Jack Whelan's Strategic Communications Site

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Phone: 206 261 2495

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Courseblog

June 29, 2015

Obama's Eulogy in Charleston. Some of the greatest American speeches have their roots in the rhetoric of the Black Churches in this country. Martin Luther King, Jesse Jackson, and even Malcolm X have been shaped by the vocabulary and cadences of Black preaching. Obama's speech in South Carolina is very much in that tradition, and if you're not moved by it, there's a piece missing in your soul. This language comes from a deeply felt religious faith, but you don't have to be religious (or an Obama fan) to be touched by it.

 

***

 

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:

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(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.

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'.

June 25, 2015

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.

***

Goodwin Revision

Dear Mr. Goodwin:

I am writing in response to your August 15 email questioning the $108.00 in overdraft fees charged against your account. Upon receiving your email we investigated to learn why you were charged, and we learned that a miscommunication between you and the United Oregon Bank led to the imposition of this fee.

In your email, you mentioned that you had instructed the United Oregon Bank to transfer $45,000 to your account here on August 1. It did not, however, make the transfer until August 10--which explains why on August 8 we charged your account for the overdraft.

We value your account with us, Mr. Goodwin. You have been one of our most reliable and valued customers, and we understand that miscommunications like this happen from time to time. On this occasion we are happy to refund to you the $108. But please contact United Oregon to be sure that they send future transfers on the date you specify.

Perhaps an overdraft line of credit would be appropriate if you anticipate this kind of miscommunication in the future. You might also consider consolidating your accounts in such a way as to make these transfers unnecessary.We’ll have one of our personal bankers contact you in the next week to see if we can help you to meet your banking needs in a more streamlined way.

Sincerely,

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

***

Terms You Should Know:

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'.

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?

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.

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.

Status Quo Ante: The way things were before.

***

Me, Myself, and I. "Don't say myself if you mean me or I. Me is a perfectly good and acceptable word. I think myself is misused so often because as people are speaking, they become uncertain about whether the word they want to use is me or I. They retreat into myself because they think that's correct in every circumstance." Read more.

June 23, 2015

Watch the Dan Pink video below, and be prepared to talk about the difference between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation and why intrinsic motivation is critical to any kind of highly cognitive or creative work.

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 16, 2015

Welcome to Strategic Communications for Summer 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

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Raising Sensitive Issues

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Persuasive Talk Prompt

BCMU for Artists 1

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