Courses

Communication: Its Art and Soul

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Course Overview

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Can you express yourself effectively in 140 characters or less? Should you?

The rise of the internet, mobile phones, and social media has completely changed the way we relate, interact, and communicate with one another—and it’s high time we reclaim this lost art.

In Jewish philosophy, communication is more than just a tool: it is who we are. Humans are defined as communicative beings with a communicative soul, and aligning ourselves with this soul is our raison d’être.

In Communication: Its Art and Soul, we contrast Jewish thought with scientific discovery to unearth the essence of communication and how to utilize its powers to better ourselves, our relationships, and all of society

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Course Outline

Lesson 1
The Essence of Communication

What is communication? It’s not speech, it’s not a language, it’s not even words. Explore the pros and cons of new digital forms of communication, exploring mystical anthropomorphic references to human communication to get to the essence of what communication is all about, why it is the stuff relationships are made of, and what your communication style reveals about you as a person.

Lesson 2
Opening Up to New Perspectives

Communication advice is so often about learning how to listen. Why is it so hard to listen to others? And what do we gain from listening? Is it merely a mutually beneficial arrangement—I’ll listen to you, if you listen to me? Or is there more to be gained from opening ourselves up to new perspectives— viewpoints we may never have considered had we not opened ourselves up to truly listen to others?

Lesson 3
If Sticks and Stones Can Break Bones, Words Are Atom Bombs

What makes silence golden? Why are well-timed words so powerfully constructive, whereas ill-timed words are so fatally destructive? What makes words so powerful? This lesson considers how our words impact people’s impressions of us, as well as our emotions and reality, and how we can learn to unleash the power of words more discerningly.

Lesson 4
Context Matters

The simplest messages are often misconstrued in ways we could never predict. Constructing a clear argument is important, but peripherals such as tone, body language, and context can ruin our message, making it sound like static noise, or worse. How do we ensure the listener’s takeaway is the same as the one we intended to communicate?

Lesson 5
Influence

Communication is the tool of great leaders and a powerful way to influence. Is communication meant for self-expression, or do we carry a responsibility to utilize its power to influence others? How do we know when to share, and when to keep to ourselves? And how do we determine when we are being influential, and when we are just projecting our insecurities onto others?

Lesson 6
Conflict Resolution

Surprisingly, conflict isn’t always a bad thing. In adversarial collaboration, conflict broadens horizons to reveal more profound truths. What can we learn from the argumentative style of Talmud study, to shift from an ego-driven, win-lose mentality to one in which all parties are winners? And how can we engage in healthy conflict—and resolution—for the betterment of society?

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