Jack Whelan's Strategic Communications Site

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Office Hours: Mon 4-5; Friday 1-3

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Courseblog

Wednesday, April 21, 2014

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: ABBA pattern that often creates a clever antithesis. "You can take boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy.

Anadiplosis: AB BC CD, etc. We saw a ridiculous example in the Animal House clip, but it can be used to make a more serious point, too:

Watch your thoughts, they 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.

Here's another example:

 

Seahawk Anadiplosis

"The front page of the Denver Post website put it this way: “For Super Bowl starters, the Broncos suffered from a horrific case of stage fright. Jitters turned to panic. Panic leaked to disaster. Disaster became humiliation.” That’s a good start, but the Post’s list of sad Super Bowl nouns doesn’t quite capture the misery of Sunday night’s Broncos catastrophe. Humiliation turned into deep, unending despair. Deep, unending despair became profound emptiness. Profound emptiness transformed into convulsive sobs. Then the Seahawks scored again, and it was only the third quarter. Later, there were locusts." (Source)

***

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

Article of the Day: "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?

 

Wednesday, April 16, 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."

 

***

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.

 ***

Clips used in Class 5:

Monday, April 14, 2014

More on Decorum:

Terms you should know--

Coordinating Conjunctions: The seven conjunctions: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so--or FANBOYS. Use them with a comma to join two independent clauses.

Oxford Comma: The comma used to set off the item in a list that precedes the 'and' before the last item in the list. (e.g., the comma that follows 'oranges' in the following list: apples, oranges, and grapes.

Forensic, Demonstrative, and Deliberative Arguments: Forensic is the argument that focuses on marshalling evidence from the past. Demonstrative focuse on the values and beliefs we hold now in the present, and Deliberative focuses on weighing a choice about a course of action that will take us into the future. Pacino is demonstrative when he is trying to build team identity around the core value of fighting for the inch, and deliberative when focusing his team on the choice to stay in hell or climb to the light, to come together as a team or die alone.

Practical Wisdom: Street smarts. The leadership capablity that gets things done in the real world.

Reluctant Conclusion: A tool used when you have to tell an audience something it doesn't want to hear. You start off aligning yourself with the hopes of your audience, then you start preseenting evidence that shows that the hoped-for outcome is unattainable.

Clips used in Class 5:

 

Friday, April 11, 2014

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 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.

As I laid it out in class, 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'.

 

Thursday, April 10, 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--

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.

Clips shown in Class 4:

Vinnie in the Courtroom

 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Clips used in Class 3

Terms You Should Know:

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.

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.

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 3, 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.

***

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.

***

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.

***

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 an apparent 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.

***

Wednesday, April 2, 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:

Tuesday, April1, 2014

Dan Pink video clip on motivation watched in Class 1:

 

March 26, 2014

Welcome to Strategic Communications for Spring 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 3

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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