Communications Plenary
Tuesday 24 July 2012, 9:00am - 12:00pm


How can we communicate more effectively about our biopolitical concerns with key constituencies, opinion leaders, public officials and others? Many Tarrytown Meeting participants write articles and op-eds articles in wide-circulation publications and for social media, and are called by editors and reporters for comments. Many others would like to become more engaged with popular and social media in order to disseminate the perspectives about human biotechnologies that we broadly share.

This plenary session began with a presentation by strategic communications expert Jane Elder about the power of frames, values, and themes in communicating about complex issues like those we confront. This presentation was followed by brief floor discussion.

At 10:00am, we began table-based sessions in which pre-designated facilitators led us through an exercise that used values-based communications techniques to address specific real-world concerns. Working first in pairs and then in table-based groups of 10, we identified and wrote on flip charts selected "problem statements" and "solution statements" to share with the larger meeting.

At 11:00am, we toured the flip-charts in a “table-top gallery walk,” and put comments on language that catches our attention. We then reconvened as a large group for floor discussion. The plenary concluded with responses and reflections by a panel of Tarrytown Meeting participants who have extensive media and communications experience.



At Tarrytown 2011, several activities addressed communicating our shared concerns to a wider public:

  • A plenary session led by communications consultant John Bianchi of Goodman Media, with “messaging” exercises conducted in table-based groups. The exercise responses are compiled here.
  • Two working sessions, Crafting and Framing our Messages and Biopolitics in the Media
  • A survey of Tarrytown Meetings participants’ communications experiences and needs.
Mary Duke Ballroom

Documents Related to This Session