Management Communication – Fall, 2006


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Management Communication – Fall, 2006

  1. 1. Management Communication – Fall, 2006 B45.2100.01 September 6 – October 18; no class on Monday, Oct. 9. MW, 3 – 4:20 PM, KMC 2-80 Course Site found at Professor Patricia Bower Office: Tisch 701-A Phone: 212-998-0085 Email: Office Hours: Tues. 4 – 5:30 PM, Wed. 4:30 – 6 PM, and by appointment Teaching Fellow: TBA Course Overview Effective Communication is a vital component to so many aspects of business life. From investment banking to marketing, from entrepreneurship to corporate planning, understanding the techniques of business communication will be an invaluable addition to every Stern student’s portfolio of knowledge. This course is a highly-interactive and participative experience that introduces the basics of business communication strategy and delivery. Deliverables will include written documents and oral presentations based on cases or research related to your own areas of interest. You will present both individually and in a team and will receive feedback to improve your presentation effectiveness. In the final team presentation, you will craft an oral presentation that will persuade your audience to accept your strategic recommendations. By doing this, you will see how ideas, data and advocacy are combined for a professional, persuasive presentation. Pre-Work 1.) Read Guide to Managerial Communication, Chapters 1 and 2 2.) Read the Memtech Case Study (found on Blackboard) and be prepared to discuss it in the first class. Two writing assignments will be based on this case, but for now, simply be prepared to discuss the communication issues it raises. 3.) Complete the short Student Information Sheet (on Bb) and post it to Bb “Assignments” Required Materials and Texts • Munter, Mary, Guide to Managerial Communication, 7th Edition. Prentice Hall, 2005. Available in the NYU Professional Bookstore. • SEC, A Plain English Handbook – available online at: handbook.htm. Link also available on Bb in “Course Documents.”
  2. 2. Grading Your final grade will be based on both class participation and your completion of the following assignments: Item Description Due date Weight 1 Benchmark Presentation (Individual) 9/11/06 * 2 Memtech Case Study Memo #1 (Individual) 9/13/06 * 3 Self-Evaluations of streaming video after each 9/13; 9/20; * presentation posted to team discussion boards 10/11 4 Informative Presentation (Team) 9/18/06 15 % 5 Memtech Case Study Memo #2 (Individual) 9/20/06 10 % 6 Seated Slide-deck Presentation (Individual) 10/4/06 15 % 7 Performance on Final Project (Individual) 10/18/06 10 % Performance on Final Project (Team) 10/18/06 20 % 8 Final Short Report (Individual) 10/25/06 15 % 9 Participation (includes * items above, 15 % attendance, and discussion in class) Letter grades are assigned to each assignment based on criteria provided in class. Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 2
  3. 3. 1. Benchmark Presentation (Individual) Goal Benchmark your presentation skills and begin to get comfortable presenting in the course. Task Prepare a 3-minute “benchmark” oral presentation. Choose one of the following topics: • Tell us about the best or worst business advice you ever received. • Describe an event at work that involved a communication breakdown. • Share why you have chosen to do your MBA • Share what you hope to do after you receive your MBA Deliverable You will deliver your presentation in Session Two. It will be videotaped for your benefit, but not graded. It is a portion of your participation grade. You may deliver from notes, if necessary, but don’t plan to use PowerPoint slides for this presentation. Focus on communicating with your audience. 2. Memtech Memo #1: Writing Benchmark (Individual) Goal: Benchmark your business writing skills and begin to understand the principles of effective communication and persuasion in a work-related setting. Task Assume that you are Lee Brown. Compose a memo to Mary that outlines a communication strategy she can “act on” (see “Memtech” case posted on Bb). For the purpose of this assignment, create a hard copy memo—keeping in mind that an effective email is simply a standard memo delivered electronically. In the company setting, Lee’s message would most likely be sent as electronic text. Post your memo to Blackboard “Assignments” before Session Three. Please use your own name when naming your file (e.g., “Smith Memtech1”). Also, put your own name in a header or footer on the actual document. Bring three (3) hard copies of your memo when you come to class in Session Three. You will submit one copy to your professor and use the others for an in-class peer review exercise. 3. Video Self-Evaluations (Individual) Goal Analyze your strengths and weaknesses in presentations throughout the course. Tasks Read “How to Review Your Streaming Video” (available in “Course Documents” on Bb.) After you have watched your video, post a message to your team discussion board (visible to your team, the TF, and your professor) sharing what went well, what did not go well, and what goals you have for your next presentation. Comment on other team members’ reflections and use this to build both your presentation skills as well as your skills in giving and receiving feedback. (see next page) Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 3
  4. 4. Deliverables Post your completed self- and peer-evaluations before the start of the class following each of your in-class presentations. Try to be a specific as possible in your assessment—both to enhance your own development as well as help your peers develop their skills. 4. Informative Presentation (Team) Goal: Apply and hone the skills of design and delivery of an informative message in a business team setting. Tasks: 1. Review Guide to Managerial Communication, chapters 5 and 6. 2. Select an industry or sector and prepare a 10-minute informative presentation about the sector. Select a sector that’s broad enough to have several firms but not so broad that it is hard to be specific with your information 3. Depending on your personal professional objectives, choose one of the following audiences and objectives for your presentation:  A team of financial services executives who follow other sectors but are less familiar with this sector. Your objective is to let them know about trends in the sector.  An investment banking firm that needs your analysis to help them pitch a particular firm for acquisition. Your objective, in this instance, is not to sell any particular firm, but rather to offer an analysis of its market and financial potential to a specific buyer.  An internal marketing group interested in product or marketing trends in a particular industry.  A group of VCs who want to learn more about trends in an emerging technology. Your objective is not to pitch a new venture, but rather, to let the VCs know what current research reveals about a new technology that could lead to profitability if effectively leveraged.  Another objective and audience of your choice—with your professor’s approval in advance. In all of the above cases, be very clear about your role, your specific communication objective for this presentation, and the audiences (primary and secondary) who will receive your communication. 3. Use credible public business sources to create an informative presentation for your chosen objective and audience. Deliverables:  Completion of the Presentation Planner (posted in Course Documents on Bb)  A 10-minute team presentation during Session Four.  All team members must speak.  Your visual aids must include at least two financial charts or graphs Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 4
  5. 5. 5. Memtech Case Memo #2 (Individual) Goal: Demonstrate the principles of effective business communication and persuasion through a written document. Tasks  Read Guide to Managerial Communication, Chapters 3 and 4.  Read A Plain English Handbook, produced by the SEC.  Based on our class discussion of effective business writing, revise the first memo you sent to Mary. In this revised document, include specific points that Mary can use when she communicates with her employees. To help Mary understand your recommended strategy, include in your message a short analysis of the Memtech “audience” that she must address in her communications. Your revised memo should demonstrate your understanding of the important elements of strategic communication, business writing style and structure, as well as effective document design. Deliverable Submit to your instructor a business document (two pages max.) from Lee Brown to Mary Thompson. For the purpose of this assignment, create a hard copy memo—keeping in mind that an effective email is simply a standard memo delivered electronically. At the end of your document, on a separate page, append a screen snapshot of your readability statistics. These can be found if you go to “Tools” in MS Word → “Spelling and Grammar,” → “Options” → check readability statistics. Then, after you run the spell check, a screen will automatically appear that lists your readability statistics. Hit “Print Screen” on your keyboard and the image will save to your clipboard. Add a new page to your document and then, Paste. Create one document that contains both of the parts mentioned above: memo and readability statistics. Again, please use your own name when naming your file (e.g., “Smith Memtech2”). Also, put your own name in a header or footer on the actual document. Post your document to the “Assignments” section of Blackboard before Session Five. Your document will be evaluated and returned to you. Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 5
  6. 6. 6. Informal Seated Slide-Deck Presentation (Individual) Goal Focus your practice on the non-verbal, verbal, and vocal qualities of a business presentation in an informal simulated setting. Task Select an informative or persuasive topic which you might typically be expected to present on to a small group of colleagues. Again, depending on your interests, you may select any topic with instructor approval. Choose a topic related to your main field of interest, if possible— keeping in mind that you want to focus on the strategic aspects of presentation organization, visual design, and delivery, not on doing extensive research. Create a presentation to deliver in a conference room to a group of your peers. You will be filmed and will review your presentation video to determine how you are progressing toward personal goals in the course. (As an option you may schedule a time to review the video with the professor or teaching fellow if you wish.) Deliverables • An 8-minute presentation (including about 2 minutes of Q/A) during Session Nine. • You will determine who your “audience” is intended to be and should provide a short briefing to your group before your presentation begins. • Your slide deck must include at least two financial charts or graphs which you create yourself to support your message. • Use a flip-book or laptop computer to deliver your presentation. • Print out five copies of your slide deck (as well as appendices or handouts if you wish) and bring them with you to class. One copy will go to your professor. 7. Final Presentation (Team and Individual) Goal Apply the course principles for effective presentations to a specific business situation. Tasks: Choose one of the following options: Option one Choose a firm within the sector you presented on for your Team Informative Presentation in Session Four. Determine a specific approach your team will take for the firm; select audience and intent appropriate for your approach; prepare a team presentation to persuade your chosen audience to accept your recommendations. Some possible approaches and intents include:  Consulting – recommend to senior management how to redirect a firm’s strategy  Financial Services – recommend to investors why to invest in a firm  Entrepreneurship—pitch a specific business idea to Venture Capitalists  Marketing – suggest to a firm how to respond to a competitive issue; or pitch a new marketing plan for an existing product; or pitch a new product not yet under development Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 6
  7. 7.  Global Business – provide strategic direction for a firm’s global expansion Option two Use a case that you are studying in another class. Depending on the case  Determine a specific approach your team will take for the firm.  Select an audience and intent appropriate for your approach.  Prepare a team presentation to persuade your chosen audience to accept your recommendations. In all of the above cases, be very clear about your role, your specific communication objective for this presentation, and the audiences (primary and secondary) who will receive your communication. Deliverables  Team presentation lasting 20 minutes, which includes about 5 minutes of questions/answers. All team members must speak.  2 copies of slide deck printed out (one for the TF and another for the professor).  Presentation times and speaking order will be assigned. Preparation Each team will have an opportunity to schedule a private meeting with the professor to discuss final presentation strategy, organization and design. These meetings will substitute for class on Monday, October 16. A schedule will be set during earlier class sessions. Presentation reminders  Organize your presentation so that you can effectively and efficiently communicate your key messages in the allotted time.  Remember to provide a preview of the presentation in the opening.  Employ visual aids that enhance and support your message.  Use graphs and charts in your PowerPoint presentation to communicate quantitative data clearly and visually.  Expect questions to come at any time in your presentation and prepare for them.  Have back-up data available to answer specific questions, if necessary. Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 7
  8. 8. 8. Final Short Report (Individual) Goal Synthesize all that we’ve learned about effective communication applying course principles in your own workplace. Tasks Write a short, (2 pages maximum) individual report that outlines the strategy you presented in your Final Team Presentation. Depending on the specific audience/receiver(s) of this report: 1. Write an internal memorandum-report to a specific audience 2. Write a short report with a cover letter to an external audience. Reminders  Be sure to organize the document effectively, attend to professional business writing style, and employ effective formatting. Please single-space.  Although addressed to the specific audience as noted above, submit the report to your professor via Blackboard “Assignments” by the due date on page 2. As always, please use your own name when naming your file (e.g., “Smith Final Report”). Also, put your own name in a header or footer on the actual document. 9. Attendance and Participation (Individual) Goal To recognize and compensate you for the value of contributions brought to the class and to your team. Components Simply attending class is not participation. The following items are expected of all students in the course. Your thorough completion of the following will factor into the participation portion of your grade:  Punctual attendance at all 12 class sessions  Active participation in course content and case discussions  Considerate but realistic participation in colleagues’ presentations as an engaged member of the “mock audience”  Participation in team and paired assignments  Completion of the self- and peer-video evaluations on Blackboard Discussion Board  Timely submission of assignments, as instructed. Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 8
  9. 9. Management Communication Agenda Pre-work Read: Memtech Case Read: Guide to Managerial Communication, Chapters 1 and 2. Submit: Student Information Sheet to Bb “Assignments” 1. 9/6/06 Course Overview and Objectives Principles of Communication Strategy: Memtech Case Discussion 2. 9/11/06 Individual Benchmark Presentations Delivery Techniques 3. 9/13/06 Business Writing 4. 9/18/06 Informative Team Presentation Effective Visual Design 5. 9/20/06 Informal Business and Interpersonal Communication 6. 9/25/06 Visual Design Exercises 7. 9/27/06 Principles of Persuasion Introduction to Seated Presentations 8. 10/2/06 Dealing with Questions; Impromptu Presentations 9. 10/4/06 Individual Seated slide-deck presentation 10/9/06 No class—Columbus Day 10. 10/11/06 Handling Challenging Questions—in-class exercise 11. 10/16/06 Preparation for Final Presentation: conferences with professor 12. 10/18/06 Final Team Final Presentations – (3 at 20 minutes each) 13. 10/25/06 Final Paper due Fall 2006 Management Communication, Professor Bower Page 9