THE COMMUNICATION COURSE
You're a manager, a leader. Communication is at the heart of what you do. Master the tools you need to set the strong foundation you need for the rest of your leadership career.
The Communication Course is an eight week online course based on decades of experience managing and coaching leaders in growth companies in San Francisco and world wide.
This isn’t theoretical. The skills and techniques in this course stem from a twenty year management career in startups, and half a decade of coaching leaders in high-growth tech companies in San Francisco and worldwide.
WHO YOU ARE
You're managing a team in a tech company. Conversations, meetings, presentations, email and text are the heart of what you do.
You want to master your craft as a manager now, a year from now, and into the future.
You want to be able to really connect when you speak, to be effective in difficult conversations and influence through your communication.
You want to learn, and fast!
WHAT YOU WILL LEARN
The three components of communication and when each component is most effective.
How to "drive emotion" by using metaphor and stories.
Which mediums to use for which audience: face to face video, presentations, voice, email and chat.
How to navigate difficult conversations: the tools that will keep you on track to a successful outcome.
How to become comfortable with giving and getting feedback, so it's an integrated, efficient and effective part of your style.
How to use the "executive style" for communicating up and out to build influence and presence.
How to build your "power persona" for effective presentations.
Much more as it comes up in interactive workshops.
I'm Joe Dunn.
I joined my first startup before college, my second immediately after graduating, and never left the startup world through my operating career.
I've been through massive expansion, IPOs, difficult downturns, serious successes and some spectacular failures. If you are at any stage of growth from Series A to a public company, I've been there.
In the current phase of my working life, I coach leaders in the startup world in San Francisco, guiding them through the journey of scaling and growth.
This course is a distillation of the learning I have built around scaling: your company, and yourself as a leader.
Each week you will receive video presentations on a specific topic, readings around the topic and practice worksheets.
After your self-study during the week, we will meet in an interactive workshop for discussion and further guided practice and coaching.
The time commitment per week is up to you! I would expect that to fully cover the video presentation and reading will be a couple of hours, with the workshop being an additional hour to hour and a half.
GROUP COACHING WORKSHOPS
The weekly Group Coaching Workships are an opportunity to dig deeply into the subject matter, discuss the results of practice during the week, and look at edge cases.
Each workshop will include a brief review of the weekly topic, a discussion of your experience with the topic, and interactive exercises to stretch your understanding.
The workshops will be interactive: biased towards discussion and practice, with slides kept to a minumum!
How do we learn? Practice! Management and leadership are, above all, practical crafts, best learned by doing.
Each week the course will suggest practices to try in your daily work.
You will be encouraged to reflect on how your practice is going through the online cohort community.
The cohort for the course will be kept to a maximum of fifteen people. I very much encourage people from diverse backgrounds to be part of this experience.
We learn better together, so connection is encouraged, through an online community specifically for this course and cohort.
I love giving feedback as the work progresses, so will be online daily checking in, helping and encouraging where i can!
Each week we will spend time together discussing, investigating and practicing the topic for the week. The workshops will be interactive and biased towards discussion and practice.
WHAT WE COMMUNICATE
We communicate far more than information, and we use many more tools than just the words we speak or write.
We will look at breaking down communication into three basic "bands", and discuss when to amplify, or tone down, each "band".
We will explore the different tools we have available for expression: words, of course, but also tone, gesture, stories and metaphor.
Great communication is inherently two-way. Which means great listening is as important as great expression.
You will learn a model of what happens (and, more usually, what doesn't) when we listen and how to use it to pay attention to, and build our skills in listening in real time.
We'll practice listening!
Why difficult conversations are hard, and how that knowledge allows us to do the hardest thing which is to have them when we need to!
You will learn how to go into a difficult conversation in the most effective way, and stay on track as the conversation develops.
We will discuss what is "the conversation underneath the conversation"- the one which is making the interaction hard to navigate.
GIVING AND GETTING FEEDBACK
How to approach a feedback conversation (positive or critical) so it starts well.
How to handle the conversation when you encounter strong emotions (or none at all).
What to do when the feedback doesn't land - there is no behavior change, or agreement on the problem to be solved.
Positive feedback! It's nothing but a good thing if done well: how to do it well!
COMMUNICATION AND INFLUENCE
Learn the Basic Rules (or, at least, my Basic Rules) of the "executive style" for communicating up and out.
We will discuss how influence works and what style of communication is likely to increase your influence in the organization.
Communicating out: how much, to who, when. And, of course, why?
DRIVING EMOTION: STORIES AND METAPHOR
Emotion moves an audience, or a partner in a conversation. Stories and metaphors drive emotion.
Learn the basic elements of a great story and how and when to move to a story-telling style.
We will experiment with metaphor and how you can use metaphor to make arguments, clarify positions and move a conversation.
PRESENCE: WHO IS COMMUNICATING?
Presence is hard to define, but we know it when we see it. This week we will look at what it means to you and how you want to develop it.
Presence is not all volume, size and aggression - in fact, sometimes those things are the opposite of presence. A discussion.
What is your strength? How does that come across? You will learn some specific actions you can take to build on your strenghts to form a solid, influential persona?
REFLECTIONS AND OUTCOMES
We will review your essay or presentation on your communication journey.
What have your learned? What is still be to worked with?
What practices will you be taking with you, and how will you sustain them?
Future reading and resources.
WORKING WITH ME
Head of Eng, Plaid
My growth as a leader has benefited tremendously from Joe's coaching.
I recommend Joe to leaders of any level who want to make a step function change in their leadership capabilities.
Hollie Wegman, Technology Marketing Leader
As an experienced Marketing exec, Joe was a joy to work with.
I would strongly recommend him as a coach if you are looking to scale your executive presence and leadership.
Tido Carriero, Chief Product Development Officer at Segment
I worked with Joe as I began my VP Eng role at Segment. He was incredibly helpful in solving some of the most challenging problems I was facing.
If you get a chance to work with him, you should do it!
Larry Gadea, Founder and CEO, Envoy
I’ve loved working with Joe. I know that I can always count on him when having any form of management questions or ‘is this normal’ scenarios that come in my Founder/CEO position at Envoy.
I’d definitely recommend anybody going through extreme company growth to consider him — he’ll just make it that much easier!