MOOC: Being a Better Communicator

“Being a Better Communicator: Grammar, De-jargoning, and Articulation” by Alan Ackmann

  • Signals of bad communication:
    • “Off-putting attitude”
    • “Unclear instructions”
    • “Generally disinterested”
  • Speaker:
    • “Associations listeners hold about you”
    • “How you present yourself as a speaker”
  • “Three main Audience Traits: Knowledge, Needs, Attitudes”
  • “Four Basic Communication Goals: To inform, To instruct, To persuade, To emotionally move”
  • Self Assessment
    • “In your job, how many groups of people do you communicate with daily?”
    • “What are the most important differences between these”
    • “What are your most important tasks? Why?”
    • “What is the communication culture in your workplace? What are the most important dimensions of how people typically talk to one another?”
    • “What are you strongest features as a communicator?”
    • “What elements of communication do you struggle with the most?”
    • “What are your most and least successful examples of when you’ve personally communicated? Why?”
    • “Overall, do you feel that you’re effective at communicating?”
  • Non-expert insights
    • “Everyone you work with is an expert in something”
    • “People process expertise at different speeds”
  • Tips for communicating with non-experts:
    • “Limit jargon and be careful about acronyms”
    • “Think of communication as an act of empathy”
    • “Pace yourself according to a listener’s needs.”
  • Concepts:
    • “Communicating with non-experts begins with respect”
    • “Communicating is about what a reader needs to hear, not what you want to say”
    • “Some communication can be deceptively emotional”
    • “Communicating with follow experts is not about beating them”
    • “Check in with employees at regular intervals”
    • “Leadership communication often involves persuading listeners, not giving orders”
  • “Difference Between Me, Myself , and I
    Word : Usage : Sentence Example
    I : Subject : I give him a break
    Me : Object : She gave the mouse to me
    Myself : Reflexive Pronoun : I gave myself the day off”
    “Tim and I consulted on the project”
    “The project was assigned to Tim and me.”
  • See: owl.english.purdue.edu/owl
  • See: http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/grammar-girl
  • See: “Strunk and White’s Elements of Style”
  • Active listing:
    • “Evaluating ideas for effectiveness”
    • “Actively positioning new ideas in relationship to existing ones”
    • “Consciously not allowing your mind to wander”
  • “Comprehensiveness does not mean sharing everything. It means sharing everything a reader needs to hear.”
  • Examples of flabby phrasing:
    “in the event that” vs. “if”
    “considering the fact that” vs. “because”
    “has the opportunity to” vs. “could”
    “with regard to” vs. “about”
    “under circumstances in which” vs. “when”
    “Conciseness is not about deleting language. It’s about compressing language.”
  • See: “Business Writing Today” by Natalie Canavor

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