Jack Whelan's Strategic Communications Site

Basics

Office: Paccar 529

Phone: 206 261 2495

Office Hours: see top of Courseblog

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Syllabus

Coursepack

How to Talk Politics...

"Why Won't They Listen"

"Forget the Money"

Team Performance

Westen on Emotion

"The Power of Talk"

Husky Career Center

Academic Calendar

Articles

 

Letters of Note

totallycoolpix.com

Bag News Notes


Reading 

Woe is I

Grammarphobia

Thank You for Arguing

Silva Rhetoricae

Logical Fallacies

Figaro Website

Presentation Zen

presentationzen.com

TED

Gregg Hardcopy

Recommended 

Economist Style Guide


 Practice

Drill Sheets 


 

 


Links

Help with Punctuation

Parts of Speech

Mary Gates Writing Center

Odegaard Writing Center

UW Toastmasters

Exercises Online 

 


Forms

Peer Evals

Presentation Evals


 

 

Courseblog

Office Hours: 8-830 & 1030-11 T/Th or by appointment

Wedmesday, July 19, 2017

Quote of the Day:

“Howard Schultz is a champion in the bullshit space.”

After singling out the Starbucks executive chairman, she goes on to reflect that he “has provided me with more material for columns than any other executive alive or dead. Yet he is still at it, and still out-doing himself. Earlier this year, he announced that the new Starbucks Roasteries were ‘delivering an immersive, ultra-premium, coffee-forward experience.’ ”

In Kellaway’s judgment, “In this ultra-premium, jargon-forward twaddle, the only acceptable word is ‘an.’ ” (Source)

 

Tuesday, July 18, 2018

Terms you should know:

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., usually with a punchline to sum it up. 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:

 

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Dramatic News from Washington:

WASHINGTON—Faced with ongoing budget crises, underfunded schools nationwide are increasingly left with no option but to cut the past tense—a grammatical construction traditionally used to relate all actions, and states that have transpired at an earlier point in time—from their standard English and language arts programs.

A part of American school curricula for more than 200 years, the past tense was deemed by school administrators to be too expensive to keep in primary and secondary education.

"This was by no means an easy decision, but teaching our students how to conjugate verbs in a way that would allow them to describe events that have already occurred is a luxury that we can no longer afford," Phoenix-area high-school principal Sam Pennock said. "With our current budget, the past tense must unfortunately become a thing of the past."

...

Despite concerns that cutting the past-tense will prevent graduates from communicating effectively in the workplace, the home, the grocery store, church, and various other public spaces, a number of lawmakers, such as Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, have welcomed the cuts as proof that the American school system is taking a more forward-thinking approach to education.

"Our tax dollars should be spent preparing our children for the future, not for what has already happened," Hatch said at a recent press conference. "It's about time we stopped wasting everyone's time with who 'did' what or 'went' where. The past tense is, by definition, outdated."

Read on

Clips used in Class 8:

Bluto and Leadership

Otter in court

Warning label on cheese

 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Is "who" used correctly in this sentence?

The plan was hatched by “smart” Republicans like Paul Ryan, who the media never tires of painting as the wonky intellectual of the GOP.

Here's Susan Cain's TED talk:

Terms You Should Know

 

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Clips used in Classes 6 & 7

Susan Cain HBR Podcast: Introvert Power

(You can find the full podcast here.)

Kawasaki on Mantras

Cody Phillips on building team identity

 

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

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

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Terms You Should Know:

Static Sentences: Sentences or clauses in which a state verb, mainly the verb 'to be', is used as the predicate: The financial advantage is ten percent after taxes. Solution: We will save ten percent after taxes. Trick is to find the hidden verb that in the original is hiding in the phrases 'financial advantage', which really means 'save'. The verb 'to be' is useful in description, but should be avoided when trying to create an energetic, warm sentence style.

Active Voice: Any clause that uses a transitive verb and includes an actor, action, and object in that order: The carpenter hit the nail.

Passive Voice: Any clause that has an actor action and object in which the object is the subject and the actor is the object of the preposition, usually 'by': The nail was hit by the carpenter. Often the actor will be implied rather than explicitly identified as in "The nail was hit" when the prepositional phrase 'by the carpenter is just dropped.

Ambivert: Introverts who can work effectively in groups and extroverts who can work alone.

Mantra: For our purposes a phrase or slogan that verbally identifies the "crux", the energy center of a group, a project, or a business. It uses language that is brief, unique, and memorable. "Fight for the inch", "Fast, healthy, food", "Democratize design". It achieves with maximum signal and minimum noise what a mission statement usually fails to do.

Conjunctive Adverb: Like coordinating conjuctions, they connect independent clauses. Typical conjunctive adverbs are however, nevertheless, moreover, therefore, and so on. Because they are followed by a comma, they need to be preceded by a semicolon when they introduce and independent clause that comes in the middle of a sentence.

Direct Informative Message: The most common message sent in email, memo, or letter formats. They are direct because they identify their primary objective in the opening after a background statement.

Bad News Message: An indirect informative message used when conveying information that is likely to have a negative emotional impact on your audience, whether that impact is milldly disappointing or devastating. It is indirect because it postpones stating the primary objective until after the reasons for it are explained.

Parallel Structure for Lists Rule: 1. No list item should be more than one line longer than the shortest list item. 2. All list items should be syntactically similar. The verbal structure should look the same from list item to list item.

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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.

 

 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Quote of the Day: John Humphrys

If the semicolon is one of the neglected children in the family of punctuation marks these days, told to stay in its room and entertain itself, because mummy and daddy are busy, the apostrophe is the abused victim.

Weird Al on Grammar

 

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.

The mistake Hilda made was to think that her bond mutual fund account was in an IRA or 401K. If it was, she could have rolled it over into another tax-deferred account. It wasn't tax-deferred, so she had to pay taxes on the capital gains that have accumulated since she invested in the mutual fund. The IRS is penalizing her because she didn't pay the tax on capital gains.

One of the major objectives of this assignment is to show you can use emotional intelligence in your communication with Hilda. That means you have to manage your own emotions in response to her threat to sue you, but also to manage her emotions by helping her see a positive way forward.

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.

***

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 throughout 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".

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

oc2

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Friday, July 7, 2017

For those of you who would like a quick link to answer all your punctuation questions, this site is a useful one.

 

Thursday , July 6, 2017

More on Decorum:

Best way to keep problematic words correctly in mind is to memorize model sentences like the ones listed below to use as a template. It's llke learning idioms when you study a foreign language.

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 his 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.

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Clips used in Class 5

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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.

Political Correctness: Mainly, rules of behavior and speech--i.e., an etiquette--designed to minimize offense between groups with different values and worldviews that live side by side in a pluralistic society. Political correctness rules are generally resented by legacy groups that feel they should be playing a dominant role in the society and that others should adopt their legacy attitudes and behaviors, and resent giving equal status to groups they consider outsiders or newcomers. There is some room for disagreement where to draw the line between legitimate frank speech and speech that is obsessively overconstrained for fear of giving the least offense. Common sense and common decency should govern what is appropirate, but often does not.

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.

 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Is this sentence correct?

In the season 2 opener, a convalescing Carrie and Congressman Brody must reckon with who they really are.

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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.

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.

memcurv

Practical Wisdom: The ability to use common sense to get things done in dealing with people within the social systems they inhabit. Practical wisdom is street smarts. Uses both EQ and SQ. Someone with practical wisdom, says Heinrich, is known for his track record in getting things done, knows when to bend the rules, and knows how to present his solutions as taking a sensible middle course.

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, so another undesirable but necessary course of action must be taken.

 

Clip used in Classes 4:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Whoever at the Office:

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Clips used in Class 3

Terms You Should Know:

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.

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'.

 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

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.

***

Memo Punctilio Assignment

Analysis Hints: Use the Situation Analysis form at the top of the column to the right, 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.

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Pronoun Chart

 

 

 

Person
Nominative (subjects) Accusative (objects)

First Person

I, we

me, us

Second Person


you

you

Third Person

he, she, it they

him, her, it, them

Relative Pronoun

who, whoever

whom, whomever

 

Who/Whom: you can practice the three-step process taught in class by going here and here. Use all three steps when you practice:

    1. Bracket the dependent clause that follows the who/whom.
    2. Insert a pronoun into the dependent clause that makes it into a complete sentence.
    3. If the case of the pronoun is nominative, use who; it the case is accusative, use whom.

More on who/whom:

ghgh

(Source)

Go the source link for more on these other uses of who and whom. These rules are 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 method 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.

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Links to Class 2 movie clips:

 

Terms You Should Know:

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.

Extrinsic motivation: Carrots and sticks, desire and fear--the promise of reward or the threat of punishment from a source outside of oneself. Extrinsic because you need some kind of external positive or negative stimulation to motivate you to act.

Intrinsic motivation: Autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Intrinsic because they are motivators that arise from within the person without external stimulation. Intrinsically motivated people do what they do because they have an internal drive that works independently from the crowd, that wants to improve their skills, or because of ideals or internal desires that are meaningful to them.

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.

Commonplace: values of a community summarized in ideas, often stereotypes and cliches, that everybody within a particular group accepts as true without thinking about it. Examples: Snails are slow. 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.

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.

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'.

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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.

 

 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dan Pink video clip on motivation to be watched for homework and discussion in Class 2:

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Terms you should know:

Ethos--the values world that shape what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior and attitudes. One is ethical or unethical, admired for ones virtues, or shamed for one's vices depending on the ethos of a group. What is virtue for the mafioso is vice for the law-abiding citizen.

Commonplace--values and 'truth' accepted by a community without question or critical analysis. It's just true that the early bird gets the worm, right?

Style--The lens through which the substance of your message is projected. Ideally it should enhance the effectiveness of your message, but often it distorts and obscures it.

Yin--a style that is cool, indirect, subtle, complex, sometimes mysterious or seductive. It's the jazz musician with the soft voice and the mirror sunglasses. Academic style has a bias toward the yin.

Yang--a style that is warm, direct, obvious, accessible. It has strong signal and minimal noise. It's the drill seargeant shouting at a recruit. Business style has a bias toward the yang.

Analysis--Breaking a big issue down to understand it better in its constituent parts.

Synthesis--Pulling together the parts into an integrated whole. Connecting the dots.

Exposition--Content in a message that is primarily informational, the facts without interpreting them. 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 or any time you get a satisfying answer to a question or solution for a problem. It's when you see the pattern that connects the dots.

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.

 

June 12, 2017

Welcome to Strategic Communications for Summer Quarter 2017. 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 week before classes begin to get all the relevant links updated, but you can explore 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

Content, Clarity, Correctness

 

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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