Communication Skills

… one of the core Subjects in Public Management

CommunicationSkillsSubject description

This public management subject, within the Analysis and Skills domain, deals with the theory and skills associated with communication in public management. It provides students with an understanding of the academic and popular literature on communication, and covers the use of persuasion, narrative and rhetoric, and the craft of writing for impact.

The core topics and concepts in Communication Skills are listed below with the concepts in alphabetical order. The core concepts are organized by topic in the Atlas course, Atlas109 Leadership and Communication.

Core normed topics
Persuading Speaking to Persuade

Writing to Persuade

Core concepts

Authority and Credibility

Analogies and Metaphors

Aristotle’s 3 Rhetorical Appeals – Legos, Ethos, and Pathos

Cialdini’s 6 Principles of Persuasion Science

Conformity, Similarity, and Social Proof

Consistency and Commitment


Empathy and Listening


Knowing the Audience

Knowing the Context


Narrative Theory



Primers for Polemicists – Comparing Rules from Harries and Alinsky

Simplicity and Clarity







Speaking to Persuade

Beginning with a Grabber

Body Language and Posture

Controlling Uptalk and Like

Eliminating Filler Words

Elevator Pitch

Ending Memorably

Eye Contact

Ladder of Abstraction

Practicing the Presentation

Pre-speech Warm Ups

Reading a Speech

Speech Pauses

Story Arc

Voice Projection and Volume

Writing to Persuade

Andrew Coyne’s Tips for Writing a Column

Basic Op-Ed Structure

Behn’s Craft of Memo Writing

Lede and Subhead

Ledes and News Hooks

Michael Valpy on Writing Op-Eds

Policy Issue Paper

PowerPoint and Data Visualization

Smith’s 3-Step Approach to Policy Communication

Style Guides

Using Plain Language

Writing a Briefing Note

Writing a Press Release

Writing a Summary

Young and Quinn’s Writing Checklist for Problem Definition

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 4 August 2022.

Image: Linked In Pulse, Communication Skills Are a stand-in for Job Skills, at, accessed 17 January 2016.