In May and June 2022, we hosted a series of writing workshops open to everyone. The workshops focused on writing and communicating behavioral science. But as the saying goes, “writing is thinking,” so many of the lessons generalized to any form of communication that you hope to make stronger, clearer, and more incisive.
Sessions were led by members of the Behavioral Scientist’s editorial team, with special guest behavioral scientists and science writers sharing their expertise and wisdom. There were three sessions in the workshop and each session was 60 minutes long. Over 1350 people from 72 countries registered for the workshop.
Below, you’ll find session descriptions, recordings, and slides.
The workshop series was supported by a teaching grant from the Association for Psychological Science and reader/participant donations. If you learned something from the session and would like to make a donation to support Behavioral Scientist, please head here.
Clarity and Cohesion with Cameron French, Plus a Q&A with Leidy Klotz, author of Subtract
We want our writing to be clear and cohesive. But advice to “make your writing clearer” doesn’t help much. What does clearer mean? What makes a piece of writing feel cohesive? In the first half of the session, Behavioral Scientist Editor Cameron French demystifies these concepts and provides practical ways to identify and improve clarity and cohesion in your writing.
In the second half of the session, editor-in-chief Evan Nesterak speaks with behavioral scientist and author Leidy Klotz (Subtract, 2021). They cover Leidy’s writing process, insights on book publishing, and how “subtraction” factors into his writing.
Aligning Ideas with Outlets led by Evan Nesterak, Plus the Art of Pitching with Dave Nussbaum
You’ve got an idea for an article, now what? This session is geared toward helping you identify and align what you hope to write with where you might publish it. In the first half, Behavioral Scientist Editor-in-Chief Evan Nesterak shares a set of questions you can ask yourself before you pitch or draft the piece. You’ll learn how getting specific about your idea and who you’re trying to reach can take a lot of the guesswork out of the pitching and writing process.
In the second portion, Dave Nussbaum, founder of Psychgeist Media, and pitch crafter extraordinaire, shares his experience helping authors pitch to different outlets, from science-specific publications like Behavioral Scientist to general-audience publications like The New York Times and The Atlantic.
Session 3: Memorable Hooks & Meaningful Intros with Cameron French, Plus a Q&A with Elizabeth Weingarten, Journalist and Behavioral Scientist
You’ve got an idea that you really care about. How can you make a reader care too? How can you convey the interest or urgency that you feel about your idea early on, before a reader decides to stop? Editor Cameron French shares practical tips on how to begin a piece of writing. You’ll learn ways that you can improve your introductions, so readers don’t feel like you’re making them “take their medicine” but do think to themselves “tell me more.”
In the second half, Elizabeth Weingarten, in a Q&A with Evan Nesterak, shares lessons from her experience communicating science in an organizational setting. What do you need to keep in mind as your organization writes for a popular audience? For clients? For funders and other stakeholders? Elizabeth, the head of behavioral insights at Torch, has held roles at ideas42, New America, and The Atlantic. She was managing editor at Behavioral Scientist for four years, before transitioning to a senior advisor position. In these diverse roles, Elizabeth has honed her capacity to understand different audiences and craft writing that reaches them effectively.