MGC Communicating Business Decisions
Module II Speaking, Writing, Teamwork
1. Course Description and Learning Objectives
2. Relationship to other Courses at the Simon School
3. Communication and Office Hours
4. Textbooks and Required Material
5. Assignments, Case Studies, or Projects
6. Evaluation and Grading
7. Class Specifics
8. Course Schedule/Roadmap
Course Description and Learning Objectives
Communicating Business Decisions is a practical course with a singular aim: to strengthen communication skill. Its design rests on two assumptions. First, for a person to improve as a communicator, instruction must be individualized, based on repeated opportunities for practice and feedback. To create this condition MGC breaks from traditional business school conventions. It requires only single-author writing projects, convenes small groups in conference room settings for individual presentations, and employs an action-based workshop format for developing team management skills.
The second assumption is that the qualities of effective communication are largely known to members of an MBA community based on their experience, and that tapping this knowledge is a key to maximizing learning. To capitalize on this the course is structured for participation: lecture/discussion of communication concepts comprises approximately 20% of the course; practice in speaking, writing and teamwork, in which you will play teaching as well as learning roles, comprise the rest. In Module II you will experience three rounds of individual writing, two rounds of solo speaking, and one team project presentation, and within each, give and receive feedback. In sum, Communicating Business Decisions is personally oriented, practice-based and thoroughly participatory.
Relationship to Other Simon School Courses
MGC Module II assignment material is drawn from four Simon MBA Core courses: STR 401, ACC 401, FIN 402, and MKT 402; and the business press. For some projects specific cases will be assigned; for others you’ll have a degree of choice about material. Selected writing and speaking projects will focus on communicating within the FACt construct: framing problems, factoring viewpoints, explaining analysis, and advocating solutions concisely and clearly. Others will be self-assessments. Finally, you will acquire insight to how you are perceived as a team member and the tools to increase your effectiveness in collaborative projects. s
Textbooks and Required Material
While there is no required textbook for this course, I strongly recommend the two below---one to serve as your life-time go-to resource on writing, the other to serve the same purpose for presentations. Both are excellent: short, eminently practical, and cheap. Robert Bly, co-author of the business writing book is an engineer by training; he and his partner, Gary Blake, are corporate writing consultants with six books and numerous Fortune 50 clients between them. Say it With Presentations’ author, Gene Zelazny, is Director of Visual Communications, McKinsey & Company.
Gary Blake & Robert W. Bly, The Elements of Business Writing: The Essential Guide to Writing Clear, Concise Letters, Memos, Reports, Proposals, and Other Business Documents
, Longman Press, 1992.
Gene Zelazny, Say it With Presentations: How to Design and Deliver Successful Business Presentations, McGraw-Hill, 2006.
Also, for those who want a handbook for developing visual presentations, and for anyone with insecurities about rules of grammar, spelling or style, the following two books are excellent resources:
Gene Zelazny, Say it with Charts: The Executive’s Guide to Visual Communication, 4th edition.
The Essential Writer’s Companion: A Concise Guide to Writing Effectively for School, Home, or Office,
All other course reading materials will be distributed in class.
Assignment Due Dates...
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