Ruddy lives at the New England Aquarium. He's got eight arms, and is the latest subject of Alan Alda's podcast, Clear + Vivid. Ruddy is an octopus, and a nonverbal one at that. So to learn about how cephalopods like Ruddy communicate, Alda turned to a BPR favorite, naturalist Sy Montgomery.

On Tuesday, Alda joined Boston Public Radio himself to discuss his podcast, and what he's learned about communication throughClear + Vivid, which delves into how luminaries connect and communicate with the world around them.

"Early on, I realized what we were doing that made the interviews so accessible to the public, was they weren't straight interviews, I didn't come in with a list of questions, I came in with a desire to understand what they were telling me," he said. "And I was relentless, I grabbed them by the lapels and said, 'Tell me another way, I don't get it.' And their focus changed as a result of that, I realized we were communicating in a way I'd been trained to communicate as an actor and as an improviser, where you relate to the other person, and that relating, we all have the equipment and the ability to do it: to watch one anothers' faces, to take nonverbal cues from one another, but we don't practice it enough, we're not used to it."

Alan Alda, an award-winning actor, helped found the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University, which trains scientists around the country and overseas to be better communicators.