Communications for Technologists

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

What you will learn

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


There are no prerequisites for this path.

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

2h 43m

Start Course

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 Overview21m
  2. Anticipating and Preparing for a Crisis34m
  3. Responding to a Crisis29m
  4. Examples of Crisis Communication31m
  5. Developing a Crisis Management Plan20m
  6. The Ethics of Internal Crisis Communication14m
  7. Course and Crisis Conclusion13m

Becoming a Better Listener

by Jason Alba

Feb 23, 2015 / 1h 36m

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 Listening24m
  2. Improve Your Active Listening Skills29m
  3. Active Listening Skills Tips and Systems20m
  4. Helping Others Listen to You21m

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

by Alan Ackmann

Aug 14, 2017 / 1h 26m

1h 26m

Start Course

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 Overview1m
  2. Why Communicate (And How)?15m
  3. Communicating with Non-experts11m
  4. Communicating in Specialist and Leadership Contexts7m
  5. Common Communication Mistakes and How to Avoid Them22m
  6. Written and Verbal Communication, Hand-in-hand22m
  7. Communication Strategies Going Forward5m

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

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 Basics24m
  2. Drafting the Introduction to Process Instructions20m
  3. Drafting the Body to Process Instructions27m
  4. Drafting the Process Instruction Conclusion16m

Fundamentals of Written Proposals

by Alan Ackmann

May 6, 2014 / 2h 37m

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 Basics23m
  2. Understanding the Context and Strategy of Your Proposal29m
  3. Main Proposal Sections49m
  4. Secondary Proposal Sections30m
  5. Developing an External Proposal24m

Effective Email Communication

by Jason Alba

Oct 3, 2013 / 1h 33m

1h 33m

Start Course

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 Foundation46m
  2. Effective Email Communication - Example Email Messages21m
  3. Effective Email Communication - Additional Thoughts and Wrap-up26m

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

by Alan Ackmann

Mar 3, 2016 / 3h 42m

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 Overview1m
  2. The Traits and Functions of Workplace Writing49m
  3. Interacting via Email21m
  4. Developing Routine and Sensitive Memos24m
  5. Understanding Informal Reports7m
  6. Field and Trip Reports13m
  7. Incident Reports: Documenting When Something Goes Wrong20m
  8. Test Reports: Presenting Experiments and Diagnostics12m
  9. Investigative Reports: Communicating Different Options12m
  10. Progress Reports: Keeping Supervisors Informed About a Project22m
  11. Meeting Minutes14m
  12. Internal Social Media Platforms: Using Office Instant Messaging10m
  13. Your Main Takeaways: Conclusion and Additional Resources9m

Technical Writing: Documentation on Software Projects

by Amber Israelsen

Jul 20, 2016 / 3h 48m

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/design 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 Overview1m
  2. Introduction to Technical Writing16m
  3. The Writing Process28m
  4. Writing Tips and Best Practices32m
  5. Layout and Design39m
  6. Deliverables: Requirements33m
  7. Deliverables: Design/Architecture12m
  8. Deliverables: Code Documentation20m
  9. Deliverables: Test Plans and Test Cases15m
  10. Deliverables: End-user Documentation15m
  11. Conclusion and Additional Resources11m

Avoiding Common Writing Mistakes

by Casey Ayers

Feb 6, 2017 / 1h 42m

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 Overview1m
  2. The Value of Effective Writing4m
  3. Enemies of Effective Writing18m
  4. Effective Punctuation28m
  5. Effective Sentence Structuring13m
  6. Common Mistakes with Words22m
  7. Converting Skills to Success11m

Communications for Better Technology Deployments

by Doru Catana

Oct 3, 2016 / 3h 31m

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 Overview1m
  2. Introduction8m
  3. Prelaunch53m
  4. The Launch1h 23m
  5. Ongoing Management48m
  6. Support14m

Writing Better Technical Reports

by Glenn Weadock

Nov 2, 2017 / 1h 8m

1h 8m

Start Course

Technical professionals must occasionally write technical reports. Although there is no one right method for doing so, certain techniques and methods usually improve the results. In this course, Writing Better Technical Reports, you'll be encapsulated with a wide-ranging discussion of structure and style into successfully writing technical reports. First, you'll learn many of the more common writing mistakes and discover techniques for avoiding them. Next, you'll delve into a reader-oriented approach that will improve your reports' reception and effectiveness. Matters of sentence, paragraph, and document structure receive consideration here, along with tone, ambiguity, and technical jargon. Additionally, you'll explore tips specific for electronic document formats. Finally, you'll cover techniques for joining paragraphs using transitions, facilitating navigation within the report, avoiding confusing or opaque references, and exorcising bad habits, such as redundant, superfluous, and imprecise verbiage. By the end of this course, you'll have a solid understanding of how to efficiently make your technical reports leaner and more readable.

Table of contents
  1. Course Overview1m
  2. Know Your Audience10m
  3. Choose Your Words7m
  4. Build a Good Sentence10m
  5. Build a Good Paragraph7m
  6. Build a Good Document7m
  7. Use Style to Your Advantage6m
  8. Avoid Ambiguity6m
  9. Manage Jargon4m
  10. Special Concerns for e-docs6m

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

1h 19m

Start Course

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 Skills29m
  2. Effective Phone Skills: Mastering the Phone Call31m
  3. Effective Phone Skills: Beyond the Phone Call19m

Help Desk Essentials: Customer Interaction

by Fran Gilbane

Jan 5, 2016 / 3h 24m

3h 24m

Start Course

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. Introduction3m
  2. Perceptions26m
  3. Language46m
  4. Communication29m
  5. Call Opening17m
  6. The Body of the Call40m
  7. Closing the Call18m
  8. After the Call22m

VoIP and Web Calls: Tips for Better Remote Communications

by Amber Israelsen

Feb 24, 2017 / 1h 23m

1h 23m

Start Course

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 Overview1m
  2. Course Introduction7m
  3. Before the Call: Scheduling and Preparing23m
  4. During the Call: Managing and Participating33m
  5. After the Call: Summarizing and Following Up9m
  6. Course Summary and Next Steps8m

How to Run Effective Meetings

by Stephen Haunts

Nov 10, 2015 / 1h 42m

1h 42m

Start Course

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. Introduction2m
  2. Why Have Meetings?18m
  3. Planning and Preparation27m
  4. Running the Meeting42m
  5. Course Summary11m

Employee Course: Difficult Conversations and Friendlier Workplaces

by Fran Gilbane

Apr 4, 2017 / 3h 6m

3h 6m

Start Course

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 Overview1m
  2. Understanding Business21m
  3. Appreciating Why Friendly Work Environments Matter9m
  4. Improving Your Interpersonal Skills18m
  5. Understanding Your Manager10m
  6. Managing Your Emotions21m
  7. Managing Difficult Conversations with Colleagues43m
  8. Handling Difficult Conversations with Managers52m
  9. Course Summary8m

End-user Communications for Better IT

by Heather Ackmann

May 17, 2017 / 2h 37m

2h 37m

Start Course

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 Overview2m
  2. Introduction9m
  3. Strategizing Goals for End-user Communication41m
  4. Developing End-user Written Communication15m
  5. End-user Communications and In-person Presentations54m
  6. Communicating with End-users in Video20m
  7. Building an End-user Communication Structure14m

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

1h 39m

Start Course

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 Overview2m
  2. Introduction10m
  3. Where to Begin: Goals and Overall Diagram Design15m
  4. Getting It on Paper: Common Diagram Components12m
  5. Getting It on Paper: Visual Design Fundamentals26m
  6. Testing: Have We Met the Goal?10m
  7. Diagram Makeovers: From Bad to Better14m
  8. Course Summary and Next Steps7m

Introduction to Presentation Design

by Boris Hristov

Dec 29, 2014 / 1h 6m

1h 6m

Start Course

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 Design3m
  2. Going Analog First4m
  3. Restraint and Simplicity11m
  4. Images15m
  5. Fonts7m
  6. Colors, Charts and Bars13m
  7. The 3 Where Principles8m
  8. Summary2m

The Art of Public Speaking and Effective Presentations

by John Papa

May 2, 2013 / 2h 27m

2h 27m

Start Course

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 Speaking5m
  2. Finding and Crafting Your Message26m
  3. Tell Your Story23m
  4. Organizing Your Flow and Your Visuals30m
  5. Demos23m
  6. Preparing for A Series of Unfortunate Events13m
  7. Emotional Intelligence and Communication5m
  8. Effective Delivery13m
  9. Epic Successes and Failures4m

Speaking Fundamentals

by Rob Conery

Aug 16, 2014 / 4h 9m

4h 9m

Start Course

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. Inspiration1h 5m
  2. Preparation1h 26m
  3. At the Venue20m
  4. Execution1h 10m
  5. Evaluation5m

Presenting to the Boss(es)

by Jason Alba

Jan 21, 2016 / 2h 7m

2h 7m

Start Course

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 Overview1m
  2. Preparing for an Outstanding Presentation42m
  3. Optimizing the Presentation52m
  4. Debriefing and Follow-up After the Presentation30m