1. Identify and put into practice important interpersonal communication concepts studied this semester.
2. Learn about a person or organization by implementing interpersonal communication skills.
3. Conduct an interview with someone you don’t know (or don’t know well) while using these skills.
4. Work in a team, if you so choose, using positive group roles and competent, cooperative communication skills.
1. Interview the leader, manager, or president of a local, non-profit organization. This includes:
a. Researching the person/organization
b. Planning interview questions
c. Setting up an appointment to chat with the person, in-person or virtually (If you conduct the interview virtually, you must use a video tool such as Facetime, Hangouts, Zoom, etc.)
d. Conducting the interview
e. Sending a follow-up thank you through email or through standard mail
2. Write a 1.5 – 2.5-page paper summarizing who you interviewed and what you learned in the interview. This paper should be about the non-profit organization, the person who works there, and the work it does.
3. Write a reflection paper of 3-4 pages describing your experiences and analyzing how well you did or did not use the interpersonal skills you identified as being important in this situation.
1. Identify the organization you wish to learn more about. This should be a non-profit organization that helps people in need the community. It can be any kind of non-profit organization, including those that help homeless people, support the arts of some kind, assist animals in need, support families of cancer patient or the patients themselves, supply non-partisan voter information, save raptors, provide tutoring and support for at-risk youth, collect money for prosthetic limbs – any positive cause in the community.
Ideally, you will choose an organization that supports a cause that is important to you, but an organization that you don’t know much about.
2. Research the organization. Look online and talk to friends or community members who have interactions with the organization and find out what they are about, who operates the organizaiton, who volunteers, what they do, and why.
3. Choose 4-7 interpersonal skills you specifically want to work on in this interview. These can be chosen from any chapter in the textbook. Some frequently-used terms are:
a. Transactional communication
b. I-Thou communication
c. Cooperative verbal communication
e. Self-presentation goals
f. Competent communication
j. Public Face
l. Fundamental Attribution Error
n. Uncertainty Reduction
1. Passive Strategies
2. Active Strategies
3. Interactive Strategies
o. In groupers/Out groupers
p. Algebraic impressions
q. Perception checking
r. Managing emotions
t. Co-cultural communication
v. Mental bracketing
w. Responding: clarifying questions, etc.
x. Back-channel cues
y. Listening orientations
z. Warranting value
aa. Regulative rules
ab. I language, we language
ac. Communication apprehension
ad. Communication plans
There are many other terms that could also be used for this assignment. Find terms that you think most applicable to your situation and the conversation you are having.
4. Arrange a time for the interview. It is often best to email the person first, and then follow up with a phone call, if needed. Be sure to arrange for a face to face meeting time or an electronic video conference so that you can observe non-verbal and verbal communication. Face to face is the ideal and is much preferred. Use competent verbal/written communication skills, including using a greeting, using a respectful tone, stating the purpose of the email clearly, and signing off with a polite ending.
5. Develop your interview questions. You will use the questions you write as a guide but be prepared to be flexible if the conversation goes in another direction. You will also ask clarifying questions throughout the interview, based on the responses you receive. You should have at least five good questions. It is a good idea to have up to 10 questions in case the person does not give very in-depth answers. You will turn these questions in as part of the assignment.
The interview should last between 20 and 40 minutes, depending on the person’s time constraints. This is not just a five-minute “how are you doing” conversation.
6. Complete the interview, using your prepared questions and any other clarifying questions you would like. Take a few notes and/or record the interview. If you record the interview, be sure to tell the person that you are recording for you own use and will not distribute the recording. Ask permission if you record. (Recording is not required). You will just need to write a short summary of the interview, so you don’t need detailed notes.
7. Write a one to two page paper summarizing the interview. Start with an introduction that tells me about the person you interviewed, then the interview summary, and then a conclusion wrapping up the paper.
8. Write a 3-4 page analysis of your interview. This includes identifying the skills you were trying to implement, talking about how you implemented those skills, giving specific examples of what you did or did not do to use those skills well (this can include skills used in arranging the interview, completing the interview, and following up with interview with a thank you email). The paper should include the following characteristics:
a. Written in a word processing document (not just typed into the “write submission” box – this is a full paper) and uploaded as a .pdf or .docx file
b. Includes a good introduction and conclusion
c. Has clearly organized paragraphs
d. Gives definitions and explanations of the 4-7 skills you were focused on practicing in the interview
e. Includes specific examples of how you planned to practice those skills
f. Describes how you used those skills and how well you did at implementing them. Were you effective? Why or why not? What did you learn?
g. Discuss any other interpersonal communication skills that you did not plan to use but found you needed to implement
h. Summarize what you learned from the experience.
9. Submit all deliverables for the assignment by uploading to Blackboard. You should submit these four files:
a. The list of questions you prepared for the interview
b. The 1.5-to-2.5-page summary of the interview
c. The 3–4-page analysis and reflection about your performance in the interview, including an analysis of how well you implemented each of the interpersonal communication skills you identified as being those you wanted to work on.
d. A copy of the thank you note you sent to the interview subject. This can be an electronic document file or a photo.