered or performed in the course. Learners will be able to continue the learning and various activities later on their own or with others.


  • Interpersonal Communications (IPC) – Skills Building
  • Communication
  • Relationship Building
  • Empathy
  • Narratives + Storytelling
  • Risk, Risk Perceptions + Decision-Making
  • Cognitive Biases (Just a Few Salient Ones)
  • Know Your Audience and/or Readers
  • The Curse of Knowledge – Parts 1 + 2
  • Conflict Management, Resolution, Mediation
  • Persuasion
  • Conspiracy Theories (or Similar Off-The-Wall Ideas)
  • Wrap-Up + Action Planning

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion, the participant will be able to:

  • Detail several of the salient aspects of communication and why it's so problematic.
  • Recognize the benefits of relationships to effective communications.
  • Differentiate the three types of empathy and provide an example of each.
  • Describe elements and factors in effectively told stories and their advantages over data and information.
  • List examples of each of the cognitive biases.
  • Write a case debrief that uses common language without jargon.
  • Determine how to separate people from the problem and be easy on people while being hard on the problem.
  • Demonstrate a few of the better approaches to persuasion.

Transfer of Knowledge

Instructor(s) will evaluate participants’ understanding of the materials presented based on:

  • Group activities
  • Hands-on demonstrations and practicum
  • Interactive games
  • Practice exercises
  • Workshops

Business Case/IH Value Statement

If we can’t effectively communicate our knowledge, we can’t make a business case (or likely accomplish much). The skills acquired in this hands-on workshop allow the engaged learner to build their skills and communicate effectively.


Jonathan Klane, M.S.Ed., CIH, CSP, Lab Manager Magazine, Midland, ON, Canada.

Brief story arc of my career: (or how did I go from studying geology to risk + stories in 1 minute) I started in geological engineering (in CO) and finished in geology (in MA) after wanting a more rounded education. I worked in industry doing marketing support before finding my first career job as an industrial hygienist with a small New England environmental engineering firm and was also a field geologist. Everything was technical and numbers (and fun!). I started teaching environmental health and safety (EHS) at a technical college and management in an MBA program back in Maine. I got my Masters in Adult Education while teaching and then I got my Certified Industrial Hygienist (and others) when I was working for a global engineering firm. It was a nice combo of both technical and soft skills (and fun!). I eventually went out on my own for 13 years doing more training than consulting and it was lots of fun, but the great recession caught up to us. So, I moved to AZ to take the position at Arizona State University (ASU) as Safety Director for the Fulton Schools of Engineering. I decided to get my PhD in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology (HSD) where I study risk perceptions, cognitive biases, decision-making, persuasion, and stories (and do fun research!). After 7 years of having performed many successful work mediations, I moved to UC Davis, CA to be Director of Strategic Change in Safety Culture for their College of Engineering. And it was fun (at times). I left to return to AZ and work for a small EHS-related software firm based in Boston, BioRAFT, where I'm their new Director of Risk Management and Safety Education. My current work focuses on creating engaging content and using stories to affect risk perceptions. And I am having tons of fun working on the human side of risk!


Thanks to (soon to be) Dr. Klane and AIHA for bringing this course forward. If we do great IH/OH work and can't communicate to save people, our work is of no value. How we communicate matters!


Incredible class! Content is great and the delivery of the content keeps you engaged at all times.


One of the best PDC's I've ever attended. Interesting, insightful, and full of information I will actively be going out and trying to use.