Notes on Interpersonal Communication

After giving a few recommendations to an acquaintance about my favorite online learning platform, Lynda, I recently watched one of the courses I suggested called Interpersonal Communication. This course is taught by Dorie Clark, who teaches several other business communications courses.

I don’t always take notes, but this time I took a decent amount. I am hoping that re-writing them on my blog, this will help me remember in the moment. (It also helps me throw away some of the papers piling up on my desk.)


How to Make Requests Effectively

Dig your well before you’re thirsty.

  1. Invest in favors before making them
  2. Explain the context of your request
  3. Acknowledge you’re requesting a favor. “Thank you for the favor.”
  4. Indicate where your interests are aligned
  5. Express genuine gratitude

Communicating by Phone or Email?

If it’s a boss or power broker, do they have an opinion or a preference about which they prefer? If so, choose what they prefer. Otherwise, some tips on email vs phone, and benefits of each:

Benefits of Email

  • Simple information
  • Different time zones, travel, late at night
  • Dealing with a talkative person

Benefits of Phone

  • Brainstorming or Troubleshooting
  • Emotional conversation

How to Interpret Non-Verbal Cues and What to Watch Out for In Yourself:

  • (Micro) Expressions of contempt (especially those brief expressions in yourself)
  • Open vs Closed body language
  • Check the direction of the feet; where are they pointed
  • Mismatched facial expressions

Communicating with Your Supervisor

Manage expectations by ranking projects.

Get the guidance you need

  • Have a conversation about how to have conversations. [WARNING] – This will be uncomfortable.
  • Develop an emergency plan, on what to do when your supervisor cannot be reached.
  • Create an operating manual for your job.

Ask the right questions

  • What can I do that’s most helpful for you right now?
  • How can I prioritize that?
  • Do you see anything that I’m missing?

Meetings

When to speak up in meetings and when to listen

  • Listen when you don’t know the context
  • Listen when you don’t have a strong opinion
  • Speak when you have relevant experience
  • Speak if you have useful resources
  • Speak if you do have a strong opinion
  • Speak if you have key questions

Tricky Communications

Can occur in cross-cultural scenarios when some culture explain things with direct language and some use indirect. Ex: Germany (direct), the US (mostly direct), and Japan (indirect).

In addition, some cultures are very formal and others are more informal. Ex: In the US, using an honorific title like Director or Chairman to refer to someone is way too formal, but some countries it’s standard.

Reference to work done by Andy Molinsky.

Interruptions

  • Why are they interrupting?
  • Do they want more detail?
  • Is it a culture of interruptions or just one person?

Solutions

  • Talk one on one: Bob, you interrupted me 3 times. If Bob protests: I’m sure you didn’t intend it, but my impression was that you interrupted me 3 times.
  • Change the system: Talk to your manager and take note. Choose an interruption monitor for meetings. Ask meeting organizers to stop interruptions.

Responding to Critical Feedback

The most important rule is: know who to take feedback from! There are only two sources of feedback:

  1. Your boss (or client or professor).
  2. Anyone you ask for feedback.

If it’s anyone else, their opinion is not important. 

Other tips:

  • Don’t respond immediately to feedback. Give yourself time to reflect.
  • If you’re worried about negative feedback: Think of worse-case scenarios between you and your boss. Write down possible criticisms and then your solutions.

Communicating as an Introvert

The office is optimized for extroversion, but you can play to your strengths.

  • Get an agenda before the meeting and share your thoughts in written format (even before the meeting).
  • Get a friend to advocate for you, and you can advocate for an introvert.
  • Try creating talking points
  • Create challenges: Ex: “I’m going to be the first to speak up.”
  • Do more pre-work.

If you’re interested in this course, here’s an overview:

Communicating effectively isn’t an innate talent that some people have and others don’t—it’s something that anyone can learn and practice. In this course, learn strategies that can help you hone and master your interpersonal communication skills. Join personal branding and career expert Dorie Clark as she shares techniques for getting your message across effectively in the workplace, and explains how to tackle potential communication challenges with your colleagues and supervisor. She also discusses how to grapple with tricky situations, taking you through how to handle interruptions, respond to critical feedback, and communicate across cultures.

This course was released 6/13/2017 and rated “Beginner” skill level. So fairly recent and open to everyone. Also it’s only 37m 7s, so easy to fit into a day.

I saw a few more courses I didn’t know about on her author page, about how to hold yourself accountable and body language for women — also around 30 minutes. Maybe I’ll take those and write more notes.

Update to Free Skillshare Courses: Typography That Works

Not too long ago, I wrote a short post about some free Skillshare courses on typography, presented by Ellen Lupton. What I didn’t write was that for one of those classes, Typography That Works: Typographic Composition and Fonts, I did some of the projects.

Screenshot from skillshare
Typography That Works: Typographic Composition and Fonts

The assignment for this short workshop is to create a few business cards. The first card uses different layout techniques to add hierarchy, interest, and symmetry or asymmetry. The second card is a literary style business card, which looks like a paragraph of text. The third is using one word to create custom letterforms to create a business card.

The first two projects should probably be done in InDesign. The last in Illustrator or some other vector program.

I haven’t yet gotten to the third card project, but here are my first two business cards.

These cards are based on a typography and graphic design project for a business called “Madison To Go”. The business theme is “fresh”. In a previous menu project (see below), I used the font Brandon Grotesque as the body font, but the literary style card with Arno Pro looks really good. I’d have to recreate the menu with Arno Pro to see if it conveyed the same feeling.

Menu for Madison To Go

Design Courses with Ellen Lupton on Skillshare

Ellen Lupton is a curator of contemporary design at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York City and director of the Graphic Design MFA program at Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore. She is also the author of Thinking with Type, which is widely used in graphic design.

After recently browsing around on Skillshare, I discovered a few of her courses. Many are free and only around 30 min long. Here’s a short list. I haven’t taken them all, but I hope to review them sometime soon.

Typography That Works: Typographic Composition and Fonts

Screenshot from skillshare

 

 

 

Demystifying Beauty: Inspiration for Design

scrreenshot

 

 

 

 

Graphic Design Basics

Screen shot of video on scale

 

 

 

How Posters Work

Title slide for skillshare

 

 

 

 

I’m not a big fan of the Skillshare interface — for one thing, the videos autoplay when you load the page. But, these are pretty short videos, about 30 minutes, so don’t let autoplay scare you. Plus, they’re all free.

Learning about the DOM in JavaScript, jQuery, and More

A recap of my recent experience with an intermediate JavaScript course on Lynda.

Screenshot of Lynda course
Click the image to watch the preview for ‘The DOM in JavaScript, jQuery, AngularJS, and React’ on Lynda.com.

I recently finished an interesting course on the DOM and different versions of JavaScript. I liked that it was just a taste of JavaScript, jQuery, Angular, and React. It’s called The DOM in JavaScript, jQuery, AngularJS, and React. It was released in 2017.

Much of the course was focused on regular JavaScript. I’m glad I’ve spent so much time studying JavaScript, because a lot of basic things didn’t need to be explained for me in this course.

Although I know about the DOM, using HTML, this focus on the DOM using JavaScript was an interesting approach. For instance, traversing the DOM (with classes and IDs) was fun:

document.body.children[4].children[1]

This selects the 5th child of the body, then the 2nd child from that. This is almost like using CSS selectors to select parent and child elements.

One of the things I love about Lynda is that they recommend additional courses to learn more about related topics. A few courses the instructor recommended included:

  • JavaScript Essential Training
  • jQuery for Web Designers
  • Angular 2 Essential Training
  • ReactJS Essential Training

They may have updated it, but I’ve already taken the JavaScript Essentials course before, so I’ll check if the others are already on my list. Angular is past version 2 by now, but maybe it’s easier to get started with that version.