Jack Whelan's Strategic Communications Site

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Check out this interesting story about popcorn Otaku, a Seattle gourmet popcorn business called KuKuRuZa.

***

Nice use of 'syllepsis' in NYT headline: Mel Patton, 89, Who Shattered a Leg and Then Sprinting Records, Is Dead.

***

Two Drafts. I testified before the Seattle School Board some months ago. 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.

First Draft

Final Draft

 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Creativity & the Brain: Dare to Daydream

From an article in the NY Times, "Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain":

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s a reason: The processing capacity of the conscious mind is limited. This is a result of how the brain’s attentional system evolved. Our brains have two dominant modes of attention: the task-positive network and the task-negative network (they’re called networks because they comprise distributed networks of neurons, like electrical circuits within the brain). The task-positive network is active when you’re actively engaged in a task, focused on it, and undistracted; neuroscientists have taken to calling it the central executive. The task-negative network is active when your mind is wandering; this is the daydreaming mode. These two attentional networks operate like a seesaw in the brain: when one is active the other is not.

This two-part attentional system is one of the crowning achievements of the human brain, and the focus it enables allowed us to harness fire, build the pyramids, discover penicillin and decode the entire human genome. Those projects required some plain old-fashioned stick-to-itiveness.

But the insight that led to them probably came from the daydreaming mode. This brain state, marked by the flow of connections among disparate ideas and thoughts, is responsible for our moments of greatest creativity and insight, when we’re able to solve problems that previously seemed unsolvable. You might be going for a walk or grocery shopping or doing something that doesn’t require sustained attention and suddenly — boom — the answer to a problem that had been vexing you suddenly appears. This is the mind-wandering mode, making connections among things that we didn’t previously see as connected.

A third component of the attentional system, the attentional filter, helps to orient our attention, to tell us what to pay attention to and what we can safely ignore. This undoubtedly evolved to alert us to predators and other dangerous situations. The constant flow of information from Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, text messages and the like engages that system, and we find ourselves not sustaining attention on any one thing for very long — the curse of the information age.

This RSA video expands on the point:

 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Midterm Review Today, 3.30-4.30, PAC 390

Clips you should review to prepare for the midterm:

***

Quote of the Day: David Brooks

Think of Ralph Lifshitz longing to emulate WASP elegance and creating the Ralph Lauren brand. Think of the young Stephen Gordon pining for the graciousness of the Adirondack lodges and creating Restoration Hardware. Think of Nike’s mythos around the ideal of athletic perseverance. . . .

Seth Siegel, the co-founder of Beanstalk, a brand management firm, says that branding “decommoditizes a commodity.” It coats meaning around a product. It demands a quality of experience with the consumer that has to be reinforced at every touch point, at the store entrance, in the rest rooms, on the shopping bags. The process of branding itself is essentially about the expression and manipulation of daydreams. It owes as much to romanticism as to business school.

In this way, successful branding can be radically unexpected. The most anti-establishment renegades can be the best anticipators of market trends. The people who do this tend to embrace commerce even while they have a moral problem with it — former hippies in the Bay Area, luxury artistes in Italy and France or communitarian semi-socialists in Scandinavia. These people sell things while imbuing them with more attractive spiritual associations.

The biggest threat to the creativity of American retail may be that we may have run out of countercultures to co-opt. We may have run out of anti-capitalist ethoses to give products a patina of cool. We may be raising a generation with few qualms about commerce, and this could make them less commercially creative.

***

For those of you interested in a follow-up to some of the grammar problems we talked about this quarter, here's an interesting article in the NY Times about hyphen use, danglers, and the restrictive and nonrestrictive use of commas.

Signal vs. Noise

Interesting article entitled "The Other Gettysburg Address":

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.

***

Along those lines, I came across this article "Simplifying the Bull: How Picasso Helps to Teach Apple's Style" in today's NY Times. Here's the key quote that explains why I avoid Google in all thing except it's simple search engine:

In “What Makes Apple, Apple,” another course that Mr. Nelson occasionally teaches, he showed a slide of the remote control for the Google TV, said an employee who took the class last year. The remote has 78 buttons. Then, the employee said, Mr. Nelson displayed a photo of the Apple TV remote, a thin piece of metal with just three buttons.

How did Apple’s designers decide on three buttons? They started out with an idea, Mr. Nelson explained, and debated until they had just what was needed — a button to play and pause a video, a button to select something to watch, and another to go to the main menu.

The Google TV remote serves as a counterexample; it had so many buttons, Mr. Nelson said, because the individual engineers and designers who worked on the project all got what they wanted. But, Apple’s designers concluded, only three were needed.

 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Weird Al makes fun of business jargon and particularly the 'mission statement':

Here's some more info on the Dilbert Mission Statment Generator .

Check this site out, too.

 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Some interesting groundbreaking slide show styles:

Dick Hardt, "Identity 2.0"

Lawrence Lessig, "Free Culture"

Ty Jacobsen also made we aware of this presentation about NIN's Trent Reznor:

 

Clips shown in Class 13

Nancy Duarte on slide preparation

Fall Winter Highlight Reel

Monday, August 4, 2014

How to Make a Good Speech Better

This time of the quarter is about integrating what you have learned. I recently 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:

 

Analysis

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 eloquence, 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 they 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 improve results 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 teach 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 his problem/solution dynamic is weak. His Narration section, where he lays out the "facts" about the illegitimate process by which the Common Core was adopted, makes no attempt to show that he understands the "problem" from the audience's point of view. He needs to address the pathos frame that the audience is living in, which is the desire to close the achievement gap. That should be the key to his developing a motivating problem.

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.

***

Quote of the Day: Jim Sollisch

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 Parker:

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.

And then, of course, there is Seth Godin's treatment of the cliche "the best thing since the invention of sliced bread".

***

Business Plan 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.

Openings

Establishing Need

Meeting the Need

Market Strategy

Talking Money

Investor Pitch

 

Quote of the Day: Art Thiel on the Robinson Cano Deal

Does this move smack of desperation? Panic? Insanity? Yes. But what else could they have done? The great fear among Mariners fans was that [Howard] Lincoln was so disconnected from reality, he wouldn't recognize that recklessness was the absolute minimum requirement.

As Otter said to his frat-house faithful in "Animal House": "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"

Bluto: "We're just the guys to do it!"

Think of Lincoln in a new way: A twin, separated at birth from John Belushi [Bluto].

And on the Chris Peterson hire:

Petersen has been asked to dance more than a drunken Kate Upton. Everyone wants him. His record at Boise State, 92-12, looks like a Harlem Globetrotters score. Yes, the caliber of the Broncos' opponents was weaker. Tell that to Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when the plucky Spuds slipped a figurative stiletto into the Sooners, who had to see the blood on their jerseys before they knew they had been stabbed.

Thiel is so good because, first, he has something to say. Thiel is one of the smartest, most perceptive sports writers alive. Second, he uses rhetorical tactics--humor, erotesis, analogy, and metaphor--to deliver insights in a memorable way.

The stiletto metaphor in the last sentence in particularly apt. If there have been any doubters about the Peterson hire, they've been people who think he's not a dynamic, extroverted personality type necessary to succeed in the big time: He's not Jim Mora or Pete Carroll. The stiletto metaphor suggests that Peterson may not be flashy, but that's not a bug, it's a feature. He delivers in a way that no one expects him to before his opponents know what happened to them.

 

Thursday, July 30, 2014

Seth Godin Clip

Terms You Should Know:

Synathroesmus: piling up of adjectives 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.

 

Wednesday, July 29, 2014

Terms You Should Know:

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 three items in the list with the last.]

Anaphora: Repetitions in which the repeated 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

Hypophora: Rhetorical question that both asks an answers the question. Example: "Is this any way to run an airline? You bet it is.

Erotesis: For our purposes, a piling on of one rhetorical question after the other to create dramatic intensity. Example: See opening of Simon Sinek TED talk below.

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.

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.

***

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.

Here's the will.i.am version:

***

Remote Area Medical is not the Dr. O'Mara 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.

Here's another link with information about Remote Area Medical.

 

 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bush as genius of the "identity strategy":

Simon Sinek's Golden Circle:

Quote of the Day: Art Thiel on the Robinson Cano Deal

Does this move smack of desperation? Panic? Insanity? Yes. But what else could they have done? The great fear among Mariners fans was that [Howard] Lincoln was so disconnected from reality, he wouldn't recognize that recklessness was the absolute minimum requirement.

As Otter said to his frat-house faithful in "Animal House": "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part!"

Bluto: "We're just the guys to do it!"

Think of Lincoln in a new way: A twin, separated at birth from John Belushi [Bluto].

And on the Chris Peterson hire:

Petersen has been asked to dance more than a drunken Kate Upton. Everyone wants him. His record at Boise State, 92-12, looks like a Harlem Globetrotters score. Yes, the caliber of the Broncos' opponents was weaker. Tell that to Oklahoma in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl, when the plucky Spuds slipped a figurative stiletto into the Sooners, who had to see the blood on their jerseys before they knew they had been stabbed.

Thiel is so good because, first, he has something to say. Thiel is one of the smartest, most perceptive sports writers alive. Second, he uses rhetorical tactics--humor, erotesis, analogy, and metaphor--to deliver insights in a memorable way.

The stiletto metaphor in the last sentence in particularly apt. If there have been any doubters about the Peterson hire, they've been people who think he's not a dynamic, extroverted personality type necessary to succeed in the big time: He's not Jim Mora or Pete Carroll. The stiletto metaphor suggests that Peterson may not be flashy, but that's not a bug, it's a feature. He delivers in a way that no one expects him to before his opponents know what happened to them.

 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Another example of how not using the Oxford Comma can get you in trouble:

oc2

 

Terms you should be familiar with:

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.

Hypophora: Ask a rhetoriical question, then answer it. "Is this any way to run an airline? You bet it is.

Chiasmus: AB BA 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 become words.
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.

They call for you: The general who became a slave; the slave who became a gladiator; the gladiator who defied an Emperor. Striking story." —Commodus, Gladiator (2000 film)

Here's another example:

 

Clips used in Class 8

Warning label on cheese

Susan Cain Podcast: Introvert Power

And here's the Susan Cain's TED talk:

 

***

Check out this article about "extraverts"--clearly from the intraverted POV.

Quote 2 of the Day:

“This lamentably common use of comprise as a synonym for compose or constitute is a wanton and indefensible weakening of our vocabulary.”--H.W. Fowler

***

Interesting article here on 'body language'. Learn how to read other people's body language, and to control what you communicate with your own.

***

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.

Monday, July 21, 2014

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):

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 fire.

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 members.

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.

Sufjan Stevens schools Miley Cyrus on Lie/Lay:

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

***

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".

Clips used in Class 9:

Bluto and Leadership

Otter in court

Jason Street sells Joe a truck

Old North Face

 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Weird Al on Grammar

 

 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Have you started your diary or journal yet?

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.

Clips used in Class 7

Interesting Article: "On Wall Street, A Culture of Greed Won't Let Go", NYT--7/15/13. Key paragraph:

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.”

 

Monday, July 14, 2014

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?

Interesting Article:

"Martin Luther King as an emotionally intelligent speaker"

 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Take what Jim Collins says to heart. It's not just about bosses; it's about the way you make decisions in 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?

***

Interesting Articles:

"Emotional Intelligence Skills Employers Want Now"

"Five Must-Have Soft Skills for Engineers' Career Success."

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Grammar Tips

Coordinating Conjunctions: Use the mnemonic FANBOYS to remeber the six of them: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Use them with commas to connect indepdent clauses.

I am an American, and yet I am a citizen of the world.

Conjunctive Adverbs: Use a semicolon between independent clauses joined by a conjunctive adverb (e.g., nevertheless, however, additionally, moreover, etc.).

Spelling bees were her specialty; nevertheless, she failed to spell “urbiculture” correctly.

 

Hilda Black Tips

Hilda was a client in the past, but she chose not to use your tax prep services this year. She tried to save money by preparing her taxes herself.

You have the conversation in question recorded, so there is no dispute about what actually was discussed in the phone conversation in April.

You need to find a proactive approach. Don't be defensive or reactive.

Your grade on this assignment will depend more on the effectiveness of your sentences. Show me you've learned something from our discussion of sentences in class next week.

 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

More on Decorum:

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Clips used in Class 5:

 

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.

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.

 

Friday, July 4, 2014

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--

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. Ways to establish it are to let people know your track record, be willing to bend the rules, and take the middle course. According to JH, its main characteristics are knowing when to bend the rules, presenting your solutions as the middle course, and making sure your audience knows your track record for accomplishment.

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.

 

Clips shown in Class 4:

Vinnie in the Courtroom

 

Thursday, July 3, 2013

More on who/whom:

ghgh

(Source--h/t Jared Lemoine)

This rule is fine for when you have a who or whom that begins a sentence (or is used in any other role except introducing a dependent clause), but you have to use my three-step rule when a who or who is a relative pronoun introducing a dependent 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'.

***

Clips used in Class 3

Terms You Should Know:

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.

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.

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'.

 

Monday, June 30, 2013

Whoever at the Office:

 

Whomever at the Office

 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Memo Punctilio Assignment

Analysis Hints: Use the Situation Analysis form at the top of the column to the left, and just fill in the blanks. Don't worry if parts of it don't make sense. I'll explain it next week.

  • 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. Which one is the crux?
  • 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 audience's need, because what you choose to include in your summary should be determined by its usefulness in meeting your boss's need.

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.

***

Goodwin 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 you were charged, and we learned that a miscommunication between you and the United Oregon Bank led to the imposition of this fee.

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.

Sincerely,

Note that this revision makes the misunderstanding issue the "crux", and adds a proactive dimension by seeking to flip the problem into an opportunity and move with Mr. Goodwin beyond the status quo ante.

***

Terms You Should 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?

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.

Status Quo Ante: The way things were before.

***

Me, 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 more.

 

 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Terms You Need to Know:

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.

Commonplace: 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.

***

Links to Class 2 movie clips:

 

June 17, 2014

Welcome to Strategic Communications for Summer Quarter 2014. 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 the end of the week to get all the relevant links updated, but the ones that are live now if you want to get a feel for the resources available here.

The assignment links will be activated the class day I introduce the assignment. Even if you miss class, you should know what the assignment is.

 

 

 

Situation Analysis Form

1st Assignment Prompt

1st Assignment Rubric

2nd Assignment Prompt

2nd Assignment Rubric

Team Charter

Charter Sample

Information Interview

Information Interview Memo

3rd Assignment Prompt

3rd Assignment Rubric

Letterhead

Raising Sensitive Issues

Work Plans

Business Plan Rubric

Problem Solving

Persuasive Talk Prompt

BCMU for Artists 1

BCMU for Artists 2

Story board

Armada Karaoke Slides

Armada Karaoke Video

Cascadia Slides

Cascadia Video

 

 

Study Guide

Class Slide PDFs

Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

Class 4

Class 5

Class 6

Class 7

Class 8

Class 9

Class 10

Class 11

Class 12

Class 13

Class 14

Class 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

Film Clips

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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