Jack Whelan's Strategic Communications Site


Office: Paccar 529

Phone: 206 261 2495

Office Hours: M: 4-530; W: 4-530

Email Me

UW Syllabus

EWU Syllabus


"Why Won't They Listen"

Team Performance

"Building the Emotional Intelligence of Groups"

Westen on Emotion

"The Power of Talk"

Husky Career Center

Academic Calendar



Letters of Note


Bag News Notes


Woe is I


Thank You for Arguing

Silva Rhetoricae

Logical Fallacies

Figaro Website

Presentation Zen



Gregg Hardcopy


Economist Style Guide


Drill Sheets 




Help with Punctuation

Parts of Speech

Mary Gates Writing Center

Odegaard Writing Center

UW Toastmasters

Exercises Online 



Peer Evals

Presentation Evals




May 21, 2015

Some other highlight reels that might be worth watching:

Fall 2014 Highlight Reel

Winter 2015 Highlight Reel


Sites for free images:

Google images





You can also use your own photos and video.


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.


Interesting article in NY Times about entrepreneurial failure. Perhaps you ought to consider bragging about your failures in your pitch to enhance your credibility with investors.

[Dr. Michael A. Freeman, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco,] says failure has been “significantly destigmatized” on a cultural level in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, even though on an individual level it can still be painful to endure.

With researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, he is now conducting a study on failure and success among entrepreneurs. “We are getting a billion dollars a month of new investor money coming into the region,” says Dr. Freeman, a co-founder of a nonprofit and a start-up. “If you fail, some investors believe that you’ve got the guts to take it to the mat. That you’re not personally going to be so damaged by adversity as to lose your persistence in business. That you’ll fight.”


Tueday, May 19, 2015

Midterm review in Paccar 391 Wednesday 4-5+

Midterm Study Tips

  1. Be familiar with these film clips
  2. Use the study guide!
  3. Review material presented on course website, particularly "Terms You Should Know".
  4. Be prepared for skill questions: passive voice identifying & flipping; rewriting wordy, static sentences; situation analysis; who/whom.
  5. Be prepared for concept questions: e.g., key phrase associated with ‘proactive’. Review coursepack and slides.
  6. PTO questions:Mainly correct usage mistakes. Review 'verbal abuse', 'comma sutra' & ‘saying is believing’.
  7. presentation zen--especially stuff emphasized in class. Know what a slideument is, for instance.

Clips shown in Class 14

Hans Rosling 1

Hans Rosling 2

Nancy Duarte on slide preparation


Steve Ballmer


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Zen aesthetic not a strong suit at Microsoft: Here's a funny clip about what it would be like if Microsoft redesigned the iPod packaging:


Terms You Should Know:

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: "I am not a destroyer of companies; I am a liberator of them."


Some interesting groundbreaking slide-show styles:

Dick Hardt, "Identity 2.0"

Lawrence Lessig, "Free Culture"


Here are some clips of students doing parts of the business plan presentation. None of these will be flawless, but each has virtues that I hope you can learn from.


Establishing Need

Meeting the Need

Market Strategy

Talking Money

Investor Pitch


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:



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.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Highlight Reel shown in Class 12

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.

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

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.]

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.



David Brooks on the importance of soft skills in a future shaped by artificial intelligence:

In the age of smart machines, we’re not human because we have big brains. We’re human because we have social skills, emotional capacities and moral intuitions. I could paint two divergent A.I. futures, one deeply humanistic, and one soullessly utilitarian.

In the humanistic one, machines liberate us from mental drudgery so we can focus on higher and happier things. In this future, differences in innate I.Q. are less important. Everybody has Google on their phones so having a great memory or the ability to calculate with big numbers doesn’t help as much.

In this future, there is increasing emphasis on personal and moral faculties: being likable, industrious, trustworthy and affectionate. People are evaluated more on these traits, which supplement machine thinking, and not the rote ones that duplicate it.

Read the rest of the article if you want to know his ideas about the other soullessly utilitarian future.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quiz 4 and (Quiz 2 for EWU students) will focus first on passive voice identification and flipping passives and actives similaraly to quiz 3. I will also ask you to identify figures of speech that I've talked about in class and I will expect you to be able to identify them with the names given to them in Greek, Latin, English, or whatever. There will probably be a question from the chapters you should have read by class 11 in the Garr Reynolds book, Presentation Zen.


Yes We Can. In class 11, 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:


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Simon Sinek's Golden Circle:



Quote of the Day: Joel Garfinkle

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.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

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:

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

As background for the Gordon Gecko speech, I just came across this 2012 Stephen Colbert interview with Jennifer Burns, a Stanford history professor who wrote a biography of Ayn Rand entitled Goddess of the Market. I think you'll see why the Gecko speech comes out of what I described in class as the Ayn Rand playbook:

Clips used in Class 9:

Warning label on cheese

Jason Street sells Joe a truck

Bush as genius of the "identity strategy":

Terms you should be familiar with:

Rhetorical Frame: It's the dominant ideas, values or emotional framework within which a persuasive message is presented. 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.

Identity Strategy: Deployed when goal is to win over your audience by using ethos-centric rhetorical techniques designed to show the audience that you are one of them, that you can be trusted, that your values align wih their values. It uses tribal language, code grooming (shibboleths, dog whistle language, etc.)

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.

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.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Weird Al on Grammar



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.

Here's another link with information about Remote Area Medical in Seattle this past weekend.


Terms you should be familiar with:

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.

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:




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.


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.

Winter 2013

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



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Here's Susan Cain's TED talk:



Clips used in Class 8

Gecko Greed speech

Warning label on cheese

Susan Cain Podcast: Introvert Power


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


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


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.


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".


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.”


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"


Friday, April 17, 2015

Is the use of 'who' correct here:

In stark contrast to Mill, who we discussed last week as a key figure in the articulation of libertarianism, Hayek does not begin his analysis with a condemnation of the “tyranny” of tradition and custom.

Is the dependent clause introduced by the 'who' restrictive or non-restrictive?


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".


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



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.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

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 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.

Jim Collins on developing consensus:


Clips shown in Class 6:

Cody Phillips on building team identity

Quiz 2 is on Tuesday. Focus on Study Guide, Days 4, 5, and 6. Be prepared to correct punctuation in some sentences and to rewrite other sentences by identifying hidden verbs and creating a new active voice clauses with them.


Friday, January 23, 2015

More on Decorum:

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, April 14, 2015

More on Decorum:

Grammar Tips

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.


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.

Practical Wisdom: The ability to use common sense in dealing withpeople within the social systems they inhabit to get things done. 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.

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 used in Classes 4 & 5:


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."



Is this sentence correct?

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



Tuesday, April 7, 2014


Whomever at the Office

Speaking of who/whom, you can practices 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:



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.

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. 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'.


Thursday, April 2, 2015

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 class.

  • 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. After 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.


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:

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'.

Tactical Flaw: (Aporia, Dubitatio): Don't mix this up with "Tactical Concession." It's 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?

Static/dynamic: Polarity defined by spectrum from stable and unchanging to moving, growing, and developing.

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, they are 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, for instance, a problem arose. A reactive managment style seeks to return to it; a proactive style seeks to move beyond it.

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. It's George Clooney winning over the Danny McBride character with his lowkey persuasiveness.

Yin--a style that is cool, chill, indirect, subtle, complex, sometimes mysterious or seductive. It's the soft-spoken jazz musician with 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. It's Paul Newman threatening the nurse with a subpoena.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Links to Class 2 movie clips:

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.

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.

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.

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.


March 31, 2015

Dan Pink video clip on motivation watched in Class 1:


March 23, 2015

Welcome to Strategic Communications for Spring Quarter 2015. 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


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










Email Me