Communication in the workplace

Here'a a great little article on what not to do in the workplace with much on communication.


Wedding Ritual

An interesting letter to Dear Abby stimulated a wonderful response. The writer laments the ritual at some weddings of the bride and groom stuffing cake into each other’s face. Abby then cites Curious Customs by Tad Tuleja and argues that this is a four-step ritual that “sustains masculine prerogatives in the very act of supposedly subverting them.” This ritual, Abby argues, “may be seen as a dramatization of the tensions in favor of the dominance of the male.” The letter and the response is likely to generate some great class discussion on rituals, weddings, and male-female relationships.


Here is a super article on shyness by Susan Cain. Among the interesting points Cain makes is that shyness is not only normal but it "may be essential to the survival of the species." Cain argues that instead of encouraging normal people who are shy to view themselves as ill, we need to learn to appreciate the values that shyness brings to our culture and our species. The article is a wonderful supplement to the material we have in our textbooks.


College Rankings

Here's an excellent blog post on college rankings.


Conflict resolution

I'm pleased to say that The Communication Blog is included in the top 50 conflict resolution blogs--see link below to Top Blog. Although a commercial site, there is much here that is free and useful to communication instructors and students.

Communication Strategies: How to avoid ageist talk

Although used mainly to refer to prejudice against older people, the word ageism can also refer to prejudice against other age groups. For example, if you describe all teenagers as selfish and undependable, you’re discriminating against a group purely because of their age, and thus are ageist in your statements. Individual ageism is seen in the general disrespect many show toward older people and in negative stereotypes about older people. Institutional ageism is seen in mandatory retirement laws and age restrictions in certain occupations (as opposed to requirements based on demonstrated competence). In less obvious forms, ageism is seen in the media’s portrayal of old people as incompetent, complaining, and, perhaps most clearly evidenced in both television and films, without romantic feelings or sexual desires. Rarely, for example, does a TV show or film show older people working productively, being cooperative and pleasant, and engaging in romantic and sexual relationships. An excellent and welcomed exception is the gay relationship between Saul Holden (Ron Rifkin) and Jonathan Byrold (Richard Chamberlain) on Brothers and Sisters.


Body Language

The second edition of Shelly Hagen's The Everything Body Language Book has recently been published. I had the privilege of serving as "technical reviewer." I think both students and instructors will find it an interesting read.

College rankings

Here's an interesting article posted on an interesting blog that you might be interested in.


Isn’t It Time?

With the recent display of ignorance of the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence demonstrated by Michele Bachmann, John Boehner, Herman Cain, and Sarah Palin—admittedly all Republicans but that’s really immaterial (I’m sure there are Democrats who fall into the
same category), isn’t it time for the voters to demand that candidates running for political office at least know what’s in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and have some basic knowledge of United States and world history? How about a simple test—constructed by a bipartisan group of history and political science professors—that candidates would have to take? There need not be a pass or fail or even a grade assigned, but the questions and the candidates’ answers would be published for all to see. Don’t we as voters have a right to know what these candidates know and what they don’t know? We demand that accountants, doctors, police officers, lawyers, and a host of other professional people in this country take tests as part of their admission to their jobs.  Why shouldn’t we expect that of politicians as well? Then, the voters—after reading their responses—can make up their own minds as to whether or not they wish to vote for them.
     It’s a simple idea that might even encourage candidates to actually read the Constitution, for example, and to brush up on United States history. More important, it would weed out people who are simply unqualified to hold political office.


Communication Strategies: How to avoid talking like a racist

According to Andrea Rich “any language that, through a conscious or unconscious attempt by the user, places a particular racial or ethnic group in an inferior position is racist.” Racist language expresses racist attitudes. It also, however, contributes to the development of racist attitudes in those who use or hear the language. Even when racism is subtle, unintentional, or even unconscious, its effects are systematically damaging. Here is an all-too-brief consideration of some of the ways we might talk about race without offending others.