Communication is one of the most important components of effective leadership, and its relevance was highlighted by the coronavirus pandemic when leaders were forced to take on a more communicative and direct management role.
Business schools have responded by giving communication much greater prominence in their teaching. Many institutions now run entire executive education programs dedicated to corporate and leadership communication.
The programs use research and practice-based methods to develop participants’ communication skills for a variety of contexts including the new virtual world of work.
These executive programs are hands-on, with participants learning through a combination of communications theory, role-play, interactive presentations and discussions.
They also develop their “executive presence”, or learn how their intent, emotion, purpose, vocal tone and physical presence can impact, influence and inspire people.
These high-impact executive programs help participants to create a more productive workplace, through managing diﬃcult conversations and building trust. Students also explore diversity and inclusion and will become more self-aware.
These communication-oriented executive courses are often taught by both leading academic faculty and visiting business practitioners. They are delivered online, in person or a mix of the two modalities. Some are short, lasting for a few days full-time while others are delivered part-time over a period of several weeks.
Stanford, a leading academic institution in California, runs an executive education program called Sharpen Your Communication Skills. The program, which participants can complete at their own pace, leverages research in behavioral science to highlight the best approaches to communication, including how to mitigate biases. Participants in this hands-on course are introduced to specific leadership challenges, such as offering sincere words of praise or a heartfelt apology.View School Profile
New York City’s Columbia Business School offers the Persuasion: Influencing Without Authority executive education course. Delivered online for five consecutive days with live sessions, the program draws on psychological research and covers interpersonal challenges, from negotiations to how to change organizational culture. The executive course focuses on practical communication skills and immediate application of newfound knowledge in the workplace.View School Profile
The University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business in Canada puts on the Communication and Emotional Intelligence for Managers course, which is delivered online. The program is highly interactive, with students brainstorming ideas, networking and receiving constructive feedback from peers and faculty. The participants will become more self-aware and use communication to strengthen their leadership capabilities and lead diverse teams.View School Profile
Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands runs an online Summer Course in Corporate Communication, a five-day program. Participants learn from academic faculty and visiting business practitioners and explore corporate branding, reputation management, organizational identity and strategic corporate communication. The course attracts communications professionals in addition to executives, consultants, analysts and general managers.View School Profile
The Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University in Montreal puts on a seminar entitled Communicating Effectively. The program is delivered online, over four weeks. Participants learn how to create a more productive workplace, through managing diﬃcult conversations and building trust. They also learn to control their non-verbal communication and explore diversity and inclusion. The seminar is action-based, so the executives have numerous opportunities to practice and refine communication skills.View School Profile
The Impact through Influence program at Ashridge Executive Education, part of the UK’s Hult International Business School, develops participants influencing style, and how and when to adjust their approach to generate impact on individuals and situations. Participants, mostly senior business executives, boost their ability to gain buy-in and influence stakeholders. The program is taught online and in person by leading faculty.View School Profile
UCD Smurfit School in Dublin, offers a number of executive education programs in communication, including the three-day Communication for Influence and Impact course. Participants will challenge their perceptions and develop a communication style that suits them, drawing on their strengths and personalities. Participants learn through a combination of communications theory, role-play, interactive presentations and discussions.View School Profile
The Australian Graduate School of Management at University of New South Wales Business School has a program called The Authentic Communicator: Activating Presence. Participants in this two-day course, delivered in person in Sydney, develop presence and communication skills. They also develop an awareness of how their intent, emotion, purpose, vocal tone and physical presence can impact, influence and inspire people.View School Profile
The Communication 4.0 program run by University of Stellenbosch, USB Executive Development focuses on the communication skills needed to thrive during the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” with distributed teams, the rise of the gig economy and technology developments. The course, run for three days online, is for executives from all industries who want to optimize how they communicate with their stakeholders in technology-driven environments.View School Profile
The MIT Sloan School of Management offers its Interpersonal Communication: Strategies for Executives program. The six-week, online course uses research and practice-based methods to boost communication skills. Participants learn a range of techniques such as active listening and humble inquiry. They also refine their personal leadership narrative and explore cross-cultural communication techniques.View School Profile
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