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COM 64 — Creative Communication Using Design Thinking

Quarter: Fall
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Sep 22—Nov 10
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Drop Deadline: Sep 24
Unit: 1
Tuition: $475
Instructor(s): Matt Abrahams, Brendan Boyle
Limit: 25
Status: Closed
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Sep 22—Nov 10
8 weeks
Drop By
Sep 24
1 Unit
Matt Abrahams, Brendan Boyle
Please Note: Some of our refund deadlines have changed. See this course's drop deadline above and click here for the full policy.
We are constantly bombarded by distracting information, making it increasingly difficult to separate signal from noise. How can our messages—presentations, pitches, meeting contributions, interpersonal interactions—stand out? How can we cut through the clutter and get our points across in a way that is meaningful, but also fun and engaging? By applying best practices from design thinking and communication theory, we will learn and practice specific techniques that help us achieve our communication goals and make sure our messages attract attention. Informed by scholarly research and decades of applied experience, this course will provide guidance on not only crafting creative messages but also delivering those communications in a confident and engaging manner. By blending design thinking’s five stages with the transactional model of communication, we will identify and employ specific best practices for creating concise, audience-centric messages that are memorable and actionable. We will then apply these learnings to specific communication situations such as pitching, presenting, and remote communication (e.g., webinar or teleconference), along with interpersonal situations such as conflict and feedback. Students will practice and implement the techniques in class. The class experience will be highly interactive and collaborative, and we will leverage tools like digital recordings, rapid prototype mock-ups, and peer feedback to iterate and hone our learnings.

Prerequisite: Advanced-level proficiency in spoken English. Also note that these class sessions will not be recorded.

Matt Abrahams, Lecturer, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Matt Abrahams is an educator and coach who has published research articles on cognitive planning, persuasion, and interpersonal communication. He is the author of Speaking Up without Freaking Out, and a co-founder and principal at BoldEcho Communication Solutions. He received an MA in communication from UC Davis. Abrahams is also the host of the Stanford GSB podcast Think Fast, Talk Smart.

Brendan Boyle, Toy Inventor; Adjunct Professor, Stanford d.school; Partner, IDEO

Brendan Boyle believes that play is the key to innovation and has spoken to creative leaders, entrepreneurs, and students about the importance of playful exploration and risk-taking. He founded and leads the IDEO Play Lab. Boyle also consults with companies about redesigning their organizational behavior to include space for play. He created and co-teaches the course "From Play to Innovation" at Stanford d.school, and co-authored The Klutz Book of Inventions. He received an MS from the Joint Program in Design at Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Tom Kelly and David Kelly, Creative Confidence: Unleashing the Creative Potential Within Us All (ISBN 978-0385349369)
(Required) Matt Abrahams, Speaking Up without Freaking Out, 3rd (ISBN 978-1465290472)