This time of the quarter is about integrating what you have learned. I just came across an interesting five-minute speech by a very articulate high school student regarding teacher evaluations and the Common Core. I thought it might be useful for me to use the tools taught in class to evaluate it. Watch the clip, and then read my analysis that follows it:
Primary Objective: To argue against adoption of the common core and a rigid, test-based teacher evaluation system (Apex).
Audience: Primary: Not clear. Looks like a school board. Secondary: Teachers in audience. The rest of us in YouTube Land
Resistance Frames: People in the audience are likely influenced by those who think teachers are to blame for the educational achievement gap. They they think incentivizing teachers with carrots and sticks based on rigorous evaluations will improve teacher performance and close the gap. They need a way to measure performance, and the best way to do that is by quantitative measurement of student progress on standardized tests. The audience wants data because it can be objectively evaluated; the process is otherwise too subjective. If the goal is to get the audience to vote No on adoption of the common core and the Apex teacher evaluation system, you have to work within that frame or crash it.
Ethos: Student doesn't try to establish his own credentials; he relies on his passion and arguments, pathos and logos, to establish his credibility. His credibility largely lies in his precocity--the smart, idealistic, articulate young person that adults love.
Counterframe Strategy: Three pronged:
First, attack legitimacy of the process by which the common core was developed and adopted. This part of the speech does not seek to challenge the Data-centered frame described above; it tries to show that there is no solid data or research that supports the common core, there was no democratic process to legitimate it, and suggests that the people pushing it have a conflict of interest. [I think this is a pretty powerful indictment, and should give the audience pause.]
Second, attack the effectiveness of the Apex teacher evaluation system by promoting a more positive image of teachers, and by ridiculing the idea of teachers jumping through flaming hoops by holding them accountable for something can't control--the engagement and motivation of their students. [I think this section could have been stronger. I would have added arguments about teachers and intrinsic motivation a la Dan Pink. Carrots and sticks don't work for people who do high-level cognitive work.]
Third, crash the data-centric "industrial model" frame from which the proposed high-stakes testing and teacher evaluation systems have been developed. Argue that these systems are designed for what's good for bureaucrats and not for what's good for student learning. Plead for education policies that are designed for humans, not robots. Education is about creativity, appreciation, and inquisitiveness, not just job training. [I think this is the strongest part of the speech.]
Tactics: Lots of facts. Uses irony, questions, quotes, analogy, and impassioned (yang) delivery.
My Critique: I think this is a fine speech, but it could have been better if it followed the Ciceronian strategy I taught in class. The opening is weak. His comments about hoping he can be disproved, I guess, are intended to show he's open minded, but I think they waste time and muddy the waters. He does nothing to establish his credibility, but given the time constraints, it could be argued that his credibility is carried by his passion, his verbal agility, and his intelligence. He can get away with a weak opening because he will have no problem getting his audience's attention.
I think a bigger flaw lies in that there is no Narration. He makes no attempt to show that he understands the "problem" from the audience's point of view. Assuming that the audience sincerely wants to close the achievement gap, the student speaker isn't addressing that as a problem or proposing an alternative solution. So it's easy for the audience to say, "I admire your convictions, but I'm still stuck with a serious problem, and while my solution isn't perfect, at least I'm trying to do something. What's your alternative." He has none, at least not one that he emphasizes. "Do no harm" is implied, but he needs to emphasize it more.
Regarding the close, Ben Franklin quote was a nice touch, and I liked his punchline last sentence, but I didn't find the longer McFarland quote helpful. Too much noise and not enough signal. What does he want his audience to do? It ends on a negative--not that, but then what? Vague change.
The student's argument lies on a demonstrative (values) level--it's about legitimacy, conflicts of interest, and robots v. humans. I agree with him (see below), but he needs to add a deliberative dimension (we can go this way or that way), even if it's to make an argument that to do nothing is better than to do something that has so much damaging potential. It's not clear what alternative action step he wants the board to take. If it's 'do no harm' he has to make that clearer.
I am sympathetic to the argument this student is making. But to a large extent it plays to the people sitting behind him more than it does to the people on dais before him. The people on dais are his primary audience because they are the ones making the decision. It might get some of the undecided board members to consider wanting more time to think before voting, but I think a more effective argument is possible.
I have made a very similar demonstrative argument here in Education Week. My goal in it is to crash the technocratic frame, and to offer a alternative humanistic frame. It is not policy oriented. If I were testifying before that board, I would focus more intently on a making a concrete policy choice: Don't go this way; go that way.
Edward Everett had spent his life preparing for this moment. If anyone could put the battle into a broad historical context, it was he. His immense erudition and his reputation as a speaker set expectations very high for the address to come. As it turned out, Americans were correct to assume that history would forever remember the words spoken on that day. But they were not to be his. As we all know, another speaker stole the limelight, and what we now call the Gettysburg Address was close to the opposite of what Everett prepared. It was barely an Address at all; simply the musings of a speaker with no command of Greek history, no polish on the stage, and barely a speech at all – a mere exhalation of around 270 words. Everett’s first sentence, just clearing his throat, was 19 percent of that – 52 words. By the time he was finished, about 2 hours later, he had spoken more than 13,000.
Lincoln was "presentation zen' 150 years ahead of his time.
Friday, November 22, 2013
New York Times on Quizzes & Learning
Grading college students on quizzes given at the beginning of every class, rather than on midterms or a final exam, increases both attendance and overall performance, scientists reported Wednesday.
The findings — from an experiment in which 901 students in a popular introduction to psychology course at the University of Texas took their laptops to class and were quizzed online — demonstrate that the computers can act as an aid to teaching, not just a distraction.
Moreover, the study is the latest to show how tests can be used to enhance learning as well as measure it. (Source.)
To become a writer, you have to follow a few rules: Show, don’t tell. Avoid clichés. Be specific. Try not to repeat yourself.
These rules work for me whether I’m writing an essay like this or an ad at the agency where I work as a writer and creative director. I’ve learned that people don’t love to be told things. But they don’t mind being shown things. When you demonstrate an idea for a reader or viewer, you let him participate in the process.
I try to teach this to the copywriters who work for me. Find the story. Make it matter. No one wants to be lectured to. And that’s true if you’re creating a mobile app, a TV spot or even a PowerPoint.
And the toughest lesson: learn to love doing the same assignment again and again. Writing, like building furniture or making jewelry, is “Groundhog Day.” How many ways can you write a headline that says, “Here’s a dollar off coupon”? The answer turns out to be almost infinite.
I hope you understand by now that repeating yourself is different from using repetition as a rhetorical technique. And I agree with Sollisch's advice about cliches, but don't obsess over not using them, especially when they are shorthand and communicate your ideas with an ethos appropriate to your audience. But also read JH in the chapter on "Instant Cleverness" where he talks about giving cliches or famous quotes a twist. Some examples.
"Centrism in accommodation
of nihilism is no virtue" takes a famous quote by Barry Goldwater
and fllips it. Goldwater's quote: "Extremism in the
defense of liberty is no vice."
Another example of cleverly
taking a cliche or adage and flipping it is the famous quip by Dorothy
The adage: You can lead
a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.
Parker's quip when asked to use the word 'horticulture' in a sentence: You can
lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think.
This rule is fine for when you have a who or whom that begins a sentence, but you have to use my three-step rule when a who or who is a relative pronoun introducing a subordinate clause. You might otherwise be misled to think that it would be ok to say "Give the prize to whomever you think deservers it." Give the prize to him, right? No.It's not right.
I can explain why, but you probably don't want to know. The best way to be sure is simply (1) to bracket the dependent clause that follows the who or whom: "Give the prize to whomever [you think deserves it]." (2) insert a he or him (or she or her) to make the dependent clause stand on its own two feet as a complete sentence: "Give the prize to whomever [you think he deserves it]." Since 'he' is nominative, so must the relative pronoun, which means it must be 'who'.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Quote of the Day: Jamie Moyer
Like anything, it takes practice. And you have to create repetition. But it all comes down to risk and taking a chance. You have to learn that’s OK. Harvey taught me that we all have fears in life, but you don’t want to feel fear of failure. I feared that. And what happens when all of your energy goes into that fear instead of the actual act itself, and doing it positively and doing it correctly? If I have a lot of fears and focus on that, how successful do you think I’m going to be?
But learning to say, you know, I’m just going to let that go. I’ve done my preparation. I’ve done that preparation mentally. And where it takes me, it takes me. (Source)
It's not just about sports--it's about doing anything that requires stretching yourself outside your comfort zone. Moyer learned that what mattered wasn't what others thought about him but rather his sense of mission about doing as much as he could with the modest stuff that he had.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Some interesting groundbreaking slide show styles:
Parts. I've processed clips from previous student presentations
to provide models for handling the different parts of the presentation.
None of these will be flawless, but each has virtues that I hope you
can learn from.
Two Drafts. Last October I testified before the Seattle School Board. I don't think you need to understand the technical issues or the background. I offer these examples to give you some sense for how a first draft becomes a final draft.
My first draft is basicallly my organization of a freewrite, and its goal is to clarify for myself what I want to say. Several drafts ensued before getting to the final draft, but my revision goal was not to get too fancy, but to sound reasonable while emphasizing the basic points I wanted my audience--the school board--to understand and remember. So you will see rhetorical questions and repetitions, nothing more elaborate than that.
This speech had to be delivered in under three minutes, so it's shorter than the five-minute speech I'm asking you to write.
Paradox: a statement with contradictory elements that point to a truth that defies logic: "You must lose your life in order to gain it." See also M.C. Escher for his strange visual paradoxes:
Irony: Not a coincidence or any unexpected outcome. There is always some 'opposite' effect that is involved. So a sarcastic remark denotes a message that is the opposite of its intent. Example:
"Clearly our nation's teachers are at fault for most of our problems, including the debt, and should be fired, to pay down the debt. If they weren't so greedy, and addicted to filing our children's heads with nonsense about "evolution," "climate change," "equality," and "math," maybe we could afford them. As it is, the best thing for students is tax cuts for the rich, and spending cuts." Commenter on Salon
Antithesis: when two opposites are introduced in the same sentence for contrasting effect E.g.: "I am not a destroyer of companies; I am a liberator of them."
Snyathroesmus: piling up of adjectives or or other modifiers for hyperbolic, often comic effect. Example: That worthless, dirty, rotten, good-for-nothing, thieving, mother-loving SOB!
Catalogues: Lists of objects, events, or ideas that add specificity and vividness to your writing. Example: It was your typical downtown, fair-trade kind of coffee shop, with a dog chained out front, students inside chained to their laptops, and a long line of hipster types waiting for their coffee.
Triad: Any list of words of clauses with three elements in it. I came; I saw; I conquered.
Symploce: Repetitions in which the repeated word or phrase comes at both the beginning and the end: “The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it's indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it's indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it's indifference.” Elie Wiesel [This quote also uses antithesis]
Another example: "There is no Negro problem. There is no Southern problem. There is no Northern problem. There is only an American problem." Lyndon Johnson [This quote also uses antithesis in that in contrasts the first the firs three items in the list with the last.]
Anaphora: Repetitions in which the repeate word, phrase, or clause comes at the beginning. Example: "Where is the Life we have lost in living? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?" T.S. Eliot [This quote also uses erotesis.]
Epistrophe: Repetitions in which the repeated word, phrase, or clause comes a the end. Example: "Where affections bear rule, their reason is subdued, honesty is subdued, good will is subdued, and all things else that withstand evil, for ever are subdued." — Thomas Wilson
Thursday, November 7, 2013
Seth Godin Clip
Anybody hear the "synathroesmus" in
ths clip by Colbert?
Here's another one from Salon writer Alex Parene: "At this point TED is a massive, money-soaked orgy of self-congratulatory futurism.l
Iain McGilchrist on the whole-brain theme and how humans make meaning--or don't:
Yes We Can. In
class I excerpted a part of Obama's speech after his primary defeat in
New Hampshire to provide an example of the use of the 'epistrophe'. This
is one of Obama's best rhetorical moments.
Here's the original speech.
You will also see that he uses the yes-we-can repetition also as an 'anaphora'--beginning
sentences and clauses.
Two studies conducted by Cameron Anderson and Gavin J. Kilduff in 2009 found that people who speak up and act dominant will be perceived as competent even if they aren’t. They merely appear so because they believe so completely in their own competence. So what does this teach us? Speak up. Speak first. Speak often. Stop overthinking and delaying what you want to say. Stop being fearful; instead, trust in yourself. Have confidence in your knowledge. Focus more on what you know and less on what others think. Identify two different situations in which you decide to speak up and speak often. You might have to leave your comfort zone, but do it. You’ll be heard and seen as competent, and you’ll notice others’ perceptions of you starting to shift favorably as you contribute more often.
More on creativity and how it works.
EQ Tip of the Day:Take control of your Self Talk. Research suggest the average person has about 50,000 thought every day. Every time one of those thoughts takes place, chemicals are produced in your brain that trigger reactions felt throught your body.
There is a strong relationship between what you think and how you feel, both physically and emotionally. Because you are always thinking (much like breathing), you tend to forget that you are doing it. So if you have some self-talk bad habits, it might help to change them. For instance, instead of "I always" or "I never", say "Tthis time" (I screw up); instead of "I'm an idiot, say "I made a mistake".
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Here's the link to
the Alec Baldwin AIDA speech form Glengarry Glenross
Remote Area Medical is
not the Dr. Hotz Model for delivering healthcare to people who can't afford
it, but it gives you an idea why something like it is needed, and not just
in southern Georgia. From Sixty Minutes.
link with information about Remote Area Medical.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Terms you should be familiar with:
Rhetorical Frame: It's the dominant ideas, values or emotional framework within which a persuasive message is presented. Whoever owns the frame, owns the argument. A logos frame appeals to facts, analytical prowess, competency, practicality, getting things done. An ethos frame appeals to the speaker's power, credibilitiy, likability, charisma, attractiveness, humor, good guyness, which can often trump a logos frame. Pathos frames work with the desires and fears of the audience. Ryan uses a pathos frame for Bob in the Up in the Air clip when he reframes Bob's pity party as an opportunity to do what he's always wanted to do, and as a more effective way to win the respect of his children.
Code Grooming: Using language that has special resonance or meaning with your audience that it would not have for people outside who don't "get it". It's a tactic for deploying the identity strategy.
AIDA: Attention, Interst, Desire, and Action. Think of each as successive stages moving your audience from resistance to compliance. These steps are the basic logic of most persuasive written messaging, and are implied in much face-to-face persuasive messaging as well.
Motivating Problem: What you seek to establish in the Interest phase of AIDA. It's about focusing audience awareness of a problem they may only be dimly aware of or feel is not worth paying attention to. The goal is to fan a low-heat problem into a high-heat problem so as to make audience so uncomfortable that they are desperate for a solution.
Primary Benefit: Part of the Desire phase of AIDA. It's whatever it takes to prove to your audience that your solution solves the motivating problem.
Secondary Benefit: A sweetener that adds inessential value. When deciding between two vacuum cleaners for the same price that do an equally good job of solving the motivating problem, you might decide on the basis of secondary benefits, perhaps one has an attachment that adds value the other does not.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
David Rose in a TED talk on pitching to venture capitalists like him. The whole thing is worth watching, but you can start at the five- minute mark if you want to save some time (h/t Billy Rex):
Identity Strategy: deployment of rhetorical strategy that focuses on building trust and credibility with your audience. You want your audience to identify with you because you identify with them. You know its language--its code, its insider jokes, etc. Goal is to make the audience feel comfortable with you because you feel comfortable with audience.
Denotation & Connotation. Denotaton is the dictionary definition of a word; connotation are the ideas and feelings that are associated with a word. 'Fortuitous' denotes by chance or accident, but it connotes good fortune. Don't use a word to convey its denotative meaning if it's likely to be understood by its connotative meaning.
Jargon Phrase of the Day: "Judgmental Heuristics". A storeowner has some turquoise jewelry that isn't selling well, so she lowers the price. It sells even worse. She leaves on a trip and her assistant mistakenly doubles the price, and the items sell out.
Why? Because people make judgments, especially when they are not experts, using heuristics, an alogrithm or stereotypical formula that has worked for them in the past. In this case, it's expensive = good, or higher price means higher quality.
Years ago I asked advice from a more experienced speechwriter than I about how to set fees. He told me how he once was almost hired to write a speech for a company CEO, until he blew it by stating that his fee was $3000. The CEO said, "Sorry, I want a $5000 speech."
Can you think of other examples where people use these stereotypes or formulas to make judgments? [Adapted from Robert Cialdini, Influence: Science and Practice
Ambivert: Introverts who can work effectively in groups and extroverts who can work alone.
Irony: Saying something but meaning the opposite. Sarcasm, understatement (said of an amputated limb: it's just a scratch), hyperbole (said of a scratch: OMG--it's a festering pustule of gangrenous infection!)
Reductio ad Absurdum: To make opponent's position or argument look ridiculous by comparing it to something similar that is obviously ridiculous. If it's ridiculous to put a skull & crossbones on cheddar cheese, then it's equally ridiculous to put it on a pack of cigarettes.
Monday, October 21, 2013
Quote of the Day:
common use of comprise as a synonym for compose or constitute is a wanton
and indefensible weakening of our vocabulary.”--H.W. Fowler
EQ Tip of the Day: Is the look that your are projecting to the world one that you have chosen, one that your mood created or one that you tend to lean on by default? What you project reflects how you feel, and it's up to you to understand it.
For instance, what you wear sends a pretty clear message about how you feel. Wearing old sweatpants and ratty T-shirts and having disheveled hair every day tells the world you've given up, while overdressing for every occasion and never missing your weekly haircut lets people know you are trying too hard.
When you meet new people are you aloof and cool, or are you overeager to please? Be aware of how your emotions affect your demeanor, and think about whether they are helping you or undermining you.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
Quote of the Day
For budding entrepreneurs, the U.S. looks like the king of the hill for years to come. This nation has all the traits new companies need to succeed: top universities; a consistent rule of law; an entrepreneurial culture; a huge market; and a government that is broadly pro-business, regardless of which party is in power, [Andreesen] says.
"China is very entrepreneurial but has no rule of law," Andreessen says. "Europe has rule of law but isn't entrepreneurial. Combine rule of law, entrepreneurialism and a generally pro-business policy, and you have Apple." (Source)
Entrepreneurism is where it's at if you are living in America. It's what business is all about. So this weekend as you think about ideas for your business plan, remember this isn't just an academic exercise.
Terms you should be familiar with:
Hypophora: Ask a rhetoriical question, then answer it. "Is this any way to run an airline? You bet it is.
Erotesis: a figure by which we express the emotion of our mind, and infuse an ardour and energy into our discourse by proposing questions. . . . As these questions have the force of a climax, they ought to be pronounced with increasing force to the end." (John Walker, A Rhetorical Grammar, 1814) For our purposes, we want to think of erotesis as a series of questions leading to a climax.
Chiasmus: ABBA pattern that often creates a clever antithesis. "You can take boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy.
Anadiplosis: AB BC CD, etc. We saw a ridiculous example in the Animal House clip, but it can be used to make a more serious point, too:
Watch your thoughts, they
Watch your words, they become actions.
Watch your actions, they become habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watch your character, it becomes your destiny.
Virtually every top M.B.A. program in the country now teaches ethics classes, many of them required. In 2008, a coalition of students started the MBA Oath, a voluntary pledge among students to “create value responsibly and ethically.” So far, more than 6,000 students have signed the pledge.
And yet, the report and other anecdotal evidence suggest that whatever is being done both in the classroom and on the job is not enough. According to a controversial study called “Economics Education and Greed” that was published in 2011 by professors at Harvard and Northwestern, an education in economics surprisingly may be making the problem worse.
“The results show that economics education is consistently associated with positive attitudes towards greed,” the authors wrote. “The uncontested dominance of self-interest maximization as the primary (if not sole) logic of exchange, in business schools and corporate settings alike, may lead people to be more tolerant of what other people see as morally reprehensible.”
EQ Tip of the Day: Know who and what pushes your buttons. Your buttons are bound to be pushed by a wide range of people and things. It could be certain people, particular situations (like feeling scared or caught offguard), or conditions in the environment (like noisy offices). Make a list of them. Objectify them. Write about them in the journal you're all keeping now.
When you have a clear understanding for who and what pushes your buttons makes these a bit less difficult to deal with because they come as less of a surprise, and you can develop a more effective patterned response to them. But then ask yourself--why do these things bother you so much? Is it the situation or is it you? (Adapted from Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Bradberry & Greaves)
Dear Miley. I can’t stop listening to #GetItRight (great song, great message, great body), but maybe you need a quick grammar lesson. One particular line causes concern: “I been laying in this bed all night long.” Miley, technically speaking, you’ve been LYING, not LAYING, an irregular verb form that should only be used when there’s an object, i.e. “I been laying my tired booty on this bed all night long.” Whatever. I’m not the best lyricist, but you know what I mean. #Get It Right The Next Time. But don’t worry, even Faulkner messed it up. We all make mistakes, and surely this isn’t your worst misdemeanor. But also, Miley, did you know the tense here is also totally wrong. Surely you’ve heard of Present Perfect Continuous Tense (I HAVE BEEN LYING in this bed all night long [hopefully getting some beauty sleep?]). It’s a weird, equivocal, almost purgatorial tense, not quite present, not quite past, not quite here, not quite there. Somewhere in between. I feel that way all the time. It kind of sucks. But I have a feeling your “present perfect continuous” involves a lot more excitement than mine. Anyway, doesn’t that also sum up your career right now? Present. Perfect. Continuous. And Tense. Intense? Girl, you work it like Mike Tyson. Miley, I love you because you’re the Queen, grammatically and anatomically speaking. And you’re the hottest cake in the pan. Don’t ever grow old. Live brightly before your fire fades into total darkness. XXOO Sufjan
Take what Jim Collins says
to heart. It's not just about bosses; it's about the way you run your groups:
EQ Tip of the Day: Self Awareness Strategy--You feel what you feel; it's what you do that matters. So don't judge your emotions as good or bad. Just try to understand them. What is a particular feeling pointing to?
Best way to keep problematic
words correctly in mind is to memorize model sentences like the ones listed below to use as a template.
The dog often lies here
by the fire.
The dog is lying by
The dog lay by the fire
for over two hours.
The dog has lain by
the fire since breakfast.
The counselor's advice
affected my thinking about dropping out of school.
The CEO effected significant
changes in budgetary policy within a week of taking office.
His chewing me out had
quite a negative effect on my motivation.
I don't like your affect,
you ill-tempered, surly grump.
The team comprises fifteen
Fifteen members compose
(not comprise) the team.
The team is composed
of (not comprised of) fifteen members.
There are fewer houses for sale now than last year.
There is less housing available now compared to last year.
The nauseous fumes made me feel nauseated.
Terms you should know:
Restrictive/Nonrestrictive: Use commas to set off words, phrases, or clauses that are non restrictive (i.e., non-defining or parenthetical). If it's a non restrictive dependent clause, it should be introduced by the relative pronoun 'which'. If it's a restrictive dependent clause, it should be introduced by 'that'. In other words, 'which' introduces the clauses that are set off by commas, and that the clauses that are not.
Emotional Intelligence: The ability to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of oneself, others, and groups.
Empathy: The ability the imaginative act of getting into the mind of another person and to see and feel the world as he or she does.
Conciseness: Writing that does not waste your reader's time. It's not about short vs. long. And the rule to keep memos and letters to one page is too restrictive. A message takes as long as it takes so long as the content is useful for the audience.
Wednesday, October 9, 2013
More on Decorum:
Can you find the mistake?
It's certainly possible that there was some other motivation--there
is such a thing as palace intrigue--but for the most part it's safer
to assume that in a crisis a president isn't going to appoint someone whom
he thinks is making things worse.
Is this sentence correct?
In the season 2 opener, a convalescing Carrie and Congressman Brody must reckon with who they really are.
Terms you should know--
Coordinating Conjunctions: The seven conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so--or FANBOYS. Use them with a comma to join two independent clauses.
Oxford Comma: The comma used to set off the item in a list that precedes the 'and' before the last item in the list. (e.g., the comma that follows 'oranges' in the following list: apples, oranges, and grapes.
Forensic, Demonstrative, and Deliberative Arguments: Forensic is the argument that focuses on marshalling evidence from the past. Demonstrative focuse on the values and beliefs we hold now in the present, and Deliberative focuses on weighing a choice about a course of action that will take us into the future. Pacino is demonstrative when he is trying to build team identity around the core value of fighting for the inch, and deliberative when focusing his team on the choice to stay in hell or climb to the light, to come together as a team or die alone.
Decorum: behavior that fits or is appropriate for a given social situation. Vinnie had very poor courtroom decorum in the My Cousin Vinnie clip we watched. He didn't know how to dress, when to stand or sit, or basic courtroom procedure.
Practical Wisdom: Street smarts. The leadership capablity that gets things done in the real world.
Reluctant Conclusion: A tool used when you have to tell an audience something it doesn't want to hear. You start off aligning yourself with the hopes of your audience, then you start preseenting evidence that shows that the hoped-for outcome is unattainable.
Strategy: How you organize your resources to accomplish your objectives.
Composition: The raw content of your message--the resources that your strategy seeks to organize into an effective meesage. The situation analysis, crux, and freewrite are compositional tools insofar as they help you to understand what you want to say.
Memory Curve: People are paying most attention at the beginning and end of a message, and so tend to not remember and understand material presented in the middle of a presentation. Make you openings and closes count, and break up long chunky sections.
Reactive - Proactive: A reactive management style works best in 'static' environments where stability is the goal. Good reactive managers are effective crisis managers. When a fire breaks out, he's good at quickly putting it out and returning things to normal. Proactive management is more dynamic in that it is always growing, moving forward, progressing. When a fire breaks out, she wants to put it out quickly, but will also look for opportunities to go beyond the situation before the fire started. For instance, now that that old building is burnt down, we can build a better one. (See class whiteboard above.)
Status Quo Ante: The way things were before.
Credibility: It means 'believability'. It's the measure of trust that your audience has in you, so it is in turn the measure of receptivity that your audience has for your message. People with low credibility can have great ideas for which audiences will have little receptivity, and people with high credibility will find audiences accepting even silly or stupid ideas. On the whiteboad (see above), I laid out the relationship of credibility to character, and character to virtue/vice, and virtue/vice to ethos.
Primary Audience - Secondary Audience: You design your message to obtain a thinking, feeling, or action response from your primary audience; you don't expect a response from your secondary audience. The secondary audience can be people you send the message to, as in a cc, and it can be anybody who reads the message whether you intend them to read it or not.
Primary Objective - Secondary Objective: The primary objective is reactive; it's about putting out the fire. The secondary objective is proactive; it's about looking for ways to go forward once the fire has been put out. Every message has a primary objective; not every message has a secondary objective. In my revision of the Goodwin message (see below), I make clarifying the misunderstanding the primary objective. The secondary objective is to sell him an overdraft line of credit or perhaps have him consolidate accounts with my bank. The original messages 1 & 2 had no secondary objectives.
Crux: The core energy center of your message. Your message might have a lot of parts to it, but there is almost always one part that is more interesting and more important. That's where the energy is. In the Goodwin messages the energy for message 1 focused on the 'angry customer issue'; message 2 focused on the future accountability issue. The approach here would have been better if it focused on the 'misunderstanding issue'.
Prepositions and Prepositional Phrases: Prepositions introduce phrases that play a modifying or descriptive function in a sentence, the way adjectives and adverbs do. In the sentence 'The dog under the table' is chewing a bone. The preposition is 'under' and the prepositional phrase is 'under the table'. The prepositional phrase plays the role of an adjective here. It's as if you're saying 'The under-the-table dog is chewing a bone'. Prepositional phrases always have objects, and when those objects are pronouns, they are in the accusative form: 'under him', 'between you and me'.
Goodwin Message Revision
Dear Mr. Goodwin:
I am writing in response to your August 15 email
questioning the $108.00 in overdraft fees charged against your account.
Upon receiving your email we investigated to learn why, and we learned that an apparent miscommunication between you and the United Oregon Bank led to the imposition of
In your email, you mentioned that you had instructed
the United Oregon Bank to transfer $45,000 to your account
here on August 1. It did not, however, make the transfer until August
10--which explains why on August 8 we charged your account for the overdraft.
We value your account with us, Mr. Goodwin. You have been
one of our most reliable and valued customers, and we understand that
miscommunications like this happen from time to time. On this occasion
we are happy to refund to you the $108. But please contact United Oregon
to be sure that they send future transfers on the date you specify.
Perhaps an overdraft line of credit would be appropriate
if you anticipate this kind of miscommunication in the future. You might
also consider consolidating your accounts in such a way as to make these
transfers unnecessary.We’ll have one of our personal bankers contact
you in the next week to see if we can help you to meet your banking needs
in a more streamlined way.
Use the Problems, Goals, Audience format I put up on the board and just
fill in the blanks.
When you are trying
to define the issues, look at them in this case as being arranged concentrically,
with some issues more at the periphery influencing the most important
issue in the center.
When defining objectives
think about them in two categories: reactive--what you have to do at
a minimum to put out the metaphorical fires--and proactive--what possibilities
are there to go beyond the status quo ante.
When defining the audience,
the most important element is to define the need, because what you choose
to include in your summary should be determined by its usefulness in
meeting your boss's need.
Outline hints: You
need to have at least two major subtopic headings structuring the body
of your outline. These subtopics should be equal in importance. The biggest
challenge in this part of the assignment is envision how you will make
this document into a useful tool. I'll have more to say about that on Tuesday.
Remember, your goal in
this assignment is to create a document that will be more useful or helpful
for your boss than the original article.
Myself, and I. "Don't say myself if you mean me or I. Me
is a perfectly good and acceptable word. I think myself is misused so
often because as people are speaking, they become uncertain about whether
the word they want to use is me or I. They retreat into myself because
they think that's correct in every circumstance." Read
If you are enjoying Thank you for Arguing, you will also enjoy this artcle about Jay Heinrich in Fast Company, entitled "Screwing Up Could Be Your Best Career Move." It's an article about flipping problems into opportunities, the role of apologies, and controling the tense--the theme of Chapter 3, which you should be reading now. Check it out.
Monday, September 30, 2013
Terms You Need to Know:
Tactical Flaw: (Aporia, Dubitatio): Presenting oneself as having weaknesses or peronsal flaws, or being ignorant or in a state of doubt, in order to create a space for your audience to become more engaged or to take more responsibility. Use it to lower expectations or to take a more human, humble stance before your audience, especially if you are perceived by it as arrogant or successful. Clooney Character: "i'm not really the one you would ordinarily talk to about things like this, but . . ." In Al Pacino clip shown in Class 3?
Tactical Concession: In an argument or attempt to persuade, a move to give up a short-term advantage in order to procure one that is long-term. Instead of challenging your opponent's facts or assumptions, you concede
that he is right. This has a disarming effect, and makes him feel that
he has been heard and is well understood. Good example: In Up in the Air, the Clooney character
concedes that his brother-in-law-to-be is right about marriage being pointless.
This allows him to change the subject to focus on a real, concrete choice, which is whether Jim
wants a future in which he is alone and anxious or one in which he will make meaning and memories with a companion he loves.
values of a community summarized in adages, and cliches. "The
children are our future." "Freedom isn't free." "Everyone
has a right to choose." "Politicians are hypocrites". " Big corporations only care about profit, not people."
Relaxed intensity: The ideal stance any performer takes during a performance. It comprises both a loose, comfortable body posture at the same time as having a mindset that is highly focused and committed to performing the task at hand.
Exposition: presentation of the facts, background information, etc. It's the data dots required to be connected when you want to deliver an insight.
Insight: the experience of "getting it". A common example is getting a joke, but also the experience of understanding, for instance, why you use 'who' in a particular sentence instead of 'whom'. It's also experienced any time you get a satisfying answer to a question or solution for a problem.
Clause: A verbal construction that comprises both a subject and a verb. They come in different varieties. You need to understand the difference between an independent and dependent clause.
Nominative: Case for nouns and pronouns that function as subjects in clauses.
Accusative: Case for nouns and pronouns that function as objects of verbs and prepositions.
Static/dynamic: Polarity defined by spectrum from stable and unchanging to moving and developing.
Analysis/synthesis: Polarity defined by, on the on hand, breaking things down to understand the whole in its parts, and on the other, the process of understanding by assembling the parts into an integrated, functioning whole.
Dan Pink video clip on motivation watched in Class 1:
September 9, 2013
Welcome to Strategic
Communications for Fall Quarter 2013.
I'll be using this space as the quarter progresses
to summarize and amplify points that
I make in class with verbal commentary, video,
and other supplementary materials. Check in at least once a week
to make sure you're up to speed.
It will probably
take me until next week to
get all the relevant links updated, but the ones that are live now
for the resources available here.
assignment links will be activated the class day I introduce the
if you miss class, you should know what the assignment is.