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C RITICAL T HINKING C RASH C OURSE Helen Alexander Lecturer, Business Communication, American Language Program.

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Presentation on theme: "C RITICAL T HINKING C RASH C OURSE Helen Alexander Lecturer, Business Communication, American Language Program."— Presentation transcript:

1 C RITICAL T HINKING C RASH C OURSE Helen Alexander Lecturer, Business Communication, American Language Program

2 O BJECTIVES FOR T ODAY ’ S P RESENTATION Designed for all individuals to foster thinking skills that can enhance written and oral communication, participants will: Recognize the higher order thinking skills involved in effective communication. Practice organizing ideas to communicate in both oral and written mediums for the comprehension of an intended audience.

3 I MPORTANT J UMPING O FF P OINTS Most people already have all the cognitive tools they need to apply to communication situations. However, many people have learned what “good” communication is inductively: knowing what looks right, but not sure what makes it right. Consequently, they might have a harder time reproducing it in their own writing and speaking. Raising your own awareness of what makes something readable and comprehensible to the average English reader (or listener!) often makes communicating much more efficient— you are able to apply the tools from the beginning, and you have a better sense of what to tweak when a misunderstanding arises.

4 W ARM -U P If you were to see these words in an email, what would you think they mean? claim report totally ramifications

5 A T HREE -S TEP A PPROACH TO “T HINKING T HROUGH ” M ESSAGES Step One: Identifying Most informative or persuasive documents in English are structured so that the document’s purpose is made explicit at the outset. Even then, the author generally includes more information after the first paragraph towards achieving that purpose. The body of information should generally be structured so the reader knows what he’s looking for. For both reading and writing (and good lectures as well!) the pattern of organization that structures the whole based on the (email’s) purpose is what makes it “readable,” and helps the reader determine when the author has gone off topic/lost the logical thread. Individual paragraphs can have their own patterns, too.

6 E IGHT C OMMON P ATTERNS In professional English, there are 8 common patterns which represent the logical relationships we use to communicate: Definition Classification Cause/Effect Compare/Contrast Example Persuasion Problem/Solution Process

7 W HAT K IND OF E VIDENCE OR I NFO S HOULD BE P RESENT TO C OMPLETE THE P ATTERN ? These sentences are part of the opening of an email. What should the reader look for if the email is coherent and cohesive? The negotiations have arrived at two alternatives. After reviewing all the material, I believe we should move forward with the project. The delays have resulted in a few labor and management snags. I need you to complete the ordering for me—there are about three steps. What outcomes might the author be looking for from these emails? Would you recognize these outcomes if the author did not explicitly ask for them?

8 S TEP T WO Analyzing The next step to effective communication is determining the ideas that need to be explicitly stated--and connected!--to present a logical argument or discussion for the reader. Logic gaps, especially based on assumptions of what the reader should know, undermine meaning.

9 W HAT ’ S M ISSING ? How can you determine what is obvious, and what should be included? “I have a tree in my yard, so now I’m being sued.” What possible connections could you make between this first idea, and the outcome? “My neighbor has a really large cat!” “The tree in my yard is really fragile because of root rot.”

10 S TEP T HREE Evaluating Pay conscious, focused attention to word choice, perspective, and tone to interpret the author’s intention and possible needs for you to follow-up for clarification.

11 M AKING J UDGMENTS ABOUT W HAT W AS I NTENDED AND P OSSIBLE D ISCONNECT Go back to the words from the warm up activity. What kind of relationship can the author have to the reader to use those words? You claim that the accident occurred because of faulty wiring. The customer reported having trouble with the product’s cord. His allegations are totally unfounded. We must consider the legal ramifications before proceeding.

12 O RGANIZING THE P ROCESS In order to apply these skills to your own writing, three questions are helpful: 1) What relationship do I need to reader to recognize? That is to say, what pattern of organization will help me best encode this information? 2) What is my relationship to the reader? 3) What does the reader need to know for this information to make sense, for me to get the results I need? Do I know what I want or need to happen? Have I made it clear to the reader what that is?

13 Y OUR T URN ! Based on the scenario provided, draft an email with your partner. Don’t forget to address organization, language, field awareness. You are emailing someone who you’ve only met twice about a complaint from your department. Your supervisor wants a solution to the problem, and wants it within two days.

14 T O S UM U P ! Effective communication begins with thinking it through—actively and contextually! The elements that are most likely to affect the outcome of your message are: attention to audience and assumptions as to common knowledge; common organizational patterns and how they point to appropriate support or the kind of information that should be included, and accurate word choice for tone and connotation.

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