Looking for Fun Examples!

This Spring, I will be teaching Business Communications and Interpersonal Communications. I am very excited about both of these courses!

I am looking for clips as well as articles and books that highlight topics in both courses. For example, in Business Communications, I discuss getting a job. I found a great Caesar Millan article about his career path and how he used his past experiences to get him where he is today (the thing I like about the article is that Millan is one of those success stories that involve the whole process of yucky jobs to good jobs to vision; too many times, students think that life is going to be "I write a story which catapults me to fame"; it does happen; it just doesn't happen very often).

I would be interested in any suggestions! (And writing this list helps me brainstorm as well.)

Here are specific instances where a clip or article/interview, etc. would enhance the material (including examples I've already come up with):

Business Communications
  • Finding the right job (Dead Like Me actually has some funny clips about this)
  • Bad interviewing techniques and good ones (ditto)
  • Relating to good bosses and to bad bosses
  • Being a good or bad team member
  • Good or bad meetings (Big Bang Theory and Stargate: Atlantis both supply good examples of bad meetings--they are easier, and more fun, to televise than good meetings)
  • Conflict resolution
  • Good or bad reports/memos
  • Doing research on the job (investigation)
  • Arguing in favor of a new business plan, new business, new way to advertise (thanks to Eugene for the clip from Other People's Money)
  • Speaking before an audience: good and bad examples (I have one very funny example from Home Improvement where Tim dresses like a woman to help Jill prepare a speech)
For Business Ethics, I'm using The Apartment (Jack Lemmon and Shirley McClaine plus the awesome Fred McMurray; how could such a nice guy be so slimy!)

Interpersonal Communications
  • Communication complications (communication isn't just one person talking, the other person listening; the speaker is getting feedback from the listener at all times--I have a great example from Law & Order where the detectives go to tell a mother that her child is ill, and Logan gets progressively more upset because the mother isn't responding normally)
  • Roles that people adopt and how those roles change the way they communicate (think code-switching)
  • How perceptions affect how we communicate--how we bring assumptions to a conversation (this doesn't have to be a negative thing; people should bring their knowledge and previous experiences to a conversation)
  • Bad versus good stereotypes (the textbook calls it categorizing versus stereotyping; eh, tomate-o, tomah-to)
  • Negative versus good ways to handle emotions
  • Non-verbal communication (uh, I won't be using Lie to Me; the textbook argues that people who use Lie to Me techniques are usually WORSE at spotting deception than people who don't because they fail to pick up on verbal cues; I'm afraid I agree)
  • Use of language to establish convergence (match one's speech patterns to others--people in cliques do this)
  • Use of language to establish divergence (where speakers use speech patterns to set themselves apart from others)
  • Communication differences!
Cultural differences (I have a great Miss Manners letter that I'm going to use here)
Gender differences (so . . . a clip from every "married-people" sitcom ever made)
How children communicate
How teenagers communicate (badly?)
  • Improving Communication!
Creating a positive communication environment
Disclosing information--when it is good, when it is bad
Listening--ineffective versus effective
Listening responses: mirroring, prompting, asking questions, paraphrasing, supporting
It may sound dopier than it actually is. A surprising number of students are freaked out by this course (which is a required elective--an elective that is required for some, but not all, majors), and I want to make it as much a practical experience for all personality types as possible (rather than some kind of "I'm going to turn you all into camp counselors!" ordeal). Here's how people communicate--here's what you can do about it (in a reasonably productive way): that's my approach.


Eugene said...

Great motivational moments: the Saint Crispin's Day speech. Shakespeare herein anticipates the self-help movement by a couple of centuries.

      All things are ready, if our minds be so.

      Perish the man whose mind is backward now!

Positive thinking will help you defeat the French!

Another good example is the night before, when King Henry puts on a disguise and argues with a couple of foot soldiers on their terms rather than appealing to his authority.

Dan said...


Take a look at this interview with Curtis Lebaron who is now a Professor of Organizational Behavior at BYU. Curt was a member of the BYU 39th ward while I, Eugene, you and maybe even Henry were there. My how time flies!