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Course Overview

Management Communication is intended to help you think strategically about communication and aid you in improving your writing, presentation, and interpersonal communication skills within a managerial setting. We will look at a set of "best practices" or guidelines that have been derived from both research and experience, give you the opportunity to put those guidelines into practice, and provide you with feedback on your work to help you strengthen your abilities. More often than not, we will be using a workshop format that will rely heavily on discussion and in-class exercises.

Course Objectives

Good communication is one of the keys to a successful career no matter what field you choose, and many different skills contribute to a professional's capacity to communicate well. The objective of 15.279 is to help you improve the ability to:

  • Formulate an effective communication strategy for any message, in any medium, and in any situation.
  • Write clearly, concisely, and convincingly.
  • Create impressive formal presentations that are delivered with confidence and poise.
  • Give and receive feedback that will improve yours and other's communication.
  • Listen for understanding.
  • Work effectively with others in small groups or teams.
  • Understand and negotiate the difference in communication between yourself and people who are not from your culture.

Improving communication is a continuous process of learning, doing, critiquing, evaluating, and doing again. It is a process that we hope will continue for you even after you complete 15.279.

Course Expectations

Because so much of the class will be "hands-on" and because feedback (ours, the TA's, and the feedback you give each other) is so important to improving writing and speaking, our expectations about our work together this semester include:

  • That you are committed to improving your professional effectiveness as a communicator.
  • That you are willing to share your opinions and ideas on topics presented in class.
  • That you will provide each other with clear, honest, concrete, and sensitive feedback on work that is done.
  • That any concept that is unclear or confusing will be challenged and examined.
  • That there are no stupid questions or comments.

Text and Materials


Amazon logo Munter, Mary. Guide to Managerial Communication. 7th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2005. ISBN: 0131467042.

Amazon logo Harvey, Gordon. Writing with Sources: A Guide for Students. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing, 1998. ISBN: 0872204340.


Amazon logo Williams, Joseph. Style: Toward Clarity and Grace. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN: 0226899152.

Amazon logo Kessler, Lauren, and Duncan McDonald. When Words Collide: A Media Writer's Guide to Grammar and Style. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing, 1999. ISBN: 0534561330.

Amazon logo Zelazny, Gene. Say It with Charts: The Executives Guide to Visual Communication. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2001. ISBN: 007136997X.

General Course Requirements

Attendance and Participation

Please plan on attending every class since a good part of the work that goes on will occur during class time. Please come to class having done the readings and assignments. Attendance and participation will be factored into your grade (see below).

Written Assignments

Written assignments are due as indicated on the assignment sheets, and you should use standard business formats. Please proofread as spelling, grammar, and punctuation will figure into your final grade. To guard against losses or recording errors, keep copies of the papers you turn in and retain all graded assignments that are returned to you throughout the semester (more on this below as well).

All papers must be handed in on time. Late assignments may be accepted one class period after the assigned due date with the instructor's prior permission. Late assignments may be penalized. No paper will be accepted more than one week after the due date.

Oral Presentations

You will give five different types of presentations of varying lengths during the term. Some of these will be given in class. Others will be given in oral presentation labs, which will take place outside of class time with a few other students and either your instructor or TA. You will sign up for a lab session the week before the labs are to take place. If you miss an oral presentation lab, you will receive a "zero" for that assignment. If you arrive at the lab without your overheads or if you are doing a PowerPoint presentation and your computer malfunctions, you will still be required to present.

You must bring the DVD to the labs, as we will videotape you. The DVD is for you to view later, alone or with your instructor or TA.

Academic Integrity

Except in the case of group assignments, all written assignments should be your own work. You may (and in some cases you will be required to) have fellow students read a draft of your assignment and give you reactions, note problems, or make general suggestions. "Peer editors" may NOT, however, actually revise or rewrite your work.


Each assignment has its own point value, and the value of all assignments together add up to 100 points. The point value of each assignment is as follows:

Baseline Self-Evaluation 5
Presentation with Q & A 10
"Problem Sets" (5) 10
"Meeting Maker" Memo 10
Cover Letter 5
Interactive Presentation 10
Team Presentation 15
Team Report 20
Final Self-Evaluation 5
In-class Exercises and Class Participation 10