Comprehensive course analysis
Who should attend
- Public Relations Professionals
- Communications Professionals
- Mid-Level Managers
- HR Leaders
About the course
Corporate communications professionals play a critical role in how organizations are perceived among both internal and external audiences. Their function encompasses media and public relations, internal employee communications, and crisis communications — which are becoming more essential than ever to manage in today’s age of social media wildfire.
Whether you need to prepare to communicate a significant change initiative within your organization, work through a media crisis, or develop key messages to deliver to company stakeholders, this customizable certificate program will prepare you to build a career in the increasingly important function of corporate communications.
Communication Planning for Change
The ability to effectively communicate about change in an organization is essential for success. Change is inevitable and people will be affected by it to varying degrees — even by positive change — so it's important to be able to communicate clearly. In this course, you will explore the different ways change can impact people, how communication can alleviate negative reactions, and how to work with resistance to change. You will be introduced to formal communication plans, identifying the kinds of change that require documented plans and establishing the appropriate internal and external audiences that must be considered. You will then define the communication objectives for each audience, identifying their needs and discovering that each audience is distinct and may need different information at different times. Lastly, you will examine message strategy and timing, determining the content of the message, the forms of media that should be used for delivery, when to communicate with each audience, who the messenger will be, and the types of reactions to expect so that negative reactions can be effectively addressed and positive reactions can be encouraged.
Crisis Communication Planning
A crisis can have a tremendous impact on the people involved and on an organization's performance and reputation, so it's important to communicate effectively in order to minimize negative consequences. Preparing for a crisis through the creation and ongoing analysis of a crisis communication plan can help minimize negative reactions and fallout. In this course, you will define crisis, paracrisis, and the goals of crisis communication. You will share your own experiences and practice identifying potential crises, creating a crisis communication plan, choosing a crisis communication team, and evaluating the plan.
A key component of preparing for a crisis is crafting messages for internal and external stakeholders. Messages must be quick, consistent, and open, and preparing initial statements ahead of time will help leaders and spokespersons communicate effectively during a crisis. You will examine the content of effective initial statements with the opportunity to review real-life examples, evaluating them for quality and success. You will practice addressing difficult questions and criticisms, exploring acceptable and graceful responses.
Once the crisis is over, it's important to review what worked well, what didn't, and to update the crisis communication plan for next time. Reflecting on a real life example, you will evaluate the response to the crisis and the crisis communication plan itself.
Elective (2 Courses)
Navigating Power Relationships
Leaders at every level need to be able to execute on their ideas. In virtually every case, this means that leaders need to be able to persuade others to join in this execution. In order to do so, understanding how to create and utilize power in an organization is critical.
In this course, developed by Professor Glen Dowell, Ph.D., of Cornell University's Johnson Graduate School of Management, students will focus on their personal relationship with power as well as how power works in their organization and social network.
Leading Strategic Change Initiatives
If you’re in charge of developing and leading strategic organizational change, there are certain tools and concepts you must be familiar with. In this course, the emphasis is on cultivating your ability to assess the need for change. By determining why your organization or team needs change, you’ll be able to better answer questions like: What should you change and how should the change be handled? You will explore the political and complex process of introducing change, which includes motivating others, dealing with resistance and the emotional elements of change, and finally, extending change over time and sustaining it. The course is designed to give you practice so you can initiate and carry out a change effort.
Problem-Solving Using Evidence and Critical Thinking
Have you ever known a very intelligent person who made a very bad decision? If so, you know that having a high IQ does not guarantee that you automatically make critically thoughtful decisions. Critically thoughtful problem-solving is a discipline and a skill—one that allows you to make decisions that are the product of careful thought, and the results of those decisions help your team and organization thrive.
In this course you will practice a disciplined, systematic approach to problem solving that helps ensure that your analysis of a problem is comprehensive, is based on quality, credible evidence, and takes full and fair account of the most probable counterarguments and risks. The result of this technique is a thoroughly defensible assessment of what the problem is, what is causing it, and the most effective plan of action to address it. Finally, you will identify and frame a problem by assessing its context and develop a well-reasoned and implementable solution that addresses the underlying causes.
Making a Convincing Case for Your Solution
When trying to persuade someone, the tendency is to begin in advocacy mode—for example: “Here’s something I want you to agree to.” Most people do not react positively to the feeling of being sold something. The usual reaction is to literally or figuratively start backing up. To make a convincing case, it is more effective to engage with the decision maker as a partner in problem-solving. This makes your counterpart feel less like someone is trying to get them to buy something and more like you are working together to bring about an outcome that is desirable to both parties. Begin by asking yourself: “What is the problem you and the decision maker are solving together?”
By the end of this course, you will have learned how to deeply analyze a problem, possible solutions, and the associated risks as well as the most persuasive and efficient ways of presenting your proposal.
The course Problem-Solving Using Evidence and Critical Thinking is required to be completed prior to starting this course.
Planning and Delivering Effective Presentations To be an effective leader, you must be able to articulate your thoughts and positions in a clear and concise manner.
Professor Angela Noble-Grange of Cornell
University's Johnson Graduate School of Management draws on her own extensive experience as a speaker and communicator to guide students through the preparation and delivery process. She discusses how to identify the communication purpose and analyze your expected audience. She then shares how to formulate and rehearse your message, including how to pay attention to nonverbal communication.
To fine-tune these skills, this course includes interacting with fellow students. Students will participate in discussion forums and will record and share a video of a short presentation that serves as the course project. This provides rich opportunities for students to hone their communication and presentation skills in a practical way, and to learn from the efforts of others.
Participants in this certificate need a high-speed internet connection, a computer or device that can shoot digital videos with reasonable quality, and access to Adobe Flash software. The eCornell course delivery system provides the ability to record and upload videos, so you won't need special video software.
Key course takeaways
- Create a communication plan to support organizational change
- Communicate with internal and external stakeholders
- Communicate during a crisis to maintain or rebuild organization reputation
- Explore critical decisions such as when to negotiate, when not to negotiate, whether you should make the opening move in a negotiation, and how many issues you want to put on the table
- Respond decisively and consistently when faced with situations that require a decision
- Identify a helpful process framework for leading change initiatives and develop a change vision
- Determine and mitigate risks connected with your solution
What you'll earn
- Corporate Communication Certificate from Cornell SC Johnson College of Business
- 40 Professional Development Hours (4 CEUs)
Biography Professor Glen Dowell is an associate professor of management and organizations at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. He researches in the area of corporate sustainability, with a focus on firm environmental performance. Recent projects have investigated the effect of local demo...
Risa Mish is professor of practice of management at the Johnson Graduate School of Management. She designed and teaches the MBA Core course in Critical and Strategic Thinking, in addition to teaching courses in leadership and serving as faculty co-director of the Johnson Leadership Fellows progra...
A graduate of the Johnson MBA program, Professor Angela Noble-Grange, a senior lecturer of management communication, teaches oral communication and management writing at Johnson. Her interests include persuasive speaking and writing, as well as gender and race differences in message perception. S...
Cathy A. Enz is the Lewis G. Schaeneman Jr. Professor of Innovation and Dynamic Management and a professor in strategy. She currently serves as the associate dean for academic affairs in the School of Hotel Administration. Her prior administrative roles included serving as associate dean for indu...
Amy Newman is a senior lecturer of management communication at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. She teaches the core undergraduate and graduate communication courses and an elective, Corporate Communication. Newman is author of Business Communication: In Person, In Print, Online (Cenga...
Videos and materials
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