Communication Perceptions and Assumptions Assignment

You may already have been told on more than one occasion that employers are looking for people who have good communication skills. What does this mean, exactly? When signing up for this class, what did you think was meant by the communication piece? Do you consider yourself a good communicator?

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Students often tell me they’ve given “lots of presentations,” so they feel comfortable communicating. Really? What, exactly, were you communicating? Who were you communicating to? What was the objective of your communication? Was your communication effective?

The purpose of this assignment is to introduce you to common assumptions we make when communicating with each other. Keep in mind that there is both explicit (obvious) and implicit (not obvious) components to communicating. I challenge you to identify these different components within this assignment.

THE ASSIGNMENT

Complete the entire assignment before posting your initial response in the Discussion forum.

Part I:

Please watch the ~10 minute TED Talk video below, and address the following while watching:

1. Before you begin, explain whether or not the simple fact of watching a TED Talk imparts a bias on your perception of the information you are going to hear.

2. Monitor your reaction to the speaker throughout the presentation. Make sure to pay attention to your reaction before the presentation begins (when the speaker appears) as well as during the presentation. Describe your reactions and explain why you reacted in this manner. You may want/need to watch the video more than once.

3. Finally, how do you interpret the purpose and effectiveness of this presentation? Explain, keeping in mind the purpose of this assignment.

TED Talk

Part II:

The following link will take you to the Gender Action Portal (GAP), which is “a collection of research evaluating the impact of specific policies, strategies, and organizational practices to advance gender equity.” Read the Introduction (and other components if you like). Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page to see Related GAP Studies. I suggest viewing the STEM or Bias categories. Choose one additional topic to read about.

https://gap.hks.harvard.edu/how-gender-and-race-stereotypes-impact-advancement-scholars-stem-professors-biased-evaluations

1. Comment on one fact you read from the website that surprised you. Alternatively, you may comment on one fact you read that you may have experienced personally.

2. While focus is often placed on written or spoken communication skills, it is important to understand the unintentional means by which communication occurs and the significant ramifications that can result. Why do you think I have chosen this website for you to examine as part of this assignment? In other words, what do the articles on this website have to do with communication?

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