When the Heat is On: Persuasive Speaking on Environmental Risk, Controversies, and High-Stakes Topics

More Information
Advanced communication skills for prepared and impromptu speaking and presentations
Course Title: When the Heat is On: Persuasive Speaking on Environmental Risk, Controversies, and High-Stakes Topics
Course ID: RCOM-452
Status: CLOSED
Date(s): May 8, 2019: 8:30am - 4:30pm
May 9, 2019: 8:30am - 4:30pm
Location: Fish Hatchery
125 W Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027
Issaquah, WA
Instructor: Michael Fraidenburg
Tuition: $645 / $595*
$595 / $545* (Before March 7, 2019)
Class is Closed
*Registered attendees will receive a PDF copy of course materials prior to the class. A physical book can be purchased for an additional $50 charge. To purchase, select "Physical Book" above.



**Note - This course is now offered exclusively using live stream remote attendance. You will need a computer and an internet connection. We will continue to monitor the situation surrounding COVID-19 closely.  When it is deemed safe to reconvene group gatherings, we will resume our in-person class offering as usual.  If you would like more information or have any questions, please contact us via email or phone 425 270 3274.

Every time you open your mouth, you are managing two reputations: your personal reputation and the reputation of your organization. Whether you are presenting to stakeholders, clients, elected officials, or the media, you need to speak convincingly, with confidence, and with credibility. This course will help you gain the edge in difficult speaking situations.

This two day class is designed to develop skills for making prepared and impromptu presentations, especially for situations that may be controversial or highly charged. This course will help you gain the edge in difficult speaking situations and provide you with tools to effectively communicate environmental risk-related and other controversial issues to a broad range of audiences. Even when there is mistrust and anger in the room, with these skills you can  build trust and credibility for you and your organization.

Through lecture, sharing, practice, exercises, role-plays, and demonstrations, you will learn communication techniques that excite, inspire and persuade. Position yourself and your organization as the thought leader on your topic by learning the techniques taught in this workshop.  Do not miss the chance to improve your communications by getting valuable, hands-on advice so that the next time you get up to speak, your audience will STOP, LOOK, and LISTEN.

The first day focuses on communication skills for occasions when there is time to prepare in advance of an event, such as a formal briefing or prepared speech.

The second day focuses on the advanced skills for making impromptu presentations. You will learn how to present yourself and your information in the best possible way with techniques used by professional speakers.

Over the course of the sessions, attendees will learn five impromptu speaking models and stagecraft techniques used by professional speakers.  These are designed to help you think on your feet and to quickly articulate your thoughts-vital skills, especially in communicating about environmental risk and other controversial, hot topic issues.

Environmental professionals have important information and an important message for stakeholders and decision makers. Make sure prepared statements are clear and confident, and ‘spur of the moment’ communications stick in the minds of your audience.  Come prepared to learn from the instructor and learn from one another in a highly interactive and fun workshop where you will get the chance to practice and receive helpful coaching to improve your personal skill set.    

"Instructor is clearly skilled in the field and adept at conveying the material." J. Corwin

"Michael was knowledgeable, entertaining, and struck a great balance between presenting to us and hands-on participation. I enjoyed this class!" Ian S.

"Good variety of topics & tools, so even if one tool doesn't seem applicable, others will be. Good participation methods for attendees." Anonymous

"Great instructor! Lots of great information delivered well!" C. Marchand


Intended Audience:

This course is suitable for a wide variety of professionals including environmental risk managers, EPA personnel, regulators and/or media stakeholders, pubic involvement agencies, remedial project managers, installation environmental program managers, technical experts, engineers, scientists, health and safety personnel, natural resource personnel, environmental planners, public affairs officers, attorneys, and others who are called upon to communicate in difficult environments and who need to persuade when doing so.

Continuing Education Units: 1.30 CEUs

More Information

Course Topics

The focus for Day 1 is communication skills for those occasions when there is time to prepare in advance of the event. Day 1 covers:

  • Having open discussions on controversial topics such as environmental risk management.
  • The reasons why environmental risk and other controversies present unique and difficult communication challenges. 
  • Audience analysis.
  • Developing effective formal briefings (using three different models).
  • Writing effective one-page briefing sheets.
  • Delivering a motivational speech when you need to inspire action.
  • Individual practice sessions reinforcing skills learned.

Day 2 focuses on skills for occasions when you have to speak 'in the moment'. 

  • Setting up presentations in a public meeting for success.
  • Five models for handling impromptu speaking, especially when yours is a ‘hot’ topic.
  • Handling the media interview.
  • PowerPoint® and other media skills that work. 
  • Stagecraft and non-verbals that professional speakers use.
  • Practice sessions reinforcing the skills learned.

About the Instructor

Michael Fraidenburg

Michael Fraidenburg

Mike Fraidenburg designs and delivers facilitation services ranging in format from small technical and task-oriented workgroups to large-audience conferences.  He has extensive experience facilitating science intensive issues and, as a certified mediator, using interest-based bargaining techniques to create consensus in his facilitations.  His facilitation experience includes international scientific review panels, discovery and coordination meetings of regional groups (e.g., data managers, programmers, statisticians), and program evaluations and strategic planning.  Mike has been facilitating online meetings to collect citizen participation input, create consensus opinions of advisory groups, conduct strategic and operational planning, and for training other facilitators in online facilitation techniques.


What to Bring

Pen or pencil and paper to take notes if you do not want to write in your manual. Drinks and snacks will be provided each day. Lunch will be on your own.

Billing Information

In order to guarantee a space in a course, the tuition must be paid in full TWO WEEKS before the first day of the course by either check or credit card. State and government agencies paying with a purchase order are allowed payment under the two-week time frame if a copy of the purchase order is received by NWETC.

If You Need to Cancel


  • With 31 or more days notice, we will offer a 100% refund or credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With 30-8 days notice, we will offer a course credit towards a future course. The credit is good for one year and may be applied to any course.
  • With fewer than 8 days notice, there is no course credit available

*Please note that attendee replacement is welcome at any time

Disability Accommodations

Disability Accommodations:

To request disability accommodations, please contact us at or 425-270-3274 at least 30 days prior to the event.


  • From:

  • To:
  •   125 W Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027 Issaquah, WA 98027



*Reduced tuition available to employees of Native American tribes, nonprofits, and government agencies; students; and NAEP members.

If you have any trouble registering please call (425) 270-3274 ext 103
Please wait to receive a course confirmation email, roughly one month prior to the class, before making any travel arrangements. Please review what to bring!


*Follow NWETC on twitter, and "like" us on Facebook by clicking the icons: