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Effective Workplace Communication Skills


Session Details

Course Description

Effective communication is an essential part of taking your valuable ideas from concept to reality. You may know what you want to do or what needs to be done. Now you need to communicate that to your target audience to make it happen. In this workshop you will develop writing, speaking, teamwork and interpersonal communication skills to help you realize your ideas. This workshop will help you to think strategically about your communications in the workplace setting.

We will look at a range of practices and guidelines to give you the opportunity to practise your skills, and provide you with feedback to help you strengthen them.

Note: Please be prepared to attend both sessions and do reading assignments. You will be expected to provide clear, candid, concrete and constructive feedback to your classmates in the course.

Prerequisites — Academic:

There will be a written assignment to be submitted BEFORE the course begins. You will get details about this by email shortly after you register.

Prerequisites — Technical

Access to the Internet to view selected readings, and typing skills to complete exercises.


Pre-Session Assignment

  • Write a memo describing and evaluating your previous experience in written and spoken communication.
  • Set goals for self-improvement.

Previous Experience

As you describe your background, focus primarily on communication in a business or organizational setting.

Provide enough background and detail to give a clear picture of you as a communicator.

  • Kinds of communication
  • Audiences addressed
  • Purposes
  • Include your opinion of your proficiency as a communicator in terms of strengths and weaknesses.
    • As you evaluate your strengths and weaknesses, consider these forms of feedback:
      • Direct (what people have said to you about your skills) and
      • Indirect (have you have succeeded in achieving the goals of your communication).

Goals for Self-Improvement

Set goals for yourself, and state specifically what writing and speaking skills you would like to improve in this course. Make sure the goals are attainable and realistic. (Remember, we have six hours, plus the time you are willing to devote to this between the two sessions).

Please indicate how much time you devoted to this assignment.


  • Format:
    • One to two pages
    • 400-1000 words

Criteria for grading

Strategy and Structure

  • Have you organized the memo according to the readers’ interests and needs?
  • Does the introduction provide an overview to the rest of the memo?
  • Does the conclusion provide closure to the memo?


  • Have you covered all the areas discussed above in enough detail (including examples and illustrations) to give readers a complete picture of you as a communicator?
  • Are your goals for the course specific, clear, realistic and attainable?

Document design

  • Is the format appropriate to a memo?
  • Does it highlight the structure?

General Constraints

  • 72 hours notice
  • Sparse instructions
  • 1 to 2 hour time limit recommended
  • Information to be suitable for general audience.


  1. What was your first reaction upon receiving the assignment?
  2. How do you feel about the General Constraints?
  3. How long did you devote to the exercise?
    • Thinking
      1. Analysis
      2. Planning
      3. Design
    • Content
    • Format
  4. How did you approach the task?
  5. What questions did you have about the task?
  6. Did you complete the assignment?
  7. How did you feel about the assignment when you sent it?

Session One Discussion


View MindMap


Session One Assignment

View MindMap < Media:AssignmentSession1.swf


Optional but recommended


  • Write a short memo: Communications Styles - Which are you?
    • Passive Aggressive Assertive
    • Auditory Visual Kinesthetic
    • Are you effective?
  • Review your Pre-Session Assignment
    • Write a critique.
      • What was good?
      • What could be improved?
      • Why would you believe this?

Communications Log

  • What Communication
  • How long does it take?
    • How long to analyse?
    • How long to prepare?
    • Results?

Session Two Discussion


View MindMap


Who What When Where Why

View MindMap



View MindMap Media:How.swf

Lewis Cross Cultural Communications Model


In the table below, you will see three cultural templates. Read down the list of characteristics for each and choose those traits that you identify with. Then total up the number in each column. Your preferred cultural style is the one with the highest score.

The Lewis Cross Cultural Communication Survey

- Shows the Characteristics of Each Cultural Type -

Talks half the time Talks most of the time Listens most of the time
Gets data from stats, research Solicits information first-hand from people Uses both data and people sources
Plans ahead step by step Plans grand outline only Looks at general principles
Polite but direct Emotional Polite and indirect
Partly conceals feelings Displays feelings Conceals feelings
Confronts with logic Confronts emotionally Never confronts
Dislikes losing face Has good excuses Must not lose face
Compartmentalizes projects Lets one project influence another Sees the whole picture
Rarely interrupts Often interrupts Doesn't interrupt
Job-oriented People-oriented Very people-oriented
Sticks to the facts Juggles the facts Statements are promises
Truth before diplomacy Flexible truth Diplomacy over truth
Sometimes impatient Impatient Patient
Limited body language Unlimited body language Subtle body language
Respects officialdom Pulls strings Networks
Separates the social & professional Interweaves the social & professional Connects the social & professional
Does one thing at a time Multi tasks Reacts to partner's action
Punctuality very important Punctuality not important Punctuality important


Final Assignment

At the end of the course, you will write another memo reporting your progress against your goals.


No More Useless Meetings

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