University News

Lecturer teaches UCS how to communicate

Senior Staff Writer
Thursday, March 22, 2012

Barbara Tannenbaum, senior lecturer in theatre arts and performance studies, discussed effective communication skills with council members at Wednesday’s general body meeting of the Undergraduate Council of Students.

She emphasized the balance between understanding one’s goal and audience, learning “how to specifically motivate (the audience), manipulate them, excite them.”

“Corporations pay me huge amounts of money to tell them this,” she said.

She also discussed each person’s “latitude of acceptance” and “latitude of rejection” using a rubber band analogy. This communication strategy involves determining how far you can push or “stretch” your audience, she said. People are generally less flexible when it comes to topics such as politics or religion, she added.

“What you need to do is move people gradually,” she said.

She also encouraged council members not to personalize opposition.

“People can disagree with our ideas,” she said. “It doesn’t mean they don’t like us.”

After her lecture, Michael Schneider ’13, chair of the campus life committee, announced a new project to improve heating in the Sciences Library.

“It’s been a constant problem the entire time I’ve been at Brown,” he said.

The council also submitted a statement to Provost Mark Schlissel P’15 calling for increased student representation on the University Resources Committee, said Todd Harris ’14, chair of the academic and administrative affairs committee.

Holly Hunt ’13, a member of the admissions and student services committee, announced upcoming changes to Morning Mail. The changes, which will be implemented over the summer, will include linking event titles to their descriptions as well as organizing events and announcements according to type.

President Ruth Simmons will be attending the April 11 council meeting. Katherine Bergeron, dean of the college, and Andrew Simmons, director of the CareerLAB, will be attending the April 25 meeting, said UCS President Ralanda Nelson ’12.