15.280 | Fall 2016 | Graduate

Communication for Managers


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 1 session / week, 1.5 hours / session

Labs: 10 sessions total, 1.5 hours / session

Recitations: 1 session / week, 1 hour / session


Permission of instructor

Course Objectives

Communication for Leaders is intended to help you:

  • Think strategically about communication.
  • Sharpen your writing, presentation, and interpersonal communication skills within a managerial setting.

We will look at a range of successful practices and guidelines that have been derived from both research and experience, give you the opportunity to develop and practice your skills, and provide you with feedback to help you strengthen them.


Overall, we will use a workshop format for 15.280 that relies heavily on discussion and practical exercises. Lab extends the work of the Class by emphasizing communication, leadership, and personal effectiveness skill‐ building and supports the efforts of each team throughout the semester. Importantly we have structured 15.280 to allow you to, where possible, practice a leadership communication skill and receive feedback on it prior to demonstrating that skill for a graded assignment. This model allows you to incorporate feedback you have received and shows the importance of prior preparation and rehearsal in the development of the leadership communication skills taught in 15.280. As such homework and assignments in 15.280 Class and Lab build upon one another. For example, your Persuasive Presentation Assignment is the equivalent to a 15.280 mid‐term. We support your success in this assignment by requiring homework and related assignments that will help you build and refine the argument you will put forth in your Persuasive Presentation.

Participation and Homework

15.280 Communication for Leaders is designed to be a highly interactive class and lab. The more prepared and invested you are in what happens in each session, the more you will learn and the more others will learn from you. Importantly the ability to prepare in advance—be that specific Homework or Readings and participate in an open discussion of ideas and incorporate that discussion in some way (accept, reject, modify, etc.) into your own view of the topic is an important leadership skill. Over the course of the semester, you will develop your own portfolio of participation in Class and in Lab. You can excel in this area if you complete work assigned in advance, are on time, stay through to the end, and prepare to contribute in the following ways:

  • Provide strong evidence of having prepared in advance—including completion of Homework and Readings
  • Share learning from preparation and advance the discussion by contributing insightful comments
  • Offer constructive feedback with your peers when appropriate
  • Listen attentively and demonstrate interest in your peers’ comments, questions, and / or presentations. Because attendance is critical to learning and since many exercises are designed around group / team work, if you incur an unexcused absence in 15.280, your participation grade for that Class and / or Lab will be zero.


Persuasive Writing Assignment 10%
Persuasive Presentation Assignment 20%
Team Presentation with Q&A 20%
Reflection Report 10%
Class Attendance / Participation and Homework 20%
Lab Attendance / Participation and Homework 20%

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2016
Learning Resource Types
Presentation Assignments
Written Assignments