Friday, October 28, 2016

soft skills, hard facts

Within the ECRYPT-NET program we have the chance to learn effective communication of scientific results. Although often regarded as "soft skills", thus indicating their lesser value compared to the classical "hard skills", these methods are versatile. Obtaining them means being able to apply the techniques to either written or oral presentations.

In particular at the School on Design for a secure Internet of Things our oral presentation training started with practical sessions. Classical topics like how to deal with stage fright and non-verbal communication such as body language were demonstrated and different ways to know and connect to the audience were addressed.
Among others, we spoke detailed about posture, use of voice, articulation on the one hand and style, amount of information per presentation slide as well as how to present in a lively way yet giving a memorable take-home message on the other hand.

Later this year, during the Cloud Summer School recently in Leuven we had the chance to actively participate the practical training session on academic writing to concisely yet accurately convey future research findings. Our trainer taught us how to chop-up long, unwieldy sentences into more easly digestible ones by reorganizing competing foci and effectively conveying the essence. Showing worked examples from our area and even some excerpts of our own texts definitely helped in understanding the concepts.
There, all of us ECRYPT-NET early stage researchers gave their (possibly first, big) presentation and we received feedback from the board and our individual supervisors. The combined, but especially the individual, feedback of good choices and less fortunate formulations were brought up.

As we'll have more and more tasks to work on as a group coming up in our career, developing an efficient work-flow for joint-documents is not to be considered wasted effort and time. Thus, soon we'll have the chance to obtain more soft-skills that can turn out to be useful in a dynamic setting.
I want to take the opportunity to organize a workshop as a follow-up event of the upcoming Passwords2016-conference for us ESRs. The plan is to have a day of sessions and meetings in Bochum on Thursday, 8.12.:

It'll be co-located with the 11th International Conference on Passwords, where you can listen to the Long Story of Password (Re-)use, learn Password Hardening techniques, debate whether new Password Management strategies based on Episodic Memories or Through Use of Mnemonics is revolutionary and find out about the Hopes and Fears of Mobile Device Security.
About 100 international participants from academia, companies, ... will come and follow the conference program, which is a mix
of classical talks and more practical "hackers sessions", showing attacks in the real-world setting.

Unfortunately there is no detailed program available yet, but soon for sure.
However, the registration is open now until 2016-11-30.
For those interested to join this event, try to save some € by obtaining the early bird offer (only until 2016-10-31).

Ruhr-University seen from Beckmanns Hof
All other fellows are warmly invited to come on Wednesday, 7.12 after the Passwords2016-talks for a first ECRYPT-NET get-together in Bochum and our program tailored to the upcoming writing project.
Thursday, 8.12 is the main day which we will start off by a workshop followed by project-oriented brainstorming and group discussions.
We'll have an expert training on collaborative creative writing and group
communication (in English), working in nice atmosphere close to Bochum's botanical gardens.

In short, in this workshop the focus lies on how to get things done, collaboratively. The technical aspect will be covered by a git repository with the projects' skeleton, that I set up here on a RUB-Server, where one can get a git account even as a RUB-external.
If you need a refresher, reread Ralph's blog post about git basics.

I am looking forward welcoming all of you here.

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