COMPASS Course Catalog

Looking for a customized learning track for your group? You can opt to offer a series of workshops from the list below that starts with Introduction to Strategic Science Communication and then advances through the learning path of your choosing. All of our workshops are interactive, inclusive spaces with plenty of group discussions, activities, and built-in breaks to keep everyone engaged and invested.

We’re constantly innovating to better meet the needs of the scientists we work with. Wondering whether we can create something that’s just right for your group? Please contact us at

Introduction to Strategic Communication

3-5 hours; Required

In this workshop, COMPASS will introduce tools and strategies to help participants understand and communicate with diverse audiences. They will learn to use the Message Box, COMPASS’s fundamental tool for breaking down complex topics into digestible messages. ...Read More

This training serves as the foundation of all following content and must be taken by all participants before they can register for additional workshops.  We recommend this workshop be a total of 5 hours (2.5 hours over two days), however a condensed version can be offered for 3 hours on one day. You may choose to offer both a 3-hour and a 5-hour version of the workshop to meet various needs of participants.

Introduction to Risk Communication

3 hours

In this workshop, participants will gain a deeper understanding of the science behind risk communication; draft a plan for communicating risk; practice revising a key message to be more meaningful, compassionate, and actionable for their particular audience; and receive feedback on their message from peers and trainers.

Finding the Story Workshop

3 hours

This workshop focuses on improving participants’ skills in identifying, developing and sharing stories to illustrate their work. In this workshop, we introduce participants to the science of stories, then give them guidance and hands-on practice with crafting short stories and sticky snippets for key messages from their Message Boxes.

Writing with the Message Box Workshop

3 hours + Optional Extension

This training walks through key elements of the writing process— from first draft to final copy edit—and supports participants as they plan how to strategically share key messages to achieve their communication goals. ...Read More

Optional Extension- Feedback Version: this workshop can optionally include a second session. The first session is focused on the content, whereas the second session is an editing check-in with peers and trainers. Between sessions, participants submit 400-600 words of something they’re working on for review and feedback from peers and COMPASS trainers. We suggest 1-3 weeks between sessions.

Strategic Presentations

3 hours

This workshop explores how participants can use what they’ve learned from the Message Box to create more engaging, meaningful presentation materials. COMPASS trainers go beyond messaging to cover design best practices, verbal communication tips, and basic facilitation skills.

Navigating Difficult Conversations

3 hours

During this workshop, participants will learn about the connection between partisanship and views on science, the types of audiences to focus their efforts on, and steps to making progress in a difficult conversation. They’ll have the opportunity to practice listening to their audience to identify values and develop messages with those values in mind.

Intentional Conversations Workshop

3 hours

In this workshop, participants prepare to have more intentional conversations around potentially challenging topics. We cover personal preparation, listening to understand, navigating conflict, and positive influence. Participants practice having intentional conversations with trainers and each other and use reflections and feedback to build their awareness and skills together.

“Elevator” Introductions

1.5 hours

This short (90-minute) workshop supports participants as they develop and practice succinct and engaging self-introductions (a 10-second version and a 1-minute version). Participants will learn how self-introductions can foster trust and connection, and spend time workshopping and getting feedback on their own sincere and informative self-introductions that they can use anytime, anywhere.

Policy 101

3 hours

This workshop walks through navigating the policy world, and how to identify and work with different windows of opportunity for engagement, as well as understanding how to inform policy without advocating. Participants will work on identifying opportunities for their work to be relevant to policymakers, and avenues for making those connections.

Prepping for the Unknown

3 hours

How do you draft a Message Box when you don’t know who’s going to show up to your public meeting or town hall event? What can you do to prepare to communicate effectively? Participants will make a pre-meeting prep plan to reduce conflict, as well as a plan for what to do when conflict arises.

Building Bridges

4 hours; External Experts

This workshop focuses on communicating with a specific group in mind, such as communities, policymakers, or media. We invite a panel of 3–4 top-notch experts who provide context via a panel and feedback through activities with participants.

Strategic Change Workshop

5 hours

In this workshop, participants explore purpose and planning for strategic communication and effective engagement. We introduce the COMPASS Change Chart, a tool for thinking through key components of working towards a specific change: understanding the context, clarifying your purpose, and identifying your roles, partners, next steps and upcoming opportunities. ...Read More

Participants leave the workshop with greater clarity on the necessary components of change and the beginnings of a plan for working toward a specific change.

Compassionate Teams Workshop

6 hours 

In this workshop participants are introduced to the core design principles necessary for effective, compassionate teams, based on the Nobel-Prize-winning work of Dr. Elinor Ostrom and expanded on by the work of the ProSocial World organization. We review the eight core design principles and options for their application, and support the participants to identify a core design principle to focus on for implementing change within their teams and organizations.  ...Read More

Note: this workshop is best suited either for teams who attend together and wish to improve their working relationships and efficacy as a team, or for individual participants who are interested in changing their existing team dynamics or forming more effective, compassionate teams. 

Group Class Pass Option

COMPASS holds monthly public virtual workshops on a variety of communication topics and skill sets. If you’re looking to offer flexible learning opportunities for your team throughout the year, you can reserve a block of seats for your team at a reduced price. Contact us at for more information.