R.S. ZAHARNA       Home     Classes     Weekend Program       Research      Student Projects

Comm.300   Interpersonal Communication
 Fall 2004

Dr.  R. S. Zaharna                                                             Phone:  (202) 885-3995
Office: Mary Graydon 301                                                  email:  zaharna@american.edu
Office hours:  Mondays 10-12
        Tuesdays 1-3, Wednesdays 1-2pm/5-6pm

My new web address is:  http://www.academic3.american.edu/~zaharna

Course Overview              Assignments          Required Text

Work plan - Fall 2004 *

Sept 1             Introduction / Perception / Feedback
Sept 8             Verbal / Nonverbal Communication
Sept 15           Listening / Response Skills
Sept 22           Group Presentation:  Tannen
Sept 29           Group Presentation:  Covey
Oct 6               Exam
Oct 13             Self-Concept / Self-Disclosure
Oct 20             Intimacy  & Relationships
Oct 27             Group Presentation: Sills
Nov 3              Conflicts & Relationships
Nov 10            Group Presentation:  Goleman
Nov 17            Exam #2
Nov 24            Thanksgiving               
Dec 1              Group Presentation: Seuss
Dec 8              Interpersonal Comm Analysis

Final exam:  May 4, 8:10pm


    This course explores the dynamics of interpersonal communication, the communication
between two people. We first build a foundation for our study by looking at the principal
tools and skills of interpersonal communication.The second half of the course focuses on the
core of interpersonal communication, namely, self and others. We will explore more complex
dynamics of interpersonal communication such as intimacy, communication climates,
and interpersonal conflict.

Required Texts
** These books are available at the Campus Bookstore  -- or, via many online
and local
book stores.  [very sorry about the "expressive" titles]

Deborah Tannen (2002), I Only Say This Because I Love You.  NY: Ballentine Books.

Stephen R. Covey. (1990) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. NY: Fireside Books.

Judith Sills (1993) A Fine Romance.  NY: Ballantine.

Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, Annie McKee (2004) Primal Leadership.
Boson: Harvard Business School Press.

Dr. Seuss (1990)  Oh, The Places You'll Go. NY:  Random House.


Dale Hunter, Anne Bailey, & Bill Taylor. (1995)   Zen of Groups. 
NY:  Fisher Books.



1. Attendance & In-class Interpersonal Skills
You will be graded on your participation during class. We will also be doing a lot of
experiential exercises that cannot be learned alone, you have to do it to learn it. For this
reason, attendance and constructive participation is critical and will be an important
part of your grade. 

2. Exams I & II
The midterm and final are based on in-class lecture notes and the readings.

4. Team Presentation  ( see guidelines)
Everyone will be assigned to a Work Team to prepare an oral group presentation on
one of the readings. The Team presentation will be approximately 1 ½ hours long and
entail a summary of the main concepts in the book as well as group exercises to illustrate
important points. The Team will receive one grade for all the members.

This will be discussed in class.  VERY IMPT to follow guidelines

1 - Every team must meet together as a group for a total of 5 times over the course of the

2 - NO more than 3 team meetings can be devoted to preparing the team's Oral Presentation.

3 - Each member of the team is responsible for leading at least one team meeting.

4.  Each member who leads a team meeting MUSt conduct a team exercise from Zen of Group
-- or any group icebreaker warm up exercise -- available from your experience, the Internet,
or your creativity.
*** THIS IS important

Your Team members will provide an prepared evaluation of (1) how well you conducted
the team meeting and (2) how well you selected and conducted the team exercise.

5.** Self Assessments of Interpersonal Communication Skills
 I will provide you with guidelines on how to prepare your comments and evaluations.
Notes located at the end of syllabus
* Notes on Team Presentations
* Notes on Interpersonal Communication Evaluations


1.  In-class attendance  (10 @ 5pts)              50 points 
2.  In-class skills (10 @ 2pts)                        20

2.  Exam 1                                                     50 points
3.  Exam 2                                                     50 points
4.  Team Presentation                                   100 points
6.  Self-Assessment                                         50 points

A = 95% of total points
A- = 90-94%
B [80-89% total points]
C [70-79% total points]
D [60-69% total points]

 **  "Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the University's Academic Integrity
Code. By registering, you have acknowledged your awareness of the Academic Integrity
Code, and you are obliged to become familiar with your rights and responsibilities as
defined by the Code.Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly,
and disciplinary action will be taken should such violations occur.

Please see me if you have any questions about the academic violations described in the
Code in general or as they relate to particular requirements for this course.

Dr. R. S. Zaharna
Interpersonal Communication
Work plan - Fall 2004

Sept 1    Introduction Perception / Feedback
                    Readings:  Tannen

Sept 8    Lecture:  Verbal & Nonverbal Communication
                    Readings:    Tannen

Sept 15    Lecture:   Listening & Response Skills 

Sept 22     Team 1:  Tannen, That's Not What I Meant
                     Readings:   Covey

Sept 29      Team 2:  Covey, Seven Habits 

Oct 6       Exam

Oct 13      Lecture:  Self-Concept / Self-Disclosure
                    Readings:   Sills

Oct 20      Lecture:   Intimacy
                    Readings:    Sills

Oct 27       Team 3:  Sills, A Fine Romance

Nov 3        Lecture:  Conflict
Readings:  Goleman

Nov 10    Team 3:  Goleman, Primal Leadership
                    Readings:  Goleman   

Nov 17      Exam

Nov 24      Thanksgiving

Dec 1       Team 5:  Seuss, Oh, the Places You'll Go

Dec 8     Last Class - Individual Self-Assessments due


Final Exam  




Team Presentation  ----   total  possible points 100

TEAM SPIRIT (20 points possible)
Group worked well together.  Showed tolerance for each other’s
differences.  Tried to keep each other motivated.  Actively helped each
other out with equipment, props, transitions.  Evident that group
enjoyed working together; you could feel their enthusiasm.  High energy
present among all group members.

CREATIVITY   (20 points)
Group had a theme and built their presentation around that theme.  Theme
was unique and original.  Examples not taken only from book, but came up
with original examples tailored for the student audience.  Took original
approach to presenting concepts from the book.   Used a variety of media
to present material.  Brought in outside materials to supplement

High quality work and standards for every aspect of the project.  Paid
attention to details as well as overall presentation.  Kept a positive
approach toward material and task despite set backs or challenges.

Strong, consistent oral presentations by group members.  Well
organized.  Easy to follow.  Clear.  Comprehensive, covered major
points.  Presented in a lively, informative manner.  Had activities to
break lecture format.  Involved audience in material through exercises
to reinforce concepts.

Well organized.  Easy to understand.  Comprehensive overview of central
points. Explained important details of concepts. Consistent quality
throughout materials.



1 -  You need to prepare an evaluation for each member of your team.
Put a numerical score and then add comments to clarify your assessment.
Comments are very important, more important than the scores.

2 - Do an assessment for each member of your team.
Please be honest and constructive. The goal of the class is not to get
an A, but to learn group communication skills that can help you
throughout your life. The class is only 2-3 months long. I hope the
skills you learn will help you move ahead for YEARS to come. You may
never have the opportunity to work so closely with others again and get
an honest, constructive feedback in a learning environment like the one
we have in this class.

SO -- be constructive and honest. By honest, I mean take the courage to
share your observations about each team member behaved. Be constructive
by stating what you found really helpful and beneficial, what the person
did to help make the experience enjoyable and rewarding, what the person
did to help achieve the goals of the team.

Be constructive also by stating "what you would have liked to see more
of . .." or "what frustrated you and how another approach such as _____
might have been more beneficial".  Focus on behaviors that people can
change that will enhance their performance with teams in the future.
Focus on behavior "tendencies" which you observed.

This is a your "gift of observation and feedback" that youcan give to
your team members. You will be providing an envaluable gift you help
them see and understand how their behavior affects others so that they
can then build new skills.

3 - Do an assessment for yourself as well.
I don't usually ask for this, but I think it would be helpful to see how
you see yourself versus how the other team members perceived your

4 - Do not worry about "grading" your team members based on the
evaluations you write. That is my job.  Your job is to prepare
constructive evaluations.
I will pull together all the information from the exams, attendence and
participation,  and team evaluations to calculate the grade.

 Evaluation Form for Team Members

TEAM  _____________________________                                       EVALUATION FOR : __________________________________

5 = Person was VERY GOOD!        4 = Good        3 =  Okay, satisfactory       2 = Not okay, not helpful        1= Counter productive, Hurt the team

Verbal Skills

_____     Express ideas so understood

_____     Able to adapt language, examples, vocabulary to fit listener


COMMENTS, please

Nonverbal Skills




COMMENTS, please

  Listening Skills




Response Skills




COMMENTS, please

Relationship Building --

______   Trust

______   Self-disclosure

______   Reliability

Interpersonal Climate -- Intimacy & Conflict


***  What would you say is this person's major interpersonal communication strengths?

*** What would you say is this person's possible weakness in working with groups?