Communications for Technologists

Authors: Jason Alba, Doru Catana, Fran Gilbane, Rich Gilbane, Boris Hristov, Alan Ackmann, Amber Israelsen, Casey Ayers, Stephen Haunts, John Papa, Heather Ackmann, Rob Conery

Technology careers require more than just being knowledgeable in a particular tech field. Technologists must also possess excellent communication skills. This path is intended to... Read more

Verbal Communications

This section is all about effective verbal communication. You'll learn tips on communicating in a crisis, how to become a better listener, and how grammar, jargon, and articulation can affect your communication skills.


Crisis Communication and Technology: Communicating with Colleagues

by Alan Ackmann

Oct 1, 2015 / 2h 43m

Beginner • 2h 43m

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Crisis communication is one of the most challenging communication types an organization or individual can face, bringing together emotional vulnerability, ethical challenges, and high-stakes decisions amplified by informational and persuasive goals. When managed well, this communication can neutralize and calm an evolving crisis. When managed poorly, though, crisis communication makes a situation worse. This course takes viewers through the most important parts of preparing for crisis communication, including understanding crisis types and strategies, preparing foundational documents, and how to create communication in the moment. By the end of the course, viewers will have a concrete understanding of how to manage crisis communication for their own organizations, providing invaluable insight and immediate benefit.

Table of contents
  1. Topic Introduction and Course Overview
    21m 2s
  2. Anticipating and Preparing for a Crisis
    34m 23s
  3. Responding to a Crisis
    29m 20s
  4. Examples of Crisis Communication
  5. Developing a Crisis Management Plan
    20m 37s
  6. The Ethics of Internal Crisis Communication
    14m 7s
  7. Course and Crisis Conclusion
    13m 22s

Becoming a Better Listener

by Jason Alba

Feb 23, 2015 / 1h 36m

Beginner • 1h 36m

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The ideas in this course can help you communicate better by listening better. We cover ideas that you can incorporate right now! You can improve your active listening skills, show people you care about them and their message, and have better relationships.

Table of contents
  1. The What and Why of Listening
    24m 52s
  2. Improve Your Active Listening Skills
    29m 20s
  3. Active Listening Skills Tips and Systems
    20m 13s
  4. Helping Others Listen to You
    21m 37s

Being a Better Communicator: Grammar, De-jargoning, and Articulation

by Alan Ackmann

Aug 14, 2017 / 1h 26m

Intermediate • 1h 26m

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Communicating as an expert can be a difficult task. Often, it seems like the deeper technology professionals get into their fields, the harder it becomes to communicate that expertise to others. In this course, Being a Better Communicator: Grammar, De-jargoning, and Articulation, you'll learn a set of strategies for understanding your communication goals and audiences, and a set of complementary strategies for achieving those goals. First, you'll dive into how to communicate efficiently with non-experts or end-users, and individuals who share your expertise. Next, you'll explore how to backup interpersonal communication with strong writing habits. Finally, you'll develop a thorough understanding of the most common communication mistakes. By the end of this course, you'll be able to enter any communication situation and tailor your approach accordingly.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 13s
  2. Why Communicate (And How)?
    15m 18s
  3. Communicating with Non-experts
    11m 1s
  4. Communicating in Specialist and Leadership Contexts
    7m 45s
  5. Common Communication Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
    22m 36s
  6. Written and Verbal Communication, Hand-in-hand
    22m 30s
  7. Communication Strategies Going Forward
    5m 59s

Written Communications

Being able to write effectively is a huge advantage in many jobs. Learn tips on how to write clearly and concisely in your workplace.


Writing Process Instructions and Directions

by Alan Ackmann

Aug 15, 2014 / 1h 28m

Beginner • 1h 28m

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Process instructions and directions are some of the most common kinds of writing for IT professionals, whether they’re incidental responses to things like email queries or full-fledged manuals. This course covers writing an introduction to a set of instructions, managing safety warnings, formatting and presenting individual steps, analyzing the audience and situation, working with visuals, and developing a troubleshooting section.

Table of contents
  1. Understanding Process Instruction Basics
    24m 31s
  2. Drafting the Introduction to Process Instructions
    20m 29s
  3. Drafting the Body to Process Instructions
    27m 10s
  4. Drafting the Process Instruction Conclusion
    16m 42s

Fundamentals of Written Proposals

by Alan Ackmann

May 6, 2014 / 2h 37m

Beginner • 2h 37m

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Fundamentals of Written Proposals covers how to create, develop, and eventually write a technical or business proposal. Specific modules cover the role of proposals in professional culture, different types of proposals, common persuasive techniques and strategies, main and secondary sections of an unsolicited proposal, and how to critically read and develop a solicited proposal.

Table of contents
  1. Understanding Proposal Basics
    23m 26s
  2. Understanding the Context and Strategy of Your Proposal
    29m 25s
  3. Main Proposal Sections
    49m 11s
  4. Secondary Proposal Sections
    30m 34s
  5. Developing an External Proposal
    24m 36s

Effective Email Communication

by Jason Alba

Oct 3, 2013 / 1h 33m

Beginner • 1h 33m

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In this course you will learn how to set up your email messages to increase the chances of being opened and responded to, and have the maximum impact on the reader. As you go through this course you will learn how to set up things in your email client, and construct appropriate and impactful messages. You'll learn how to interact with others as well as reply to complex emails.

Table of contents
  1. Effective Email Communication - Building The Right Foundation
    46m 4s
  2. Effective Email Communication - Example Email Messages
    21m 21s
  3. Effective Email Communication - Additional Thoughts and Wrap-up
    26m 9s

Writing in the Workplace: Email, Memos, Reports, and Social Messaging

by Alan Ackmann

Mar 3, 2016 / 3h 42m

Beginner • 3h 42m

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Writing in the workplace is often thought of as something coming in short bursts, or associated with major initiatives. The bulk of workplace writing, though, happens on a sustained, daily basis in the form of emails, memos, interoffice social communication, and routine informal reports. The average worker, regardless of field, generates 10-15 pages of writing a week. Proficiency with and understanding of these writing tasks will increase workplace efficiency and productivity, as well as the ultimate value of the writing itself. This course covers the most common, repeatable types of internal office communication, how to create this writing, and how to revise it for maximum impact and value.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 21s
  2. The Traits and Functions of Workplace Writing
    49m 40s
  3. Interacting via Email
  4. Developing Routine and Sensitive Memos
    24m 39s
  5. Understanding Informal Reports
    7m 51s
  6. Field and Trip Reports
    13m 56s
  7. Incident Reports: Documenting When Something Goes Wrong
    20m 47s
  8. Test Reports: Presenting Experiments and Diagnostics
    12m 41s
  9. Investigative Reports: Communicating Different Options
    12m 56s
  10. Progress Reports: Keeping Supervisors Informed About a Project
    22m 59s
  11. Meeting Minutes
    14m 57s
  12. Internal Social Media Platforms: Using Office Instant Messaging
    10m 56s
  13. Your Main Takeaways: Conclusion and Additional Resources
    9m 8s

Technical Writing: Documentation on Software Projects

by Amber Israelsen

Jul 20, 2016 / 3h 48m

Beginner • 3h 48m

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The term "technical writing" can mean many different things, depending on your field and role. But at its core, it’s about communicating information. In this course, Technical Writing: Documentation on Software Projects, you'll learn how to write documentation for a software project, including requirements, the architecture document, code documentation, test plans and test cases, and end-user documentation. First, you'll learn how important documentation is in the world of software and how the writing process works. Then, you'll learn some tips and best practices for writing clearly and efficiently. Finally, you'll learn about common documents on a software project. When you're finished with this course, you'll have a foundational understanding of technical writing and how to communicate effectively on a software project.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 28s
  2. Introduction to Technical Writing
    16m 54s
  3. The Writing Process
    28m 13s
  4. Writing Tips and Best Practices
    32m 54s
  5. Layout and Design
    39m 1s
  6. Deliverables: Requirements
  7. Deliverables: Design/Architecture
    12m 53s
  8. Deliverables: Code Documentation
    20m 11s
  9. Deliverables: Test Plans and Test Cases
    15m 48s
  10. Deliverables: End-user Documentation
    15m 56s
  11. Conclusion and Additional Resources
    11m 39s

Avoiding Common Writing Mistakes

by Casey Ayers

Feb 6, 2017 / 1h 42m

Beginner • 1h 42m

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You might be a leading expert in your field, but if you can't write with clarity and accuracy, you're much less likely to reach your full potential. In this course, Avoiding Common Writing Mistakes, you'll learn about the value of effective writing and how to avoid some of the most common writing mistakes. Then, you'll learn how to use punctuation and structure sentences effectively. Finally, you'll learn how to convert these skills into workplace success. When you're finished with this course, you'll be better equipped to avoid the most common writing mistakes and pitfalls, and to represent yourself, your work, and your ideas more effectively.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 43s
  2. The Value of Effective Writing
    4m 5s
  3. Enemies of Effective Writing
    18m 30s
  4. Effective Punctuation
    28m 53s
  5. Effective Sentence Structuring
    13m 53s
  6. Common Mistakes with Words
    22m 58s
  7. Converting Skills to Success
    11m 58s

Communications for Better Technology Deployments

by Doru Catana

Oct 3, 2016 / 3h 31m

Beginner • 3h 31m

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At the core of all successful products, there is a solid communications plan. This course, Communications for Better Technology Deployments, aims to offer a complete understanding of how to create a comprehensive communication plan that works for you. First, you will learn the fundamentals of good communication and why it's so important, and then you will go through all the steps required for a successful product launch. You'll learn how to keep your management consistent and you'll finish by going over techniques for impeccable customer support. The course tackles basic principles such as why you should communicate in the first place, moving onto how to discuss channels and the message itself. All of these principles come with a strong emphasis on practical examples and tools so that you can implement what you learned. By the end of this course, you'll not only be able to create a detailed, high-quality action plan for your communications, but you'll also be better equipped to execute it gracefully.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 43s
  2. Introduction
    8m 54s
  3. Prelaunch
    53m 55s
  4. The Launch
    1h 23m 51s
  5. Ongoing Management
    48m 17s
  6. Support
    14m 26s

Remote and Team Communications

With dispersed and remote working becoming more prevalent, it will become increasingly more important to stay connected with colleagues. This section is all about effective remote and team communications.


Effective Phone Skills

by Jason Alba

Jul 9, 2014 / 1h 19m

Beginner • 1h 19m

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In this course, you will learn how to prepare better for different types of phone calls. You will understand the power of your body language and how you use your voice during calls. You will learn about the power of follow-up, and how to respond to uncomfortable situations.

Table of contents
  1. Effective Phone Skills: Fundamental Phone Skills
    29m 2s
  2. Effective Phone Skills: Mastering the Phone Call
    31m 25s
  3. Effective Phone Skills: Beyond the Phone Call
    19m 9s

Help Desk Essentials: Customer Interaction

by Fran Gilbane, Rich Gilbane

Jan 5, 2016 / 3h 24m

Beginner • 3h 24m

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This course will help improve the soft skills and customer service skills of both new and existing IT help desk employees.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction
    3m 32s
  2. Perceptions
    26m 37s
  3. Language
  4. Communication
    29m 17s
  5. Call Opening
    17m 38s
  6. The Body of the Call
    40m 34s
  7. Closing the Call
    18m 37s
  8. After the Call
    22m 1s

VoIP and Web Calls: Tips for Better Remote Communications

by Amber Israelsen

Feb 24, 2017 / 1h 23m

Beginner • 1h 23m

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With more and more employees working remotely, remote communication skills have become increasingly important. This is especially true of VoIP or web-calls. However, in a world full of distractions, deadlines, competing time zones, and a dizzying array of tools, how can you maximize the time you have on these calls? How can you effectively transition from communicating face-to-face with someone in an office to communicating with someone who's perhaps half a world away? In this course, VoIP and Web Calls: Tips for Better Remote Communications, you'll learn this and much more. First you'll learn how to prepare for the call. Then you'll learn how to effectively lead or participate in the call. Finally you'll explore the actions to take after the call is complete. When you're finished with this course, you'll have a solid understanding of remote communications and how they can help you move forward as an effective communicator in your field.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 45s
  2. Course Introduction
    7m 40s
  3. Before the Call: Scheduling and Preparing
    23m 40s
  4. During the Call: Managing and Participating
    33m 37s
  5. After the Call: Summarizing and Following Up
    9m 6s
  6. Course Summary and Next Steps
    8m 9s

How to Run Effective Meetings

by Stephen Haunts

Nov 10, 2015 / 1h 42m

Beginner • 1h 42m

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In this course, you will discover how to plan, lead, and participate in formal or informal meetings and how to make them more productive and successful. You will learn how to save time and resources by ensuring that meetings support business needs. The course has the following objectives: to identify the best reasons for holding meetings, prepare for meetings more thoroughly, draw up action-cantered agendas, apply the skills of chairing, leading, facilitating, and participating, and finally, structure and manage conversations in meetings for maximum effectiveness.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction
    2m 31s
  2. Why Have Meetings?
    18m 29s
  3. Planning and Preparation
    27m 2s
  4. Running the Meeting
    42m 35s
  5. Course Summary
    11m 24s

Employee Course: Difficult Conversations and Friendlier Workplaces

by Fran Gilbane, Rich Gilbane

Apr 4, 2017 / 3h 6m

Beginner • 3h 6m

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Life can be difficult and situations, both at work and in your personal life, can have a negative impact not only on how you feel about your job but also on your ability to perform to the required standard. The outcome of this is often a difficult conversation with either your manager or your colleagues. In this course, Employee Course: Difficult Conversations and Friendlier Workplaces, you'll learn how to create a friendlier workplace and to enable you to have those conversations with your colleagues and managers about those sensitive topics. First, you'll explore how to improve your interpersonal skills. Next, you'll discover how to understand your manager and managing your emotions. Finally, you'll learn how to handle a difficult conversation with managers. By the end of this course, you'll know how to engage with your colleagues and manager more effectively.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 43s
  2. Understanding Business
    21m 16s
  3. Appreciating Why Friendly Work Environments Matter
  4. Improving Your Interpersonal Skills
    18m 18s
  5. Understanding Your Manager
    10m 59s
  6. Managing Your Emotions
    21m 17s
  7. Managing Difficult Conversations with Colleagues
    43m 34s
  8. Handling Difficult Conversations with Managers
    52m 32s
  9. Course Summary
    8m 2s

End-user Communications for Better IT

by Heather Ackmann

May 17, 2017 / 2h 37m

Beginner • 2h 37m

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Every day on the job you interact with people who do not share your background knowledge and opinions. Therefore, communicating a single message consistently to a diverse groups of end users is critically important, as is developing a coherent strategy for delivering that message through a multi-tiered, end-user communication campaign. In this course, End-user Communications for Better IT, you'll learn how to accomplish this across a variety of mediums, be it in print, in-person presentations, or in pre-recorded videos. First, you'll discover how to build a communication strategy. Next, you'll learn how that communication strategy encompasses a variety of persuasive, emotional, as well as informative and instructive appeals to get the job done. Finally, you'll explore how to accomplish this across a variety of mediums. After watching this course, you'll be able to effectively keep end-users up-to-speed on the latest IT implementations.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
  2. Introduction
    9m 28s
  3. Strategizing Goals for End-user Communication
    41m 46s
  4. Developing End-user Written Communication
    15m 30s
  5. End-user Communications and In-person Presentations
    54m 2s
  6. Communicating with End-users in Video
    20m 31s
  7. Building an End-user Communication Structure
    14m 14s

Visual Communications and Presentations

This section will cover the topics of presentation design, public speaking, and creating technical drawings.


Visual Communication: Creating Engaging and Effective Technical Diagrams

by Amber Israelsen

Jul 31, 2017 / 1h 39m

Beginner • 1h 39m

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Have you ever struggled to create a technical diagram to share with your manager or team? Or have you been the recipient of a diagram that was convoluted, ugly and difficult to understand? If so, this course is for you. In this course, Visual Communication: Creating Engaging and Effective Technical Diagrams, you'll learn how to define the goal and overall design for your diagram. First, you'll be guided through common components of a diagram and basic visual design principles to make your diagram understandable and engaging. Next, you'll discover the benefits of testing your diagram to ensure it's legible and makes sense to your reader. Finally, you'll see heavy use of before-and-after examples to demonstrate what to do and what not to do. When you're finished with this course, you'll have a foundational understanding of visual communication and how to use it to make your own technical diagrams more effective and engaging.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    2m 6s
  2. Introduction
    10m 51s
  3. Where to Begin: Goals and Overall Diagram Design
    15m 16s
  4. Getting It on Paper: Common Diagram Components
    12m 38s
  5. Getting It on Paper: Visual Design Fundamentals
    26m 2s
  6. Testing: Have We Met the Goal?
    10m 51s
  7. Diagram Makeovers: From Bad to Better
    14m 24s
  8. Course Summary and Next Steps
    7m 34s

Introduction to Presentation Design

by Boris Hristov

Dec 29, 2014 / 1h 6m

Beginner • 1h 6m

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Design matters; it always did! What's more, it matters in everything and that remains true even for our presentations. Your slide deck can be "The Thing" that will make you stand out from the other speakers. In this course, you will learn the top 10 fundamental principles of good presentation design and how you can apply them for each and every presentation you deliver. The course is intended not only for people who are just starting their adventures in public speaking, but also for presenters and trainers who already have experience in delivering presentations. Design is hard though, really hard. So get ready for the challenge, and let's all - together - learn how to teach and deliver our message in the most simplistic way possible.

Table of contents
  1. Introduction to Presentation Design
    3m 10s
  2. Going Analog First
    4m 48s
  3. Restraint and Simplicity
    11m 43s
  4. Images
    15m 4s
  5. Fonts
    7m 51s
  6. Colors, Charts and Bars
    13m 4s
  7. The 3 Where Principles
    8m 12s
  8. Summary
    2m 23s

The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations

by John Papa

May 2, 2013 / 2h 27m

Beginner • 2h 27m

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Tell a story, engage the audience, leave them inspired. This course provides a road-map for delivering effective presentations and motivating an audience through forming your message, designing visuals and demos, preparing for the unexpected, and effective delivery strategies. By the end of this course, you will learn many techniques on how to become a more effective presenter.

Table of contents
  1. Public Speaking
    5m 49s
  2. Finding and Crafting Your Message
    26m 48s
  3. Tell Your Story
    23m 17s
  4. Organizing Your Flow and Your Visuals
    30m 23s
  5. Demos
    23m 23s
  6. Preparing for A Series of Unfortunate Events
    13m 45s
  7. Emotional Intelligence and Communication
    5m 8s
  8. Effective Delivery
    13m 52s
  9. Epic Successes and Failures
    4m 45s

Speaking Fundamentals

by Rob Conery

Aug 16, 2014 / 4h 9m

Beginner • 4h 9m

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In this course, Scott Hanselman and Rob Conery go deep into what it takes to present a solid technical presentation - beyond the basic You-Shoulds and Remember-To-Always pointers and get deep into the concepts behind a solid talk.

Table of contents
  1. Inspiration
    1h 5m 55s
  2. Preparation
    1h 26m 21s
  3. At the Venue
    20m 53s
  4. Execution
    1h 10m 41s
  5. Evaluation
    5m 55s

Presenting to the Boss(es)

by Jason Alba

Jan 21, 2016 / 2h 7m

Beginner • 2h 7m

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In this course, we talk about concepts and techniques to help make your critical presentations as good as they can be, and to not miss opportunities after your presentation. In the first module, we focus on preparing for the presentation, from stories to your first impression to researching the audience. In the second module, we talk about the actual presentation, including tips from my perspective as a professional speaker. In the third module, we talk about debriefing and follow-up, and ensuring that you don't let opportunities slip through your fingers.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview
    1m 52s
  2. Preparing for an Outstanding Presentation
    42m 4s
  3. Optimizing the Presentation
    52m 37s
  4. Debriefing and Follow-up After the Presentation
    30m 35s

What you will learn

  • Verbal communication
  • Written communication
  • Remote and team communications
  • Visual Communications and Presentations


There are no prerequisites for this path.