Suggested Course Level
Lower level undergraduate courses
- Students will reflect on how they define the attributes required of a professional communicator
- Captain Communicator silhouette handout
- Colourful markers or pencils
- Divide the class into groups of five students.
- Provide each group with one copy of the Captain Communicator silhouette handout, as well as handful of colourful markers/pencils.
- Ask the students to identify words that they feel describe what makes for a great communicator, and then to try to visually capture those on the silhouette. For example, students may say that a good communicator needs to be a great listener; students have thus drawn big ears on the silhouette or some have added an antenna to capture sounds from distant places.
- Encourage students to be creative and not to be true to life with their visualizations. The more bizarre, the more engaging.
- Try to prevent groups from ‘peeking’ at other creations in the class. It generally helps to walk around and monitor progress. Sometimes students need some prompting questions to get their ideas flowing. It may even just help for them to write words on the page if they aren’t creatively inclined, and then to help guide them through how to visualize some of their words.
- Once each group is finished have them stand up (or at least one representative) to “introduce” their Captain Communicator superhero to the class.
- Ask them to describe why they chose certain characteristics/attributes.
- Once all groups have shared then as an instructor you can draw out common themes or differences.
- The activity can then be followed by a lesson on the attributes that make for a great professional communicator (e.g. timeliness, professional tone, ability to engage with multiple audiences, etc.), with a particular focus on any elements that may not have been raised through the activity.
- You may also collect the works of art, scan them, and publish them into your LMS or incorporate them somehow into future lectures (with permission).
- This activity can also be done online. In your LMS, create a discussion forum and post the silhouette for students to download. Some sample text: Here is a Captain Communicator outline that you can download. Use this template to draw what you think a professional communicator might look like. For example, in my past classes, people have drawn big ears on this person because they need to be a good listener. Others have drawn a watch as they need to be timely and punctual with their messages.
Additional Resources / Supplementary Resources
Tags: discussion, hands-on, small group, whole class, professional communication attributes, professional communicator characteristics, defining professional communication, icebreaker