ELE 3706 Persuasion and Dialogue for Leaders


ELE 3706 Persuasion and Dialogue for Leaders

Responsible for the course
Roberta W Berg

Department of Communication - Culture and Languages

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

Leaders must be able to honestly and persuasively present new ideas to their colleagues, motivate them, and prepare them for change. Just as important, if not more so, leaders must be willing to listen to the responses their colleagues have to these new ideas and have the skills necessary for participation in constructive dialogue with them. They must be able to defend their proposals and at the same time remain open to helpful criticism and suggestions. This course aims, therefore, to develop these essential communication skills for good leadership in our students. Students will draw upon theory, but this is a hands-on course, and the emphasis is upon the application of theory to relevant communication situations.

Learning outcome
Acquired knowledge
Specifically, students will acquire advanced knowledge about:
  • Public speaking: rhetoric, argumentation, critical thinking, debate.
  • Interpersonal communication: dialogue, listening.
  • Ethical communication.

    Acquired skills
    Upon completion of this course, students should be able to master the following communication practices:
  • Deliver effective persuasive presentations and;
    • handle criticism - engage in productive, balanced dialogue during the critique process
    • handle logically and constructively critique peer presentations
    • give feedback constructively

    Students will understand that their leadership abilities depend upon their communication skills and that it is the duty of good leaders to develop their own unique styles of communication to a professional level.


    Compulsory reading
    Hasling, John. 2009. The audience, the message, the speaker. 8th ed. McGraw-Hill
    Noonan, William R. 2007. Discussing the undiscussable : a guide to overcoming defensive routines in the workplace. Wiley. Chapters 1-5, 10-11

    Collection of articles:
    Roberta Wiig Berg. 2010. Article Collection for Business Communication Skills for Leadership: Persuasion and Dialogue

    Recommended reading
    Arnett, Ronald C., Janie M. Harden Fritz, Leeanne M. Bell. 2008. Communication ethics literacy : dialogue and difference. Sage
    Atkinson, Cliff. 2011. Beyond bullet points : using Microsoft PowerPoint to create presentations that inform, motivate, and inspire. 3rd ed. Microsoft. Chapters 1-10. Very helpful

    Course outline
    Tentative: 10 lectures in plenary session. 3 to 4 workshops in small groups, depending upon class size.
  • Lecture #1: Introduction to the Course. Professional presentations: organizational elements.
  • Lecture #2: Rhetoric.
  • Lecture #3: Logos for the persuasive speech: argumentation, critical thinking, debate.
    • Workshop #1: Small groups. Ethos. 1-min. speeches, followed by individual feedback on body language, voice.
  • Lecture #4: Ahead of time, students turn in outline of their manuscripts. In class - feedback on thesis statements, pathos - using examples from outlines.
  • Lecture #5: Dialogue as ethical communication. Introduction to the Mutual Learning Model.
  • Lecture #6: Dialogue. Tools for practicing the Mutual Learning Model.
    • Workshop #2: (Tentative - depending upon class size.) Small groups. Exercise - dialogue for constructive feedback.
  • Lecture #7: Logos for the persuasive speech: argumentation, critical thinking, debate.
    • Workshop #3: Small groups. 1-min. delivery of speech opening. Individual feedback on body language, voice.
  • Lecture #8: Ahead of time - turn in draft of manuscript. In class - feedback on ethos, logos, pathos, using examples from manuscripts.
  • Lecture #9: Visual Aids
    • Workshop #4: Small groups. Exercises - dialogue for handling difficult feedback.
  • Lecture #10: Review and preparation for the exam.

    Computer-based tools
    PowerPoint and It's Learning.

    Learning process and workload
    Students must participate in both lectures and workshops.

    During the course of the semester, students will develop a presentation focusing on a controversial proposal for change or action that lies close to their hearts and in which they strongly believe. Students will focus on the development of a written manuscript and at the same time work on developing their delivery skills so that they, without the aid of this manuscript - using PowerPoint or other suitable visual aids - can make a credible, persuasive presentation of their proposal. Students will hone their rhetorical and argumentation skills so that they can not only incorporate critical and logical thinking into their presentations, but also listen to critical responses from their audience and constructively discuss/defend their proposal after it has been delivered. Furthermore, students will be responsible for critiquing their peer's proposals in the discussion following each presentation. Finally, they will deliver a written reflection concerning the work they have done on this presentation during the course of the semester.

    In order to successfully complete these goals, the students must become familiar with the theory presented in lectures as well as become proficient at applying the theory in the workshops, where formative feedback will be given throughout the semester.

    Recommended workload in hours
    Participation in lectures
    Participation in workshops
    Preparatory reading for lectures
    Preparation for workshops
    Preparation of speech manuscript, delivery, critique, and defense
    Written reflection
    Final delivery, dialogue: 30 minutes in a 3-hour session with peers.
    Final critique: 15 minutes in a 3-hour session with peers
    Total recommended use of time

    Coursework requirements
    Preparation of speeches for Workshops #1 and #3
    Preparation of individual case for Workshop #4
    Outline of persuasive speech: due week #4
    Draft of speech manuscript: due week #9
    Final draft of speech manuscript: due week #13
    Written reflection due: one week from date of speech delivery

    Evaluation Criteria:
    The students' grades for the course will be based upon the manuscripts that they have developed during the course of the semester, as well as upon their delivery, dialogue with opponent/audience, critique of/dialogue with peer, and written reflections upon their presentations.

    - Quality of the Final Manuscript: 25% (Obligatory outline and draft submitted during the semester.)
    - Quality of the Final Delivery: 25% (Obligatory workshop exercises.)
    - Quality of the Presenter's Dialogue with Peers Following the Presentation: 25% (Obligatory workshop exercises.)
    - Quality of Each Student's Critique of a Peer's Presentation: 15% (Based on course concepts. Before the final delivery of the presentations, the "opponents" will be given copies of 4 or 5 final manuscripts so that they can prepare for critiquing the presentations in their group. An hour before the presentations, the identity of the presentation they will focus upon will be drawn from a hat.)
    - Quality of Written Reflection on the Manuscript, Delivery, Critique, and Dialogue/Discussion following the presentation: 10% (Based on course concepts.)

    The final delivery of presentations will be administered in 3-hour sessions with groups of 4 students at each session. Each presentation will be 10-12 minutes, and the dialogue/discussion/critique following will be allotted ca. 15 minutes. This allows ca. 30 minutes for each student's final presentation.

    Examination code(s)
    ELE 37061 - Process evaluation, counts 100% to obtain final grade in ELE 3706, 7,5 credits.

    Examination support materials
    PowerPoint or other appropriate and approved aids for presentation.

    Re-sit examination
    A re-sit examination is offered next time course is offered.

    Additional information