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SQUADRON LEADERSHIP SCHOOL Seminar 4.2 The Staff Officer as Communicator. The Great Communicator?. “I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.” - Richard Nixon (attributed). The Great Communicator.

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the great communicator
The Great Communicator?

“I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”

- Richard Nixon (attributed)

the great communicator3
The Great Communicator

“… we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight on the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…”

Winston Churchill

objectives
Objectives
  • Describe principles of effective and ineffective communications
  • Describe the seven steps in the Air Force’s communication process
  • Analyze a case study and explain how poor communication affected the mission
  • Explain the purpose and requirements of:
  • Letters of invitation and thanks
  • Award nominations
  • Official requests for support
  • Information or advocacy briefings
  • Introducing and thanking a speaker
  • Facilitating a meeting
  • Create checklists for successfully using the media listed above
characteristics of good communications
Characteristics of Good Communications

What are some characteristics of effective communication?

characteristics of good communications6
Characteristics of Good Communications

Memorable

Concise

Grammatically-correct

Engaging

Persuasive

Logical

Well-supported

Honest

Appropriate for audience

Balanced

Fair

Thorough

Well-organized

Respectful

Factual

Reasoned and unemotional

characteristics of good communications7
Characteristics of Good Communications

What are some “mortal sins” that make communication ineffective?

mortal sins of communication
Mortal Sins of Communication

Never-ending

Sneaky

Grammatically incorrect

Dull

Shoddy

Crazy

Opinionated

Dishonest

Inappropriate for audience

Slanted

Unfair

Skimpy

Disorganized

Hysterical

Full of assumptions

Disrespectful

five principles of effective communication
Five Principles of Effective Communication

FOCUS

Focused

Organized

Clear

Understandable

Supported

seven steps for effective communication
Seven Steps for Effective Communication

Support your ideas

Draft

Fight for feedback and get approval

Edit

Organize and outline

Research your topic

Analyze your purpose and audience

What is involved in each step?

What is the correct sequence?

seven steps for effective communication11
Seven Steps for Effective Communication

Analyze your purpose and audience

Research your topic

Support your ideas

Organize and outline

Draft

Edit

Fight for feedback and get approval

review of test data indicates conservatism for tile penetration
Review Of Test Data Indicates Conservatism for Tile Penetration
  • The existing SOFI on tile test data used to create Crater was reviewed along with STS-107 Southwest Research data
    • Crater overpredicted penetration of tile coating significantly
      • Initial penetration to described by normal velocity
        • Varies with volume/mass of projectile (e.g., 200ft/sec for 3cu. In)
      • Significant energy is required for the softer SOFI particle to penetrate the relatively hard tile coating
        • Test results do show that it is possible at sufficient mass and velocity
      • Conversely, once tile is penetrated SOFI can cause significant damage
        • Minor variations in total energy (above penetration level) can cause significant tile damage
    • Flight condition is significantly outside of test database
      • Volume of ramp is 1920cu in vs 3 cu in for test

This is a facsimile of a slide prepared by Boeing on 2/21/03

common communication projects
Common Communication Projects

Group Project:

1. When would you be tasked with such a project? Give 3 specific examples.

2. What information would you include, or what guidelines would you follow? Create a checklist.

3. What pitfalls should you avoid? What are the “mortal sins” in this communication medium?

4. Present your findings to the class

Written

Invitation letter

Thank you letter

Award nomination

Request for support

Oral

Oral briefing

Introducing a speaker

Thanking a speaker

Facilitating a meeting

letter of invitation
Letter of Invitation

Sample Occasions:

Come be a guest speaker

Come present a Mitchell Award

Come teach at our encampment

Mortal Sins:

Sending the letter too late

Not following up

Spelling errors

Checklist:

Timely

Brief

Get to the point. What do you want from me?

Cover obvious logistical issues

How does this relate to the “big picture”?

People support people, not programs

Coordinate with their staff

Promise to follow up by phone

thank you letter
Thank You Letter

Mortal Sins:

Sending the letter too late

Not sending one

Asking for another favor in the same letter

Sample Occasions:

Thanks for being a guest speaker

Thanks for your donation

Thanks for lending us a hand

Checklist:

Timely

Brief

Sincere; mention something memorable about their contribution

Signature: Your boss

Recipient: Their boss

Think you should send one? Then you need to!

award nomination
Award Nomination

Sample Occasions:

Annual CAP awards

CAP Commander’s Commendations

College-bound cadets / letters of reference

Mortal Sins:

Not presenting the nominee in a favorable light

Missing the deadline

Checklist:

Honest

Brief

Your relationship to the nominee; strength of your perspective

Factual and specific -- cite examples

Demonstrate they meet the minimum criteria

Don’t go over the top with praise

request for support
Request for Support

Mortal Sins:

Sending the letter too late

Not following up

Spelling errors

Rambling on and on

Sample Occasions:

Can we host a SAREX at the state park?

Will you let us tour your facility?

Do you want to start a program with us?

Checklist:

Get to the point

What exactly do you want from me?

Why do you need my help? Why me?

Who are you?

When and where do you need help?

Have you talked with my staff?

This is getting detailed, why didn’t you ask to meet me in person first?

What happens next?

oral briefing
Oral Briefing

Mortal Sins:

Taking more time than allotted

Fumbling with computers, visual aids

Not identifying the objective

Talking to the slides, vs. the people

Not including all stakeholders

Sample Occasions:

Kicking-off a program or activity

Updating the boss on a program

Reviewing how a program went

Checklist:

Objective-driven

Concise

Honest

Thorough

Leave behind a brochure or report

Speak extemporaneously

introducing a speaker
Introducing a Speaker

Mortal Sins:

Getting the name wrong

Inappropriate humor

Stealing their thunder

Droning on forever

Sample Occasions:

Guest speaker

Visiting dignitary

Award presenter

Checklist:

Who are they?

What is their title or position?

What’s their connection to CAP or this program? Why are they speaking?

Be brief

Shake hands

Call for applause

Before taking the stage: Ensure the speaker is comfortable and knows how the event will proceed, what to expect

verbally thanking a speaker
Verbally Thanking a Speaker

Mortal Sins:

Forgetting to say thanks

Not calling for applause

Being absent or asleep during the speech

Sample Occasions:

Guest speaker

Visiting dignitary

Award presenter

Checklist:

Brief

Mention why the speaker’s content will be memorable or useful

Quote or paraphrase a small part of the speech

Shake hands

Call for applause

facilitating a meeting
Facilitating a Meeting

Mortal Sins:

Being disorganized

Running long without full consensus

Dominating the discussion

Sample Occasions:

Staff meeting

Leading a special project

Checklist:

Start on time

Outline the agenda and stick to it

Manage the conversation; allow everyone to participate

Keep the group on track

Summarize findings or decisions before moving on or concluding

Have someone take notes

Ask open-ended questions

End on time

position paper
Position Paper

Position papers are short, well-reasoned documents where you take a stand on an issue and ask the commander to act.

-- See handout.

TONGUE & QUILL:Your source for practical tips and guidelines on staff communications

final thought
Final Thought

Great communicators are leaders who “mobilize the English language and send it into battle.”