banner at top of page communication skills Air War College Gateway to the Internet, click to go to home page
home | search | reference | military portal | index to internet

Use Ctrl-F to Find word/phrase on this or other browser pages.




please see disclaimer about links, and privacy and security notice ... contact us
page updated/reviewed 6 Sep 2013
Accessibility/Section 508


Communication, in GeneralBack to Top

Communication & ConnectionBack to Top
  • Amber Case: We are all cyborgs now, a talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
    • "Technology is evolving us, says Amber Case, as we become a screen-staring, button-clicking new version of homo sapiens. We now rely on "external brains" (cell phones and computers) to communicate, remember, even live out secondary lives. But will these machines ultimately connect or conquer us? Case offers surprising insight into our cyborg selves."
    • "Amber Case studies the symbiotic interactions between humans and machines -- and considers how our values and culture are being shaped by living lives increasingly mediated by high technology."

  • Sherry Turkle: Connected, but alone?, a talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
    • "As we expect more from technology, do we expect less from each other? Sherry Turkle studies how our devices and online personas are redefining human connection and communication -- and asks us to think deeply about the new kinds of connection we want to have."
    • "Sherry Turkle studies how technology is shaping our modern relationships: with others, with ourselves, with it."

  • Alone Together, video by Turkle
    • MIT technology and society specialist Professor Sherry Turkle presents the results of a fifteen year exploration of the colossal impact technology has had on our lives and communities.
    • includes discussion of roles to be played by robots
    • "We say that our world is evermore complex, and yet we create a communications culture in which we create the expectation that we will respond to each other immediately, and almost without thinking."

  • The Internet in Society: Empowering or Censoring Citizens?, by Morozov, for RSA Animate
    • Does the internet actually inhibit, not encourage democracy? In this new RSA Animate adapted from a talk given in 2009, Evgeny Morozov presents an alternative take on 'cyber-utopianism' - the seductive idea that the internet plays a largely emancipatory role in global politics.
    • "We confuse the intended uses of technology with the actual uses."

Working with InterpretersBack to Top

SpeakingBack to Top Powerpoint & Slide ShowsBack to Top

  • We Have Met the Enemy and He Is PowerPoint, in Small Wars Journal, has a whole list of Powerpoint related articles linked at the bottom of the page

  • spiffy How PowerPoint Stifles Understanding, Creativity, and Innovation Within Your Organization, by Zweibelson, in Small Wars Journal, 4 Sep 2012 - includes eight recommendations at the end, to "restore the briefer as a critical thinker"
    • PowerPoint provides a useful vehicle for sharing and developing concepts among military professionals in a variety of venues. Unfortunately, the U.S. military tends to lose track of the supportive context for PowerPoint and instead shackles organizations to institutional processes and rigid ‘group-think.’ We tend to burden our military professionals with an exhausting and high-maintenance requirement to churn out repetitive and non-explanatory slide decks for nearly every conceivable information requirement. Rarely do we conduct a meeting without the ever-present bright projection of PowerPoint upon a screen.
    • When you attend a briefing and the majority of slides and material attempt to reduce, measure, categorize, or describe something, we are often merely admiring the problem.
    • Instead of thinking about why something is occurring, we are usually required to answer precise information that satisfies a descriptive (WHAT-centric) procedure instead of a critical line of inquiry. Many military professionals refer to this as “feeding the beast” in PowerPoint-centric organizations, where we openly acknowledge that our own hierarchy often demands volumes of often meaningless or irrelevant information for illusionary pretexts. If descriptive thinking blinds your organization to critical and creative thinking, then PowerPoint is the drug of choice for continuing the reductionist and highly tacticized mentality across an organization that fears uncertainty.
    • Additionally, a recent trend of cramming four slides onto one “quad chart” slide is another work-around that compresses a larger slide show into fewer yet more cluttered slides and supports the ‘quantity over quality’ tension. This recent staff technique defeats the purpose of a quadrant chart that uses two separate tensions in an overlapping geometric structure to demonstrate patterns and explore complex relationships. ‘Quad charts’ are not interrelated if you apply one simple test. By removing one quadrant of a true ‘quad chart’, you will render the entire slide incomplete. Each quadrant in a quad chart should systemically relate to the other quadrants in terms of context. If you are only removing one component while the three remaining quadrants maintain their coherence, your staff has merely shoved ten pounds of dirt into a five pound bag for you, by condensing four slides into one. This reduces total slide numbers, but does little to improve organizational learning.
    • Many military organizations use ‘read-ahead’ packets that provide an advanced copy of the PowerPoint briefing slides in advance of the briefing. In theory, this implies an alternate route for information sharing that, when combined with a briefing, could function in tandem. In practice, this requires two commitments that are rarely met. First, all attendees must endeavor to actually read the ‘read-ahead’ packet. This prepares an audience to enter a briefing cognizant of the topics, context, and prepared to offer relevant discourse to drive emergent thought. Secondly, the briefer must resist using any slides in the ‘read-ahead’ except for ancillary or expository reasons during the brief. Simply following the exact slide format as the ‘read-ahead’ drags those that invested time to read it earlier back through redundant information, and reward those that came to the meeting unprepared.

  • spiffy PowerPoint: You’re doing it wrong: For persuasive presentations, try this alternative approach, by Abela, in Armed Forces Journal, June 2012

  • spiffy Tips for Preparing Scientific Presentations (local copy), Office of Naval Research
    - includes the Ten Commandments of Visual Aids (such as Powerpoint slides)
    - delivery chapter has section on handling Q & A after speaking
    - most of the material applies to almost any presentation, not just techical

Malapropisms, Eggcorns, Mondegreens, etc.Back to Top

Storytelling & Use of NarrativeBack to Top

  • Jay O'Callahan: The Power of Storytelling, a 99u video
    • "Jay O'Callahan has the rare distinction of traveling the world telling stories. Here, he introduces us to the power of storytelling -- that most human, and ancient, art form. Through the lens of a tale about NASA putting a man on the moon, O'Callahan illustrates how storytelling taps into our imagination, engages those around us, and inspires amazing achievements."

  • TED.com videos - most are 6-15 minutes
    • Chimamanda Adichie: The danger of a single story - a TED talk (you may need to watch it on YouTube if TED videos are blocked)
      • Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.
      • "The single story creates stereotypes, and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story."
      • "How they are told, who tells them, when they're told, how many stories are told, are really dependent on power."
      • "Power is the ability not just to tell the story of another person, but to make it the definitive story of that person. The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story and to start with, "secondly." Start the story with the arrows of the Native Americans, and not with the arrival of the British, and you have an entirely different story. Start the story with the failure of the African state, and not with the colonial creation of the African state, and you have an entirely different story."
      • "So that is how to create a single story, show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become."
    • Shekhar Kapur: We are the stories we tell ourselves - a TED talk (you may need to watch it on YouTube if TED videos are blocked)
      • Where does creative inspiration spring from? At TEDIndia, Hollywood/Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur ("Elizabeth," "Mr. India") pinpoints his source of creativity: sheer, utter panic. He shares a powerful way to unleash your inner storyteller.
      • "When I go out to direct a film, every day we prepare too much, we think too much. Knowledge becomes a weight upon wisdom. You know, simple words lost in the quicksand of experience."
      • "So, I will go further, and I say, "I tell a story, and therefore I exist." I exist because there are stories, and if there are no stories, we don't exist. We create stories to define our existence."
    • Karen Thompson Walker: What fear can teach us - a TED talk (you may need to watch it on YouTube if TED videos are blocked)
      • Imagine you're a shipwrecked sailor adrift in the enormous Pacific. You can choose one of three directions and save yourself and your shipmates -- but each choice comes with a fearful consequence too. How do you choose? In telling the story of the whaleship Essex, novelist Karen Thompson Walker shows how fear propels imagination, as it forces us to imagine the possible futures and how to cope with them.
      • "Now we might just as easily call these fears by a different name. What if instead of calling them fears, we called them stories? Because that's really what fear is, if you think about it. It's a kind of unintentional storytelling that we are all born knowing how to do."
      • "So if we think of our fears as more than just fears but as stories, we should think of ourselves as the authors of those stories. But just as importantly, we need to think of ourselves as the readers of our fears, and how we choose to read our fears can have a profound effect on our lives."
      • "Just like all great stories, our fears focus our attention on a question that is as important in life as it is in literature: What will happen next? In other words, our fears make us think about the future. And humans, by the way, are the only creatures capable of thinking about the future in this way, of projecting ourselves forward in time, and this mental time travel is just one more thing that fears have in common with storytelling."

  • Michael Gazzaniga: Your Storytelling Brain - a short video at big think that talks about the brain's natural creation of stories to explain actions after the fact

  • The Power of Story (local copy), by Fox and Cohen, in NASA's Ask magazine
    • Metaphor frees us to interpret stories individually. Stories, metaphor, and narrative activate our innate impulse to search for meaning. As listeners, we play with them like kids on well-constructed jungle gyms. We feel as if we are extracting meaning ourselves, and we are—stories don’t force a single, simple conclusion on us. But a good story guides us, so that what we learn is what the story wants to tell us, but adapted to our own needs and interests.

  • The Story is Telling: Simplicity is Complicated (local copy), by Paparone, in Defense AT&L: May-June 2010
    • Is there an example in DoD of good storytelling? Indeed, the Marines have employed subjective-contextualization in writing doctrine to quite effectively communicate complexity. For example, the 1996 Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 6, Command and Control, starts off its first chapter with a short story that offers a word picture of command and control in action (done well and done poorly) and illustrates various key points that appear in the text. The chapter can be read separately or in conjunction with the rest of the text.

  • Preparing to Lead with a Compelling Narrative: If You Don’t Frame the Narrative,Someone Else Will, by Crannell and Sheppard, Strategic Studies Quarterly, Fall 2011
    • The narrative determines how we perceive the credibility and authenticity of leaders and organizations. The concept of the narrative may be familiar, but there lacks an understanding of how this can be leveraged to achieve an organization’s vision and aspirations. The proliferation of information sources, the speed of transmitting the narrative, and the number of visible competing narratives presents a limited time for leaders to frame their narrative. Compressed news cycles feed on quick responses. To dominate the narrative, a nation-state, company, or emerging political movement requires flexibility to adjust its narrative without losing sight of its aspirations and goals.

  • The Use of Storytelling in the Department of the Navy (local copy)
    • Conveying information in a story provides a rich context, remaining in the conscious memory longer and creating more memory traces than information not in context. Therefore a story is more likely to be acted upon than normal means of communications. Storytelling, whether in a personal or organizational setting, connects people, develops creativity, and increases confidence. The use of stories in organizations can build descriptive capabilities, increase organizational learning, convey complex meaning, and communicate common values and rule sets.
    • Description capabilities are essential in strategic thinking and planning, and create a greater awareness of what we could achieve. Fictional stories can be powerful because they provide a mechanism by which an organization can learn from failure without attributing blame.
    • With the advent of the Internet and Intranet, there is a larger opportunity to use stories to bring about change. Electronic media adds moving images and sound as context setters. Hypertext capabilities and collaboration software invites groups, teams and communities to co-create their stories. New multiprocessing skills are required to navigate this new world, skills that include the quick and sure assimilation of and response to fast-flowing images and sounds and sensory assaults.
    • In summary, when used well storytelling is a powerful transformational tool in organizations, one that all of our managers and leaders across the Department need to utilize.

  • NASA's ASK Talks with Dr. Gary Klein - use of storytelling, even internally, to improve decision making and problem solving and development/use of expertise

  • "Story Model of Decisionmaking" - explained with examples (starting on PDF page 30) in A Literature Review of Analytical and Naturalistic Decision Making (local copy), by Zsambok, Beach, and Klein, for Naval Command, Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, Dec 1992
    • According to the theory, the story coordinates three types of knowledge:
      • facts or information from the current situation
      • knowledge about similar situations
      • generic expectations about what makes a complete story, such as believing that people do what they do for a reason
    • Given a set of known facts in an unfolding situation, knowledge about similar situations, and expectations about what is needed to make a complete story, the decisionmaker can know when important information is missing, and where inferences must be made.

    • Construct a story
    • Evaluate story for coverage - concerns the extent to which the story accounts for evidence
    • Evaluate story for coherence
      • consistency - concerns the extent to which the story does not contain contradictions
      • plausibility - concerns the extent to which the story is consistent with real or imagined events in the real world
      • completeness - concerns the extent to which a story has all of its parts

  • Storytelling and Terrorism: Towards a Comprehensive 'Counter-Narrative Strategy' (Local Copy) by Casebeer and Russell, in Strategic Insights, Mar 2005

  • Storytelling that moves people. A conversation with screenwriting coach Robert McKee, abstract with PubMed, at National Library of Medicine
    • In this conversation with HBR, Robert McKee, the world's best-known screenwriting lecturer, argues that executives can engage people in a much deeper--and ultimately more convincing--way if they toss out their Power-Point slides and memos and learn to tell good stories. As human beings, we make sense of our experiences through stories. But becoming a good storyteller is hard. It requires imagination and an understanding of what makes a story worth telling. All great stories deal with the conflict between subjective expectations and an uncooperative objective reality.

  • Malignants in the Body Politic: Redefining War through Metaphor, SAAS paper, 2004

  • The Center for Narrative Studies

  • The Art of Trial Advocacy: the Art of Storytelling (local copy), in The Army Lawyer, Oct 1999
    • recommends three ways to enhance your storytelling for effect
      • use the present tense
      • speak in clear, active English
      • engage the senses of the audience

  • Storytelling and the Art of Teaching (local copy), by Pedersen, in State Department's Forum, Jan-Mar 1995

  • Deep Impact Storytelling (local copy), by Deacon and Murphey, in State Department's Forum, Oct-Dec 2001

  • Storytelling: Passport to the 21st Century, by Brown et al

  • Tell Me a Story: Why Stories are Essential to Effective Safety Training (local copy), NIOSH Publication No. 2005-152, August 2005

  • "Story Telling" - in the National Park Service Community Tool Box
    • Use it if ...
      • You want to help people begin working together: An engaging story will serve as a unifying emotional and experiential tool.
      • You are trying to develop a vision and need to first find agreement as to what people believe is important.

  • A Review of Narrative Methodology (local copy), by Mitchell and Egudo, Australian Department of Defence, 2003
    • This bibliography outlines how the narrative approach can be used as an alternative for the study of human action. Narrative is an interpretive approach in the social sciences and involves using storytelling methodology. The story becomes an object of study, focusing on how individuals or groups make sense of events and actions in their lives. Researchers capture the informant's story through ethnographic techniques such as observation and interviews. This method is said to be well suited to study subjectivity and the influence of culture and identity on the human condition.
    • The case studies included provide examples of how research is conducted within this field, and thus the bibliography can act to support researchers in developing this research tool for understanding the context of formal and informal learning within training arenas. Furthermore, it can serve as a reference point for others seeking to adopt a narrative investigation. Case studies of narrative in organisational studies demonstrate how narrative can be used to effect cultural change, transfer complex tacit knowledge through implicit communication, construct identity, aid education, contribute to sense making, act as a source of imderstanding, and study decision making.

Metaphors & AnalogiesBack to Top

    To me, however, analogy is anything but a bitty blip — rather, it’s the very blue that fills the whole sky of cognition — analogy is everything, or very nearly so, in my view.
    — Douglas R. Hofstadter

    We are prisoners of our own metaphors, metaphorically speaking...
    — R. Buckminster Fuller

  • spiffy Analogy as the Core of Cognition, by Hofstadter, 2006 Stanford Presidential lecture and a text by Hofstadter from The Analogical Mind: Perspectives from Cognitive Science, by Gentner et al, MIT Press, 2001
    • interesting and entertaining pieces on analogy, human cognition, and communicating within a language/culture group -- much of it very applicable to teaching and learning

  • The Power of Story (local copy), by Fox and Cohen, in NASA's Ask magazine
    • Metaphor is part of what makes listeners active participants in stories, and they must engage with and interpret these images that work on the show-don’t-tell principle. An image that has to be explained, Campbell says, is not working.
    • Metaphor frees us to interpret stories individually. Stories, metaphor, and narrative activate our innate impulse to search for meaning. As listeners, we play with them like kids on well-constructed jungle gyms. We feel as if we are extracting meaning ourselves, and we are—stories don’t force a single, simple conclusion on us. But a good story guides us, so that what we learn is what the story wants to tell us, but adapted to our own needs and interests.

  • Geary
    • James Geary, metaphorically speaking, excellent 11 minute talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
      • "Aphorism enthusiast and author James Geary waxes on a fascinating fixture of human language: the metaphor. Friend of scribes from Aristotle to Elvis, metaphor can subtly influence the decisions we make, Geary says."

    • Guest Post: James Geary on Metaphor, A Taxonomy, op-ed piece in the New York Times, 8 Feb 2011
      • discusses the three stages of metaphor and four common kinds of metaphor

  • Spies, Meet Shakespeare: Intel Geeks Build Metaphor Motherlode, by Groeger, at Wired.com web site, 25 May 2011
    • Metaphors are everywhere (there are three in the previous paragraph). Problem is, they can differ from culture to culture, and are often hard to identify. While it’s relatively simple for a computer to sort nouns from verbs, the nuances of language are slightly more challenging.
    • To solve this problem, Iarpa, the mad science unit of the intelligence community (or Darpa for spies), is asking universities and businesses to help them build a giant database of metaphors. The goal is to “exploit the use of metaphors by different cultures to gain insight into their cultural norms.”
    • In an unlikely shout out to Aristotle, Iarpa acknowledges the ancient roots of these poetic devices. Much more recently, scientists have uncovered those roots in our biology. Turns out, metaphors are more than just figurative flourishes or explanatory shortcuts; they shape our thoughts, beliefs and actions.

  • Metaphors We Think With: The Role of Metaphor in Reasoning , by Thibodeau and Boroditsky (Dept of Psychology, Stanford U.), at PLoS ONE web site, 23 Feb 2011
    • The way we talk about complex and abstract ideas is suffused with metaphor. In five experiments, we explore how these metaphors influence the way that we reason about complex issues and forage for further information about them. We find that even the subtlest instantiation of a metaphor (via a single word) can have a powerful influence over how people attempt to solve social problems like crime and how they gather information to make “well-informed” decisions.
    • Interestingly, we find that the influence of the metaphorical framing effect is covert: people do not recognize metaphors as influential in their decisions; instead they point to more “substantive” (often numerical) information as the motivation for their problem-solving decision. Metaphors in language appear to instantiate frame-consistent knowledge structures and invite structurally consistent inferences.
    • Far from being mere rhetorical flourishes, metaphors have profound influences on how we conceptualize and act with respect to important societal issues. We find that exposure to even a single metaphor can induce substantial differences in opinion about how to solve social problems: differences that are larger, for example, than pre-existing differences in opinion between Democrats and Republicans.

  • Paparone
    • Learning to Swim in the Ocean: Creativity as a Zone of Analogy (local copy), by Paparone, in Defense AT&L, Jul-Aug 2010
      • “’Over-proceduralization’ inhibits the commander and staff’s critical thinking and creativity, which are essential to finding a timely solution to complex problems.” (U.S. Joint Forces Command Commander Gen. J. N. Mattis, Vision of a Joint Approach to Operational Design, October 2009)
      • The point is that when we are faced with novel, perplexing situations, we can rely only on past meanings to make sense of them (like Schön tried to communicate with his child swimmer metaphor). As we err (i.e., we discover that these old meanings do not work well in explaining the way the world appears to us now), we reinterpret those meanings into something new and tentative. As time goes on, we elaborate on this temporary use of borrowed meanings and eventually adopt them into our more permanently accepted language that reflects the way things are.

    • On Metaphors We Are Led By (local copy), by Paparone, in Military Review, Nov-Dec 2008
      • Despite principled attempts to prosecute “information operations” and “strategic communications,” there is scant discussion in current military discourse about how people assign meaning to their perceptions. This essay investigates how the use of metaphor shapes understanding in an increasingly ambiguous world of meaning. Indeed, the rhetorical work of pundits, politicians, appointees, bloggers, academics, military doctrinaires, and flag officers (those I call “thought leaders”) is largely the management of meaning. That is, thought leaders engage in persuading the naïve, the obtuse, or those with different understandings to follow their narrative constructions, which are often riddled with metaphors.

  • Metaphors Are Mindfunnels: Finding Neo (local copy), by Ward et al, in Defense AT&L, Nov-Dec 2008
    • The basic concept behind Metaphors We Live By is that metaphors are the fundamental construct of human thought. This concept was not entirely new to us, but we quickly discovered that the scope and scale of humanity’s reliance on metaphor is shockingly large. The book explains that metaphors do not simply make things more interesting or easier to understand—metaphors actually are understanding, and it is almost impossible to think in non-metaphorical terms.

  • Using Metaphors in Creative Writing, at Purdue Online Writing Lab

  • Physical Metaphor in Military Theory and Doctrine: Force, Friction, or Folley? (local copy) by Brendler, SAMS paper, 18 Dec 1997 - extensive comparison of metaphors and theorists, from Barzun to Hayakawa to Wittgenstein to Clausewitz

  • Lakoff, George, and Mark Johnson. Metaphors We Live By. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2003.

  • Quinn, Naomi. “The Culture Basis of Metaphor.” Beyond Metaphor: The Theory of Tropes in Anthropology. Ed. James W. Fernandez. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1991. 56-93.

  • Boundary of Metaphors, from MIT OpenCourseWare project

  • Effective Presentations (local copy), Army Corps of Engineers
    • Meet your listeners at their level of understanding. Use metaphors: Compare unfamiliar facts with something simple the audience already knows. An example would be comparing the flow of water in a pipe with the flow of electricity in a wire. People learn more rapidly when the information relates to their own experience.

  • Malignants in the Body Politic: Redefining War through Metaphor, by Stickle, 2004 SAAS paper

  • Metaphors and Paradigms of Team Cognition: a Twenty Year Perspective, by McNeese, Penn. State Univ., in Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 47th Annual Meeting, 2003, posted by Office of Naval Research

  • A Joint Task Force Staff Structure for the New Millennium: Leaner, Faster, and More Responsive, by Row, Wright Flyer Paper No. 4
    • Uses metaphors to describe organizational relations. Includes quote below.
    • "Metaphor is often regarded just as a device for embellishing discourse, but its significance is much greater than this. The use of metaphor implies a way of thinking and a way of seeing that pervade how we understand our world generally. . . . Metaphor is inherently paradoxical. It can create powerful insights that also become distortions, as the way of seeing created through a metaphor becomes a way of not seeing." - from Gareth Morgan, Images of Organization, 2d ed. (Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Sage Publications, 1997), 4-5.

  • The Digital General: Reflections on Leadership in the Post-Information Age, by Harig, in Parameters, Autumn 1996
    • Just as there are plentiful examples where critical scientific breakthroughs have occurred while the right brain (our intuitive, pre-verbal cognitive resource) was operating ahead of the pack, strategic vision requires an ability to think in metaphors, to seek related patterns in unrelated objects, situations, and events. True, our future senior leaders will have access to more information. The successful ones will be those who are best able to sort out the important from the interesting. The development and testing of analogies--the patterns that allow leaders to see the important under data overload, is a skill that could waste away under a sterile diet of expert systems and virtual reality simulations.

ListeningBack to Top
    Most people do not listen with the intent to understand;
    they listen with the intent to reply.
    --- Stephen R. Covey

    A man who listens because he has nothing to say can hardly be a source of inspiration.
    The only listening that counts is that of the talker who alternatively absorbs and expresses ideas.
    --- Agnes Repplier

  • See also building rapport

  • See also Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

  • spiffy Julian Treasure: 5 ways to listen better, excellent 8 minute talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
    • In our louder and louder world, says sound expert Julian Treasure, "We are losing our listening." In this short, fascinating talk, Treasure shares five ways to re-tune your ears for conscious listening -- to other people and the world around you.

  • spiffy Listening Effectively (local copy, HTML), by John Kline (local copy, PDF)

  • spiffy Practice Listening Skills (local copy) - a quick checklist from the Office of the Dispute Resolution Specialist, Dept of Veteran Affairs

  • spiffy Ten Commandments of Good Listening - as posted by the Wildland Fire Leadership Development Program
    • the first ten - from K. Davis, Human Behavior at Work, McGraw Hill, 1972
      1. Stop talking. Obvious, but not easy.
      2. Put the speaker at ease. Create a permissive, supportive climate in which the speaker will feel free to express himself or herself.
      3. Show a desire to listen. Act interested and mean it.
      4. Remove distractions. External preoccupation is less likely if nothing external is present to preoccupy you.
      5. Empathize. Try to experience to some degree the feelings the speaker is experiencing.
      6. Be patient. Give the speaker time to finish; don't interrupt.
      7. Hold your temper. Don't let your emotions obstruct your thoughts.
      8. Go easy on argument and criticism. Suspend judgment.
      9. Ask questions. If things are still unclear when a speaker has finished, ask questions which serve to clarify the intended meanings.
      10. Stop talking. In case you missed the first commandment.
    • additional listening techniques - from P. Bradley and J. Baird, Communication for Business and the Professions, Brown, 1980
      • Preparation. If you know what the topic is ahead of time, learn something about it so you will not be an ignorant listener. Even some careful thinking will allow you to listen more accurately when the communication actually begins.
      • Seek intent. Try to discover the intent of the source; why is he or she saying these things?
      • Seek structure. Look for an organizational scheme of the message. If the speaker is an accomplished one, you won't have to look very hard; it will be obvious. But if the speaker is less skilled, the responsibility falls to you.
      • Analyze. Do not accept what you hear at face value; analyze what the speaker is saying and pay attention to body language.
      • Focus. Keep the main topic of the message in mind at all times, using it to bring focus to the information which the speaker supplies.
      • Motivate yourself. This may be the most important. Listening takes work, and to do that you may have to "psych yourself up."

  • International Listening Association

  • Listening Skills - Self-Evaluation Test
  • Listening Skills Self-Evaluation
  • Listening and Empathy Responding

  • Crisis Intervention: Using Active Listening Skills in Negotiations (local copy), by Noesner and Webster, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 1997

Virtual Collaboration, Video Teleconferencing (VTCs), Audioconferencing, Computer-Mediated CommunicationBack to Top
  • Challenges in Virtual Collaboration: Videoconferencing, Audioconferencing, and Computer-Mediated Communications, by Wainfan and Davis, RAND report, 2004
    • This report summarizes the research literature on virtual collaboration, focusing on interactive virtual collaborations in real or near-real time. In particular, it reviews how the processes and outcomes of virtual collaborations are affected by the communication medium (videoconferencing, audioconferencing, or computer-mediated conferencing). It then discusses how problems in such collaboration can be mitigated and opportunities realized. Problems include increased “us vs. them” divisions and misunderstandings, as well as shifts toward risky options. Opportunities include broadening the range of views and options, as well as broadening the range of available experts. The report suggests a strategy for choosing the most effective medium, including face-to-face communication and hybrid systems, as a function of task and context (e.g., convergence on a decision or brainstorming).

  • Video Conferencing Tips, various sources

InterviewingBack to Top Being Interviewed by the MediaBack to Top InterrogationBack to Top
  • See also interviewing

  • See also NLP

  • See also deception detection

  • See also interrogations and interviewing on Lessons Learned page

  • See also torture on Law page

  • Educing Information: Interrogation: Science and Art - Foundations for the Future (local copy), Intelligence Science Board, Phase 1 Report, National Defense Intelligence College, Dec 2006

  • Interrogation: World War II, Vietnam, and Iraq (local copy, 22 Mb), National Defense Intelligence College Press, Sep 2008
    • Interrogation of Japanese POWs in World War II: U.S. Response to a Formidable Challenge
    • Unveiling Charlie: U.S. Interrogators’ Creative Successes Against Insurgents
    • The Accidental Interrogator: A Case Study and Review of U.S. Army Special Forces Interrogations

  • Field Manual 2-22.3, Human Intelligence Collector Operations, Sep 2006 - replaced FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation (1992)
  • FM 34-52 Intelligence Interrogation, 1992 version
    NOTE: some sources believe the 1987 version below was more permissive than the 1992 version above - however, even in the 1987 version below you can see the prohibition against force.
  • Principles of Interrogation, in Chapter 1, FM 34-52 (1987 version, now superceded) - included the following

      Interrogation is the art of questioning and examining a source to obtain the maximum amount of usable information. The goal of any interrogation is to obtain usable and reliable information, in a lawful manner and in the least amount of time, which meets intelligence requirements of any echelon of command.

      ...

      The use of force, mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure to unpleasant and inhumane treatment of any kind is prohibited by law and is neither authorized nor condoned by the US Government. Experience indicates that the use of force is not necessary to gain the cooperation of sources for interrogation. Therefore, the use of force is a poor technique, as it yields unreliable results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and can induce the source to say whatever he thinks the interrogator wants to hear. However, the use of force is not to be confused with psychological ploys, verbal trickery, or other nonviolent and noncoercive ruses used by the interrogator in questioning hesitant or uncooperative sources.

      The psychological techniques and principles outlined should neither be confused with, nor construed to be synonymous with, unauthorized techniques such as brainwashing, mental torture, or any other form of mental coercion to include drugs. These techniques and principles are intended to serve as guides in obtaining the willing cooperation of a source. The absence of threats in interrogation is intentional, as their enforcement and use normally constitute violations of international law and may result in prosecution under the UCMJ.

      Additionally, the inability to carry out a threat of violence or force renders an interrogator ineffective should the source challenge the threat. Consequently, from both legal and moral viewpoints, the restrictions established by international law, agreements, and customs render threats of force, violence, and deprivation useless as interrogation techniques.

  • Understanding Interrogation (local copy), by Boetig and Bellmer, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 2008 - the differences in meaning between interviewing and interrogating, in US and overseas

  • Reducing a Guilty Suspect’s Resistance to Confessing: Applying Criminological Theory to Interrogation Theme Development (local copy), by Boetig, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 2005 - discusses theme-based interrogation and criminological theories

  • Strategies to Avoid Interview Contamination (local copy), by Sandoval, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 2003 - some good tips, strategies, and questions

  • Criminal Confessions - Overcoming the Challenges (local copy), by Napier and Adams, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, November 2002 - includes following principles/tips
    • follow the facts
    • identify personal vulnerabilities
    • know the suspect
    • preserve the evidence
    • adjust moral responsibility
    • use psychology versus coercion
    • allowing suspects to maintain dignity is professional and increases the likelihood of obtaining a confession

  • Conducting Successful Interrogations (local copy), by Vessel, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 1998
    • Obtaining information that an individual does not want to provide constitutes the sole purpose of an interrogation.

  • Magic Words to Obtain Confessions (local copy), by Napier and Adams, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, October 1998
    • Magic words come from three commonly used defense mechanisms-rationalization, projection, and minimization
      • Rationalize Suspects’ Actions
      • Project the Blame onto Others
      • Minimize the Crime
      • Provide Reasons to Confess

  • Interviewing Self-confident Con Artists (local copy), by O'Neal, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 2001
    - "with the proper preparation and strategic approach, investigators can take advantage of the character traits of con artists"

  • Investigative Techniques: Federal Agency Views on the Potential Application of Brain Fingerprinting" (local copy), GAO report, Oct 2001

  • Hypnosis in Interrogation, by Deshere, in Studies in Intelligence, Vol.4, No.1

  • "Truth" Drugs in Interrogation, by Bimmerle, in Studies in Intelligence, Vol.5, No.2

Deception DetectionBack to Top
  • See also deception on Info Ops page

  • See also interviewing and NLP sections

  • See also interrogation

  • TED Videos
    • Jeff Hancock: The future of lying, a talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
      • "Who hasn’t sent a text message saying “I’m on my way” when it wasn’t true or fudged the truth a touch in their online dating profile? But Jeff Hancock doesn’t believe that the anonymity of the internet encourages dishonesty. In fact, he says the searchability and permanence of information online may even keep us honest."

    • Markham Nolan: How to separate fact and fiction online, a talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
      • "By the end of this talk, there will be 864 more hours of video on YouTube and 2.5 million more photos on Facebook and Instagram. So how do we sort through the deluge? At the TEDSalon in London, Markham Nolan shares the investigative techniques he and his team use to verify information in real-time, to let you know if that Statue of Liberty image has been doctored or if that video leaked from Syria is legitimate."

    • Pamela Meyer: How to spot a liar, a talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
      • "On any given day we're lied to from 10 to 200 times, and the clues to detect those lie can be subtle and counter-intuitive. Pamela Meyer, author of Liespotting, shows the manners and "hotspots" used by those trained to recognize deception -- and she argues honesty is a value worth preserving."

  • A Comparison of Approaches To Detect Deception (local copy), by Taylor et al, Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, NAMRL Report Number 11-05, Feb 2011
    • Altogether, the current literature suggests that the GKT performed in conjunction with GSR holds promise as an instrument to detect guilty knowledge, but much remains to be learned not only of alternate GKT endpoints but also of the possibility that combined measures may enhance classification accuracy. In the present study, we examined the utility of three physiological endpoints in the detection of guilty knowledge with the GKT paradigm and we assessed whether combined indices would improve classification accuracy.

  • Lies, Liars, and Lie Detection, by Gray, in Federal Probation, Dec 2011 - includes cues to deceit and things to watch for

  • Detecting Deception (local copy), by retired FBI agent Joe Navarro, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, AUg 2012 - setting the stage and four opportunities to detect deception
    • Four viable opportunities allow investigators to detect when a person hides something, feels anxious about a question, lies, or has knowledge of guilt.
      • When Asking - The first opportunity to detect deception arises when the interrogator asks a question.
      • While Processing - Interviewers have a second chance to gauge for deception when the interviewee processes the question.
      • When Answering - The third occasion to assess for hidden information, deception, or guilty knowledge is when the interviewee answers the question.
      • After Responding - Investigators have the fourth opportunity for assessment after the suspect answers a question. At that point, a skilled interviewer will wait and watch for 2 to 4 seconds, creating a natural but pregnant pause to observe the interviewee.
    • After making the proper observations during these four phases, it proves useful to remember that speech errors, hesitation, lack of confidence, indicators of stress, and pacifiers in relation to a question merely suggest some cause.
    • Law enforcement officers must recognize the limits of lie detection. Deception can be identified only when all information is known, which usually is not the case. ... A polygrapher cannot say definitively that persons have lied, only that they displayed indicators of stress when asked a question. Unfortunately, the same holds true for interviewers. That does not mean that interrogators stop asking questions. The interviewee’s discomfort or lack of confidence during questioning compels knowledgeable investigators to look further.

  • Evaluating Truthfulness and Detecting Deception (local copy), by Matsumoto et al, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, June 2011 - includes examples of criteria

  • spiffy Body Language: Learn How to Spot a Liar & Avoid Getting Scammed, video interview with retired FBI agent Joe Navarro

  • A Four-Domain Model for Detecting Deception - An Alternative Paradigm for Interviewing (local copy), by Navarro, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, June 2003
    • They can use an alternative paradigm for detecting deception based on four critical domains:
      • comfort/discomfort
      • emphasis
      • synchrony
      • perception management

  • Detecting Deception (local copy), by Navarro and Schafer, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 2001

  • Deception Detection in Multicultural Coalitions: Foundations for a Cognitive Model (local copy), by Kaina et al, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific (SSC Pacific) paper presented at the 16th International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium (ICCRTS), June 2011
    • This paper considers ontology of deception, themes of deception, and describes a deception-detection model based on preparation, detection and reaction. Cognition plays a central role in deception because the deceiver attempts to manipulate the target into believing something that is not true. The domain of deception and deception detection involves identifying physical and verbal discrepancies as well as inconsistencies in information or context, as well as the use of nonverbal cues. A cognitive approach is discussed that considers personality, cultural, and organizational factors that affect the heuristics of deception and its detection.

  • Distributed Information and Intelligence Analysis Group (DI2AG), within Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College

  • Interview Clues: Words That Leave an Investigative Trail (local copy), by Sandoval, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Jan 2008 - includes examples of words that camouflage and hide actions

  • The Art of Investigative Interviewing: Countering the Lie of Omission (local copy), by Wells, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Jan 2008

  • Text Bridges and the Micro-Action Interview (local copy), by Schafer, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, Jan 2008 - includes table of text bridges identified by grammar function

  • Behavioral Analysis of Leadership (local copy), by Connors, in Joint Force Quarterly, 4th Qtr 2006 - includes discussion of expressions and body movements that belie the spoken words

  • Educing Information: Interrogation: Science and Art - Foundations for the Future (local copy), Intelligence Science Board, Phase 1 Report, National Defense Intelligence College, Dec 2006 - includes several chapters dealing with deception detection

  • Accuracy in the Media: Misinformation, Mistakes, and Misleading in American and Other Media (local copy), by Leventhal and Chinni, Foreign Press Center, State Department, 6 Apr 2005

  • How to Identify Misinformation (local copy), USINFO.STATE.GOV, 27 July 2005 - with examples of misinformation and conspiracies, and support material

  • Formal Methods of Countering Deception and Misperception in Intelligence Analysis (local copy), by Pope et al, presented at the 11th International Command and Control Technology Symposium (ICCRTS), 2006 (slides)

  • Detecting Online Deception and Responding to It (local copy), by Rowe, Naval Postgraduate School

  • Detecting Deception, by Adelson, in Monitor on Psychology, Jul-Aug 2004 - includes discussion of software which can analyze written content for lying

  • Intuitive people worse at detecting lies, by Young, NewScientist.com, 18 Mar 2002
    • People who think of themselves as being intuitive make worse lie detectors than those who do not trust in a "gut instinct", according to new research.
    • One possible explanation is that intuitives in fact rely on common misconceptions about how to spot a liar, he says.

  • Interpersonal Deception Theory: Examining Deception from a Communication Perspective (local copy), by Buller et al, ARI Research Note 98-16, June 1998

  • Interviewing Self-confident Con Artists (local copy), by O'Neal, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, March 2001
    - "with the proper preparation and strategic approach, investigators can take advantage of the character traits of con artists"

  • Investigative Techniques: Federal Agency Views on the Potential Application of Brain Fingerprinting" (local copy), GAO report, Oct 2001

  • Hypnosis in Interrogation, by Deshere, in Studies in Intelligence, Vol.4, No.1

  • "Truth" Drugs in Interrogation, by Bimmerle, in Studies in Intelligence, Vol.5, No.2

  • Microexpressions
  • Truth Wizards Can Detect Lies (local copy), in the Maine Law Officer's Bulletin, Nov 2004 - detecting the subtle signs that people reveal when they lie

  • Lying and Deceit - The Wizards Project, Police Psychology Online
    • "With 20 minutes of training, we are able to significantly improve someone's ability to recognize microexpressions which are involved in many kinds of lies," Dr. O'Sullivan said.

  • Paul Ekman
    • "Lying Faces - One Man Studies Them," by Garrett, WNEP News
      • Discover Magazine [Jan 2005 issue] reports Ekman is working with the Department of Defense on software that could detect liars by studying facial emotions, called micro-expressions, that go unnoticed by the untrained eye.

        "They look just like an ordinary expression, except they're only on the face about a 25th of a second," this researcher observes. Ekman has shown that certain emotions flash almost undetectably when people are telling high-stakes lies, where they benefit or lose a lot.

    • Paul Ekman home page, with articles
    • "Darwin, Deception, and Facial Expression" - by Ekman, in Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences - discusses the Facial Action Coding System (FACS)
    • Ekman, O’Sullivan, & Frank. "A few can catch a liar." Psychological Science, 10, 263-266, 1997
    • Ekman, P. & O’Sullivan, M. - "Who can catch a liar?" in American Psychologist, 46, 913-920 , 1991

    • Ekman, Paul. Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Marriage, and Politics, W.W. Norton & Company, 3rd revised edition 2002

Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)Back to Top
  • See also building rapport

  • See also Van der Horst article about Edward T. Hall -- "A Great-Grandfather of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)" on Culture Center site

  • Communicating in Style: Discover How to Communicate with Everyone (and Like It!) (local copy), by Barrett, of PinnacleOne, presentation at 2003 CMAA National Conference, posted by GSA Project Management Center of Expertise - includes NLP as one of the methods

  • Subtle Skills for Building Rapport - Using Neuro-Linguistic Programming in the Interview Room (local copy), by Sandoval and Adams, in the FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, August 2001 - good short explanation of NLP basics (HTML version)

  • Model-Based Mind (local copy), by Kercel, Brown-VanHoozer, and VanHoozer, Oak Ridge National Lab, in Proceedings of SMC 2000: IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics. - using NLP to draw inferences and abstract meaning from data - also discusses internal decision functions, mental states, and visual, auditory, and kinesthetic cues used during interviews

  • Models of Reality (local copy), by Brown-VanHoozer, Oak Ridge National Lab, for ANNIE '99 Conference (Artificial Neural Networks in Engineering), Nov 1999 - includes discussion of
    • primary representational system (PRS) - the representational system we tend to favor most
    • feedback loops in decision strategies
    • neurological cues to thought processes
    • seven categories of an experience - "a framework from which an individual can elicit detailed descriptions of experience in order that sufficient, high quality, reproducible data, insofar as that it is possible when dealing with human subjects, is obtained for unpacking strategy patterns (Brown-VanHoozer, 1995)."
      1. External behavior - what the person is doing;
      2. Internal Computation - how that information is stored in sensory based distinctions in the brain;
      3. Internal State - what impact the experience has internally;
      4. Context - the precise situation in which the person is involved, which includes, but is not limited to: location, time, persons other than subject with whom engaged, etc.
      5. Criteria - how important the experience is in personal terms for the subject - a rank ordering;
      6. Cause-Effect - what, exactly, makes the experience occur, and
      7. Complex Equivalence - what it all means, to the individual.

  • Neuro-Linguistic Programming: A Basis for Language Learning, by Love, in The Journal of the Imagination in Language Learning and Teaching
      Some NLP Presuppositions
      1. The map is not the territory. [Our senses filter everything we experience.]
      2. What you believe either is true or becomes true.[Perceptions are individual and influence behavior.]
      3. The mind and the body affect each other.[Thought, emotions and behavior are interconnected.]
      4. Knowing what you want helps you to get it.[Identify your goals and break them down into manageable tasks.]
      5. The meaning of your communication is the response you get.[Communication is not your intention; it is an experiential process.]
      6. There is no failure, only feedback.[Stop blaming yourself if something isn't working. Try something else!]
      7. Communication is verbal and non-verbal.[You are always sending and receiving messages.]
      8. Modeling excellent behavior leads to excellence. [Find the model and follow the pattern.]
      9. There is a positive intention behind every behavior.[People respond in the only way they know how at the time.]

  • NLP Information Center

  • additional references
CharismaBack to Top Building RapportBack to Top Giving Effective FeedbackBack to Top Working with Difficult PeopleBack to Top MeetingsBack to Top ReadingBack to Top JournalingBack to Top

  • Soldier 360 Journaling Playbook (local copy), U.S. Army - mentions types of journaling and has wealth of topics for journaling

  • Therapeutic journaling promotes healing (local copy), U.S. Army, 26 Apr 2010
    • "The feedback I've gotten from our social workers is saying, in some cases, it is helpful for Soldiers suffering from PTSD or post-combat stress," says Maj. Christopher Blais, executive officer of the WTB [Warrior Transition Battalion].
    • In a journal, Soldiers can vent without fear of retribution, and clear their minds of stressful thoughts and memories. Journaling gives the ability to see one's thoughts from a new perspective. Once those thoughts appear on paper, they can be observed with a certain detachment, as if they belonged to another. Frequently, this new perspective helps to identify solutions that might not have been so obvious when they were just thoughts. Whether the issues involve anger, guilt, fear or other points of discomfort, one of the things that cause those feelings to swell and fester is that they are kept private.
    • A journal can be a place to vent, but more importantly, it is a place where complicated issues can be broken down to component parts. These parts can then be viewed and dealt with individually. Issues can be overwhelming when approached all at once, but little pieces of big issues can frequently be sorted through almost painlessly and before you know it, the big issues have been resolved as well. All of which helps to make molehills out of mountains.
    • Try it. Take 20 minutes, once a week. Make a list of the things that cause you the most stress. Take an item from that list and see how many elements you can find which contribute to it. After you've broken your issue down as far as possible, try to find solutions to the individual elements, rather than the issue itself, and you'll soon find that what was once overwhelming is now manageable; what was once part of a wall is now a stepping-stone.

WritingBack to Top Style GuidesBack to Top Staff WritingBack to Top

Writing for PublicationBack to Top

Writing Op-EdsBack to Top

Visual Display of InformationBack to Top
  • Hans Rosling shows the best stats you've ever seen, a talk from TED.com (but you may need to watch it on YouTube if the TED.com version won't run on your computer)
    • You've never seen data presented like this. With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, statistics guru Hans Rosling debunks myths about the so-called "developing world."

  • spiffy Tufte, Edward R. The Visual Display of Quantitative Information, Chesire, Connecticut: Graphics Press (1983, first edition; 2001, second edition) - excellent examples of display methods

  • Principles of Graphical Excellence (local copy), by Waggener, US Army War College, slides for paper presented at ALAIR, Apr 5-6, 2001 - with speaker notes for some of the slides

Fallacies in LogicBack to Top

Argumentative and Persuasive CommunicationBack to Top
  • See rhetoric

  • See Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP)

  • See inoculation theory

  • See critical thinking

  • See fallacies in logic

  • See writing a critical book review

  • See propaganda

  • See perception warfare & influence theory

  • See art of advocacy on Military Law page

  • spiffy McInerny, D. Q. (2004). Being Logical: A Guide to Good Thinking, New York, NY: Random House.

  • Cialdini, R. B. (1993). Influence: Science and practice, 3rd Ed. Glenview, IL: Scott, Foresman.

  • Persuasion Context - theories page, U. of Ky

  • Logic Tutor, by Green - FREE online tutorial system on logic

  • Argumentation-Persuasion: Logic in Argumentative Writing, Purdue Online Writing Lab

  • Essays and Arguments: A Handbook on Writing Argumentative and Interpretative Essays (local copy), by Johnston, May 2000, in public domain

  • Persuasive Speech: The Way We, Um, Talk Sways Our Listeners, Science Daily, 16 May 2011
    • "Interviewers who spoke moderately fast, at a rate of about 3.5 words per second, were much more successful at getting people to agree than either interviewers who talked very fast or very slowly," said Jose Benki, a research investigator at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR).
    • ... They found that males with higher-pitched voices had worse success than their deep-voiced colleagues. But they did not find any clear-cut evidence that pitch mattered for female interviewers.
    • The last speech characteristic the researchers examined for the study was the use of pauses. Here they found that interviewers who engaged in frequent short pauses were more successful than those who were perfectly fluent.
    • ... If interviewers made no pauses at all, they had the lowest success rates getting people to agree to do the survey. We think that's because they sound too scripted.

  • The Unexpected Influence Of An Uncertain Expert, by Martin, Inside Influence Report, 11 May 2011
    • ... But in an information saturated world where so many claim to be experts, what does the latest persuasion research tell us about which expert we should pay particular attention to? And how could such insights help when attempting to persuade others?
    • ... A series of new studies conducted by Stanford Business School’s Zak Tormala and Uma Karmarkar and published recently in the Journal of Consumer Research suggest that rather than the most confident sounding expert being the most persuasive it is often the recommendations and advice from experts that are themselves uncertain, that will be more compelling.
    • Their series of studies found that an experts’ influence over others increases when that expert expresses minor doubts about their advice and opinions. They found that this effect was particularly acute when an expert’s advice concerned subjects or situations where there was no one single clear or obvious answer.
    • ... In explaining these counter intuitive findings the researchers point out that because people generally expect experts to be certain of their opinions, when that expert signals potential uncertainties about their message people become more intrigued and drawn in to what they are saying. In effect the incongruity between the source’s expertise and their level of uncertainty makes his or her message appear more intriguing. As a result, assuming that the arguments in a message are reasonably strong, this drawing in of an audience leads to more effective persuasion.
    • ... And when it comes to persuading others about the merits and benefits of the products and proposals we have to offer, assuming our case is a strong one, it would seem sensible that rather than hide or cover up minor drawbacks and weaknesses in our case, we instead embrace them in the knowledge that they can actually make us more persuasive.

  • The Mathematics of Persuasive Communication, by Yaffe, in Chief Marketer, 14 May 2007

  • PERSUASION: What the Research Tells Us , teaching note by Yates - MIT OpenCourseWare project

  • A Rulebook for Arguments, by Anthony Weston

  • War of the Words (local copy), by Johnson, page 3 of News & Views, Sandia Labs, Jan 2005
    • Four Principles for Success in the War of Ideas
      • Be clear about whom you are speaking and avoid viewing populations monolithically
      • Be precise in your terms and avoid exaggeration
      • Seek to understand alternative viewpoints and show respect for them
      • Learn your own blind spots

  • ChangingMinds.org

  • Thinking Strategies and Writing Patterns: Persuasion, UMUC Online Writing Center
  • Logic and Argument, UVic Writer's Guide
  • Connecticut Community Collges
  • Stephen's Guide to the Logical Fallacies

  • Influence at Work - the Psychology of Persuasion
  • Primer on Persuasion and Influence

  • Shavitt, S., & Brock, T. C. (1994)(Eds.), Persuasion: Psychological insights and perspectives. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Inoculation TheoryBack to Top RhetoricBack to Top Gender DifferencesBack to Top Citing Online SourcesBack to Top PlagiarismBack to Top Phonetic AlphabetBack to Top
    Alpha
    Bravo
    Charlie
    Delta
    Echo
    Foxtrot
    Golf
    Hotel
    India
    Juliet
    Kilo
    Lima
    Mike
    November
    Oscar
    Papa
    Quebec
    Romeo
    Sierra
    Tango
    Uniform
    Victor
    Whiskey
    X-ray
    Yankee
    Zulu



Negotiation Skills
Mediation and Facilitation
Consensus Building
Crisis Negotiation and Hostage Negotiation
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)Back to Top

Above topic areas have moved to the Negotiation Center of Excellence





English as a Second Language (ESL)Back to Top

Above topic area has moved to the Culture and Language Center





Cross-Cultural Communication, including nonverbalsBack to Top

Above topic area has moved to the Culture and Language Center







[return to top]