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380830: The Dynamics of Interpersonal Communication
COMCTN-X 482.7

  • Summer 2021
  • Section 1
  • 4 Credits
  • 06/22/2021 to 08/31/2021
  • Modified 06/22/2021

Meeting Times

Lectures, Tuesdays, 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm


In today's fast-paced, highly competitive business world, it is more important than ever to recognize and study the significant role communication plays in our business lives. How well we communicate greatly determines how successfully we will perform on the job and our level of personal job satisfaction. This course is designed for individuals at all levels in all types of businesses who desire to polish and/or develop additional communication skills in formal and informal settings. Participants explore conflict resolution, giving/receiving criticism, defensive communication, assertiveness, focused listening, nonverbal communication, self-esteem, team building and delegating work, empowerment, small-group dynamics, management and sales strategies, customer service, problem-solving and negotiation, intercultural communication, interviewing, and power and authority.


Upon completion of the course, a participant can expect to know and understand:

  • The three core aspects to strategizing how to communicate

  • Difference between being right and effective

  • Individual strengths as a communicator and why they are strengths and how those strengths

    became strengths

  • Individual weaknesses and why they are weaknesses and how they became weaknesses

  • How culture shapes identity and in turn communication style

  • How emotions impact the way we communicate

  • How thoughts create feelings that in turn affect communication strategies

  • The most common triggers of defensive communication

  • Various styles of listening

  • Individual biases when dealing with people both new and familiar

  • The difference between fact and interpretation and how each affects our perception of people and situations

  • How family and various other cultural influences shape our world view

  • The emotive dimensions to language

  • How and why non-verbal skills are as important as verbal

  • The four main styles of conflict

  • Ten types of common difficult behavior

  • The eleven steps to having a difficult conversation

  • The belief systems underlying passive, passive-aggressive and assertive communication styles

  • How language is a socialized skill and the role gender plays in that socialization


Expected Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of the course, a participant can expect to be able to:

    • Strategize how best to communicate so as to reduce defensiveness

    • Manage and create the appropriate impression based on circumstance and goal

    • Engage in easy conversation so as to find common ground

    • Manage intense emotions and express them non-aggressively

    • Employ empathy when problem-solving with clients and colleagues

    • Deconstruct blind beliefs that debilitate thinking and action

    • Stay attuned to others’ emotional cues and responses

    • Detect and interpret non-verbal signals

    • Adjust listening style to that of the other so as to create rapport and understanding

    • Employ perception checking techniques so as to resolve misunderstandings

    • Work around cultural biases

    • Shift from a think-to-talk mode of speaking to a talk-to-think mode when necessary

    • Present ideas assertively

    • Resist various forms of emotional blackmail

    • Strategize and plan effectively for difficult conversations

    • Manage difficult types of behavior without escalating a situation

    • Analyze office politics and conflicts and strategize how to breakthrough dysfunctional patterns

    • Draw upon a wide range of communication skills that can be adapted to goal at hand


Required Texts and Materials:

Never Eat Alone: Keith Ferrazzi ISBN: 78-0-385-34665-8 / Crown Pub.

+ 1 book of student's choosing (approved by Instructor)

+ weekly handouts + assigned practice exercises



  • Nine Reflection papers

  • Weekly exercises in prep for following week online discussion

  • One half-hour phone conversation with instructor

  • Required books + weekly reading hand-outs


Expectations: Students are expected to:

    • Actively participate in class discussions and exercises

    • Complete all readings and homework as assigned

    • Be on time

    • Communicate respectfully to instructor and fellow classmates

    • Utilize professional level English in presentations and written assignments

    • Notify Instructor when not able to attend class

    • Make up missed work

    • Facial video must be on for all Zoom sessions – no black screens



Course grades will be based on participation and completion of assignments as follows:

Graded Activities Points / Percentage Notes
TOTAL 100%  
Attendance 30% 1 absence allowed
Active conversations 15% Consistent participation

Reflection papers +

Weekly assignments

40% No extensions for due dates.
Phone Interview 15% Completed by last class.

Grading Scale:

95 – 100 = A

90 – 94 = A

85 – 89 = B+

80 – 84 = B.

75 – 79 = B-

70 – 74 = C+

65 – 69 = C

Below 65 = F




•Nine Reflection papers

•Weekly exercises in prep for following week online discussion

•One hour phone conversation with instructor

•Two fifteen-minute phone conversations with paired fellow students

•Required books+ weekly reading hand-outs

Course Policies

Expectations: Students are expected to:

  • •Actively participate in class discussions and exercises
  • •Complete all readings and homework as assigned
  • Download for class use any exercises emailed prior to class
  • •Be on time
  • •Communicate respectfully to instructor and fellow classmates
  • •Utilize professional level English in presentations and written assignments
  • •Notify Instructor when notable to attend class
  • •Make up missed work
  • •Facial video MUST be on for all Zoom sessions –no black screens

Incompletes: The interim grade Incomplete may be assigned when a student's work is of passing quality, but a small portion of the course requirements is incomplete for good cause (e.g. illness or other serious problem). It is the student’s responsibility to discuss with the instructor the possibility of receiving an “I” grade as opposed to a non-passing grade.The student is entitled to replace this grade by a passing grade and to receive unit credit provided they complete the remaining coursework satisfactorily, under the supervision of and in a time frame determined by the instructor in charge, but in no case later than the end of the next academic quarter.At that time, the Registrar will cause all remaining Incompletes to lapse to the grade "F". Note: Receiving an “I” does not entitle a student to retake all or any part of the course at a later date.

Academic Honesty Policy: Academic dishonesty covers behavior in cheating, plagiarism, and fabrication of information.These behaviors are not tolerated.Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the UCLA Extension Student Conduct Code and the official statements regarding cheating and plagiarism at:

Services for Students with Disabilities: In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities.These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services, such as note takers, audiotaping of courses, sign language interpreters, and assistive-listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance.Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation.Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension Disabled Student Services at (310) 825-4581(voice/TTY) or by email at [email protected] request such arrangements with at least five working days’ advance notice.All assistance is handled in confidence.Accommodations must be pre-approved.Requests for retroactive accommodation will not be accepted.

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others or violation of others' copyrights. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with policy provisions which proscribe these and other forms of misconduct at:

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:


Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see:

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, 1145 Gayley Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90024; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at

Additional Items

Protecting Privacy and Data During Live Instruction

Live meeting sessions for this class, when applicable, are being conducted over Zoom. As the host, the instructor may be recording live sessions. Only the host has the ability to record meetings, no recording by other means is permitted. Recorded sessions will be posted in the Videos area of this class unless otherwise notified. Due to privacy, recordings are not available for download and are only accessible via Canvas for the duration of the class. If you have privacy concerns and do not wish to appear in the recording, do not turn on your video and/or audio. If you also prefer to use a pseudonym instead of your name, please let the instructor know what name you will be using so that the instructor knows who you are during the session. To rename yourself during a Zoom meeting, click on Participants, click on your name, click on More, click on Rename. If you would like to ask a question, you may do so privately through the Zoom chat by addressing your chat question to the instructor only (and not to ""everyone""). Additionally, chat may be used and moderated for live questions, and saving of chats is enabled. If you have questions or concerns about this, please contact the instructor via Canvas Inbox.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement between Zoom and UCLA Extension, the data is used solely for this purpose and Zoom is prohibited from re-disclosing this information. UCLA Extension also does not use the data for any other purpose. Recordings will be deleted when no longer necessary. However, recordings may become part of an administrative disciplinary record if misconduct occurs during a video conference.

Course and Instructor Evaluation

UCLA Extension values your feedback on course and instructor evaluations. We ask all students to take a few minutes to complete an end-of-course evaluation survey. Updates to the course and instruction are influenced by your feedback. Understanding your student experience is essential to ensure continuing excellence in the online classroom and is appreciated by your instructor and the UCLA Extension academic leadership.

Your participation in a survey is voluntary, and your responses are confidential. After instructors submit grades, they will be given an evaluation report, but this report will not contain your name.

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    To download all your assignment submissions in Canvas, please refer to the online support guide. for more information or contact Canvas Support via the help menu within Canvas.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Instructional Design and Learning Support
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays:

Campus Safety Escorts

For students taking classes held on the UCLA campus and in and around Westwood Village, the UCLA Police Department provides a free walking escort service every day of the year from dusk until 1 a.m. Community Service Officers (CSOs) are available to walk students, faculty, staff members and visitors to and from anywhere on campus, in Westwood Village, and in the village apartments. CSOs are uniformed students who have received special training and are employed by the UCLA Police Department. To obtain an escort, please call (310) 794-9255 and allow 15 to 20 minutes for your escort to arrive. For complete information, see:



Subject to change at Instructor’s discretion


Assignments and Readings

Week One - June 22

This is a week of Introductions - specifically FOUR:

  1. I will introduce myself and offer insight into the hopes, biases and expectations I bring to the course.
  2. I will introduce the requirements of the course, i.e. review the Syllabus.
  3. I will offer an overview of what makes Interpersonal Communication "dynamic."
  4. You will have an opportunity to introduce yourself to me and the other participants, giving us insight into your goals and expectations for the course.

Read assigned articles

For next week, complete "Inventory" and "Survey of Needs"

Week Two - June 29

Emotional Intelligence

We explore the experience of Emotional Intelligence, examining:

  • which emotions you are comfortable / uncomfortable expressing and why
  • the difference between primary and mixed emotions and how best to express those emotions
  • the influences on emotional expression
  • ineffective ways of expressing emotions
  • the tools for expressing feelings
  • the five most common forms of irrational thinking that most regularly sabotage your communication effectiveness
  • plans to minimize debilitating emotions
  • personal EI strengths and weaknesses

Read assigned articles + resources on EI

For next week, complete Reflection #1

Choose book selection for Quarter

Week Three - July 6


We examine the most important of all the communication skills, looking at:

  • the five elements to the listening process
  • why and how people do not listen
  • methods for making it easier for people to listen to you
  • the two primary preferred styles of listening
  • tools for both listening for information and for offering help

Read assigned articles + listening resources

Complete for next week, Reflection #2

Week Four - July 13

The Perception Process

This week introduces the question: "Why do we see what we see and don't see what we don't see" and how what we see and don't see influences how we interact with and communicate with the "other."

We explore how to:

  • distinguish the three steps to the perception process
  • recognize ways of organizing perceptions about people
  • identify why "stereotyping" is a common experience and how to work around its limitations
  • articulate what significantly influences how you personally perceive people and situations
  • illustrate he primacy of one’s "family motto" in the perception process
  • utilize the skill of Perception Checking in high-stakes difficult conversations
  • connect the perception process to the creative process


Read assigned articles + perception / creativity resources

Complete for next week, Reflection #3

Week Five - July 20

Communication Climates

This week we look at how tone and climate are created in an interpersonal encounter and how they influence the direction and success of a conversation.

We examine how to:

  • implement methods for establishing a validating climate in a relationship
  • distinguish between the acts of complaining and criticizing
  • identify and defuse defensiveness in self and others
  • develop non-verbal communication strategies for creating an effective communication climate
  • monitor and adjust own non-verbal traits


Read articles on communication climates + resources

Read Ferrazzi / Section 1

Complete by next week, Reflection # 4

Complete Mid-Point Evaluation


Week Six - July 27

This week introduces the experience of "conflict"

 We examine how to:

  • identify the contours of your relationship with conflict - where and how you're comfortable and uncomfortable
  • evaluate your preferred style of dealing with conflict
  • assess which of the four styles of conflict is appropriate in what setting and for what goal
  • modify your mindset and practice being assertive as an act of respect and collegiality
  • articulate at least one personal conflict pattern and formulate steps needed to disable the pattern

Read articles on managing conflict

Complete for next week Reflection #5

Week Seven - August 3

Conflict Pt. 2

This week we continue to explore the experience of Conflict

 We examine how to:

  • distinguish the common goals people have when acting out in a difficult manner
  • recognize the fears that under-gird most difficult behavior
  • identify the ten most common forms of difficult behavior in self and colleagues
  • commit to tools for managing and disarming difficult behavior

Read articles on managing conflict + resources

Complete for next week Reflection #6

Week Eight - August 10

This week concludes our exploration of Conflict.

We examine how to:

  • Identify which preparatory steps for an Accountability Conversation you are most comfortable and least comfortable employing
  • Practice having an Accountability Conversation that you have been delaying
  • Utilize Perception Checking so as to critique personal interpretations of difficult behavior
  • Commit to setting boundaries and presenting ideas in an assertive manner

Read articles on managing conflict + resources

Reflection #7 due next Tuesday

Week Nine - August 17

A Review of Articles + Resources

You will experience in an intimate setting the power and magic of conversation. You’ll learn / re-learn that conversation rises and falls based on people’s willingness to “show up” and be generous with their thoughts, beliefs and feelings.

Read articles + resources

Reflection #8 due next Tuesday

Week Ten - August 24

Gendered Communication

This week introduces the notion that language is powerful in terms of its emotive dimensions, culture-bound nuances and how we are socialized, by gender, in our use of language.

 We examine how:

  • the nuanced characteristics of language can be manipulated for good or detriment
  • language choice and phrasing achieves or obfuscates clarity in conversations
  • gendered communication styles impact who gets heard and why in a professional setting
  • one's own gendered style of communicating can be identified
  • gendered styles other than one’s developed style can be utilized to achieve professional equity  

Read articles + resources

Read Ferrazzi Section 5

Complete for next week Reflection #9

Week Eleven - August 31

Summary of Course

This week summarizes our group experience of exploring the dynamics of interpersonal communication.


We take stock to:

  • determine if you obtained the goal you had set for yourself 11 weeks previous and if you achieved other, unexpected benefits

  • articulate what you are committed to using and practicing four weeks after the course ends

  • identify the communication tools you next want to acquire

Finish any incomplete assignments