Improv skills

Giving tools and a mindset to young scientists to approach public speaking


Most people are afraid of speaking in public. The approach of this workshop is to use improvised comedy (improv) to get participants to be comfortable in front of an audience, even in challenging situations. After creating a safe space for every participant to contribute, participants will be able to practice their public speaking skills with playful exercises. This workshop will be fun and experiential, providing a great context to learn new skills.
The morning will be dedicated to getting participants to be comfortable with each other through an introduction to improv. With increasingly challenging exercises, participants will learn to face an audience while having a pleasant moment. Improv requires attention, concentration and being present in the moment. Bringing those elements into public speaking make presentations alive and engaging.
The afternoon will be focussed on more practical elements of public speaking such as managing stress, mastering voice and body, and illustrating a speech with appropriate gestures.
At the end of the workshop, participants will have learned and practiced giving engaging talks. Their fear of facing an audience will be drastically reduced. The principles of improv illustrated throughout the day will be beneficial to the participants for many aspects of the scientific work.


Dr Samuel Lagier is a multi-talented scientist, with experience as a curator, coach and host of the TEDxLausanne conference since 2012. He teaches presentation skills to experts ( as well as improvisation and applied improvisation to individuals and corporate clients, and appears on stage with the improvised comedy group, The Renegade Saints ( He is also part of the Catalyst theatre company which creates new media to communicate science (
In his scientific career, Dr Lagier studied sensory perception in the normal and in the schizophrenic brain, in France, the United States and in Switzerland. He combined microscopy, behavior and electrophysiology to characterize a genetic model of schizophrenia developed in mice.