UCLA Extension

Becoming a More Effective Communicator in Your Organizational Roles

An 18-Hour Short Course

Communication skills are essential in all organizational roles. Moving from a technical role to a supervisory or managerial role, however, requires additional skills and expertise in communicating with others from different professional groups, hierarchical positions, or cultural backgrounds.

Complete Details

This course is designed to enhance your personal success in a wide range of organizational settings and focuses on the development of communication skills in interpersonal relationships, committee and team meetings, technical briefings, and public presentations. It addresses a wide range of topics, including such important issues as:

  • Why communication is so vitally important in contemporary business settings
  • The importance of interpersonal communication in the workplace
  • The importance of workgroup dynamics in meeting organizational objectives
  • Planning for and managing meetings
  • Learning how to analyze, research, and organize your arguments
  • Developing strategies for refuting arguments offered by others
  • Effective workplace presentations and technical briefings
  • Listening skills
  • Managing effective electronic communications
  • Strategies for empowering your subordinates
  • Managing “difficult” people
  • Appreciating diversity
  • Communicating leadership

Participants learn through lectures, discussions, and case studies, but the real focus is on learning to create and communicate ideas through oral communication exercises. Participants interact in group meetings, in impromptu presentations, and in formal technical reports that are captured on video and critiqued by the instructors and fellow participants.

Course Materials

Lecture notes are distributed on the first day of the course. These notes are for participants only and are not for sale.

Coordinator and Lecturer

Thomas A. Hollihan, PhD, Professor, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Dr. Hollihan works with top executives and technical professionals in areas such as enhancing communication effectiveness, improving executive team communication, communication strategies, and organizational advocacy. His recent clients include ALCOA, Douglas Aircraft, the Los Angeles Times, and McDonnell Douglas Finance Corporation. He is the author of the book Arguments and Arguing: The Products and Processes of Human Decision Making (St. Martin’s Press). He also has published articles in numerous communication journals.


Patricia Riley, PhD, Director, School of Communication, Annenberg School for Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Dr. Riley specializes in organizational communication and politics, and investigating changing organizational cultures through large-scale organizational transformation efforts and new information technologies. Her clients include Boeing, TRW, Qualcomm, Honeywell, Raytheon, and the California State University system. Dr. Riley has received several research awards and has obtained numerous grants in the areas of communication infrastructure for healthcare improvement, including IBM’s Institute of Knowledge Management and the Packard Foundation. She also is the academic coordinator for the UCLA Extension Leadership Program for Women.

For more information contact the Short Course Program Office:
shortcourses@uclaextension.edu | (310) 825-3344 | fax (310) 206-2815