Are You A Chameleon? In chapter 11, Bevan reports on the value of being a chameleon, where you can change your communication style to suit the scenario. This requires being highly aware and mindful of yourself, others, and the choices you make. In this exercise, you will test this theory:
1. Put yourself in a challenging position in your personal or professional life. If you are at work, speak up at a meeting or talk to your co-worker or boss about the topic. If you at home, have a difficult conversation with someone you care about.
2. Before you have the conversation, think about the cultural norms for this exchange. What are they? Are you following or violating those norms?
3. As you have the conversation, be mindful of where you are emotionally, and where they are. Report on those emotions and the role of empathy and emotional intelligence in the exchange.
4. How did it go? Did you feel you were closer to being a “chameleon?”
Step 1 – Describe the findings. (100 to 150 words) –
Step 2 – Apply what you have learned during this class, especially the basic principles of effective communication, ideas of the self, or culture, to your exercise results, using and citing at least two course resources (and one must be Bevan) to support you and one needs to be a video. (This must be 200 to 250 words.)
For the Communication Notebook Final paper, you will be required to use and cite two of the
following videos. They are divided by theme, and here is a list of the themes covered:
Principles of Effective Communication:
· Principle 1 – Taking responsibility – 1) Why lying matters; 2) The power of truth
· Principle 2 – Shared meaning – Creating a shared world through conversation
· Principle 3 – Multiple views – Disagreeing
· Principle 4 – Respect – 1) Living shame-free; 2) Inclusion
· Principle 5 – Listening – How to have a good conversation
· Principle 6 – learning and practice – Effective digital conversation
Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Communication:
There are five videos on the following topics – The power of personality; social media and
mental health; building self-confidence; introversion; and building self-esteem.
1) Verbal and nonverbal cues: language and though; linguistic prejudice, nonverbal
communication in intercultural contexts.
2) Race and ethnicity: Overcoming biases; focusing on similarity over differences;
3) Social class: On being tribes.
4) Gender: gender and credibility; gender, communication and the brain; and gender and
5) Miscellaneous: First impressions; how to get along with different generations; the secret to
better work; and the value of empathy and vulnerability.
Principles of Effective Communiction
Principle 1 – Take responsibility for your behavior
Option 1: Why lying matters
Meyers, P. (2011, July). The truth about lying [Video file]. Ted.com.
Description: Author Pamela Meyer studies those who “spot lies” and complicates our
understanding of lying. As you watch, see how she addresses the social element of lying, thus
linking it to interpersonal communication. In fact, she even says we must cooperate on some
level to be lied to! Why does she believe telling the truth is so important? What “responsibility”
do we have as receivers to be aware of liars and our weaknesses toward certain types of lies?
Option 2: The power of truth telling
Carter, C. (2017, March 24). The power of truth telling [Video file]. TEDx: Thatcher School.
Description: In this talk, Dr. Christine Carter addresses how important telling the truth, to both
oneself and others, is central to human health and happiness. While truth-telling is accepted as a
cultural “norm” and a central value to most people, she explores the deeper importance of telling
the truth. Pay special attention to subtle ways she addresses both interpersonal and intrapersonal
communication and the idea of authenticity and its relationship to truth.
Principle 2 – Shared meaning
The Ling Space. (2016, January 13). How do we create a shared world in conversation? Common
ground [Video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQqXmhqM13U
Description: Linguist Moti Lieberman explains the importance of finding common ground and
how it allows communication to be smoother and easier. Pay attention to his idea of
backchannel responses specifically and how we can use common history or common knowledge
to break the ice and connect with others.
Principle 3 – Acknowledge multiple views
Wood, Z. R. (2018, April). Why it’s worth listening to people you disagree with [Video
Description: In this powerful speech, author Zachary Wood addresses the importance of having
conversations with those with whom we disagree. He is an advocate of having uncomfortable
conversations as that allows us to “achieve progress” and “gain a deeper understanding of
Principle 4 – Respect others as well as yourself
1. Respect oneself and others
Thore, W. (2016, July 8). Living a shame-free life [Video file]. TEDx –
Description: In this speech by media personality Whitney Thore, she shares her story of self-
acceptance of being fat. Thore shares valuable information about both intrapersonal and
interpersonal communication. She puts actions before confidence, rather than the reverse,
supporting this week’s themes of self-image and self-esteem.
Castleberry-Singleton, C. (2016, June 8). The answer is dignity & respect [Video
Description: Activist Candi Castleberry-Singleton is an advocate for inclusion, in all
settings. As you watch, consider how this is linked to Bevan’s points on respect and
acknowledging multiple views.
Principle 5 – Listen and evaluate the other person’s statement before responding
Headlee, C. (2015, May 7). How to have a good conversation [Video file]. TEDx – Creative
Description: Journalist Celeste Headlee offers advice about the importance of genuinely
listening and says that it is important to acknowledge that communication involves both a
speaker and a hearer. We must learn to listen to understand, not just to reply.
Principle 6 – Learn and Practice your communication skills
Morris-Brown, H. (2016, February 1). The psychology of communicating effectively in a digital
world [Video file]. Ted Talks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aPaRWUqO-w
Description: While Bevan focuses on being appropriate and effective, in this presentation Helen
Morris-Brown explains how to be an effective communicator in the online world
specifically. Does this relatively new form of communication require new rules or is enough to
transfer the cultural guidelines of the face-to-face world?
Option 1 – Personality
Little, B. (2016, February). Who are you really? The power of personality [Video file]. Ted
Description: In this speech, psychologist Brian Little addresses the impact of personality types
and being introverted and extroverted specifically. As you watch, pay attention to the ways he
links introversion and extroversion to specific ways of thinking and communicating. How can
you relate this to the ideas of self that were addressed in Bevan?
Option 2 – Is social media hurting your mental health?
Parnell, B. (2017, June 22). Is social media hurting your mental health? [Video file]. Ted
Description: In this presentation, digital marketing expert Bailey Parnell addresses many themes
covered in Bevan, including the importance of social comparison, how we judge our own self-
worth, and what social media might be doing to our ideas of self. Discuss those connections
when you do your post.
Option 3 – The skill of self-confidence
Joseph, I. (2012, January 13). The skill of self confidence [Video
Description: Here, athletic Director, Dr. Ivan Joseph explores the importance of positive self-
talk and the relationship between intrapersonal and interpersonal communication and self-
esteem. As you watch, think through how it illustrates points from Bevan.
Option 4 – On Being an Introvert
Cain, S. (2012, February). The power of introverts [Video file]. Ted.com.
Description: Often maligned, in this presentation, author Susan Cain addresses the strengths of
introverts and how they get through in the world. This is a good primer for next week on culture,
as you will see that the dominant culture celebrates extroversion. Think of the ways that she
“accommodated” others in her cultural choices. As you watch, think through how she discusses a
bias against introversion and why it is both unfair and unproductive. How can this be seen
through styles of communication she mentions?
Option 5 – Building self-esteem
Everett, N. (2013, February 8). Meet yourself: A user’s guide to building self-esteem [Video
Description: Activist Niko Everett addresses the importance of “practicing” self-confidence,
including the use of positive self-talk. She explores the relationship between interpersonal and
intrapersonal communication and even mentions the looking glass mentioned in Bevan.
Verbal and nonverbal cues
Option 1 – Language and Thought:
Boroditsky, B. (2017, November). How language shapes the way we think [Video
file]. TEDWomen. https://www.ted.com/talks/lera_boroditsky_how_language_shapes_th
Description: This video explores the ways language shapes patterns of thinking, from assigning
blame to categorizing color. Cognitive scientist Lera Borowotski explains that thought is likely
impossible without language and it structures our sense of reality. As you watch, think about the
links between language and values, traditions, and norms.
Option 2 – Linguistic prejudice:
Lieberman, M. (2014, November 12). Sociolinguistics and dialects [Video file]. The Ling
Description: Linguist Moti Lieberman explains the idea of dialects and contends that all are
equal, from a scientific position. However, through class, age, region, religion, or other factors,
some can frame theirs as superior or “proper,” while others are not (a type of prejudice). This is
true of African American Vernacular English specifically. As you watch, think about whether
one should be strategic about how they speak in different contexts to achieve their goals.
Option 3 – Nonverbal communication
Riccardi, P. (2014, October 21). Cross cultural communication [Video file]. TED X –
Description: An Italian who lived in England and then moved to Norway discusses the many
cultural differences he has witnessed. As you watch, focus on the ways he addresses nonverbal
Race and Ethnicity:
Option 1 – How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them.
Myers, V. (2014, December 15). How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them [Video
file]. TED: Beacon
Description: In this video, diversity advocate Verna Myers suggests we make three changes to
adjust our attitudes about black men specifically. First, we should counter the negative images
that surround us with positive. Second, we should expand our horizons. And third, when we see
something, we should say something. As you watch, think through the moments when she
addresses perception, attitude, and behavior.
Option 2 – Focusing on similarity over difference:
Nimenya, S. (2016). We are not all that different: Race and culture identity [Video file].
Description: Activist Seconde Nimenya addresses the idea of “difference” specifically, and how
it intersects with race and ethnicity, especially in the United States. She chooses being better
over being “bitter.” This allowed her to try to create bridges between cultures. Pay close
attention to what she says about the idea of “difference” and how cultural training focuses on
difference can lead to stereotypes and biases. She shares three strategies for how we can use to
celebrate difference as a value to achieve tolerance and peace.
Alvarez, L. & Kolker, A. (2001, September 23). Episode One: A nation of tribes [Video
file]. People like us. The Center for New American Media, WETA, and Independent
Television Series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nU5MtVM_zFs
Description: In the United States, most people envision that we are classless or that almost
everyone is “middle class.” But social class does exist and is not just based on income we make,
but also influences how we speak, how we move and the hobbies we enjoy. Here we learn how
social class subtly divides us into “tribes” and unites us within those units as well. When you
watch, think about the role of both verbal and nonverbal cues in this classification system and the
ways people talk about others.
Option 1 – Gender and Credibility
Chemaly, S. (2015, July 28). The credibility gap: How sexism shapes human knowledge [Video
file]. TEDx: Barcelona Women. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HJqtUUDhaxA
Description: Professor Soraya Chemaly argues that sexism structures the world. As you watch,
consider the ways implicit bias might be linked to biased language. Focus on the verbal and
nonverbal elements and how culture structures both our ideas, knowledge, and our lives. Think
about the idea of credibility specifically and how this is linked to the principles of effective
communication addressed in week 1. This leads to different experiences for women or men.
Option 2 – Gender, communication, and the brain
Scott, S. (2014, July 31). Men, women and language – a story of human speech [Video
file]. TED: UCL Women. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iteK4P0nDO8
Description: Neuroscientist Sophie Scott disputes many of the claims others have made about
how gender impacts patterns of communication. After discussing the complex process for even
making language, Scott explains that we all use conversation as a type of “social grooming” and
that men and women do it equally.
Option 3 – Gender and Different Styles
Nelson, A. (2014, April 30). A paradigm for understanding how men and women communicate
[Video file]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ooc5pOrYP24
Description: Communication specialist Audrey Nelson addresses discusses some basic
differences between men and women speaking patterns. Specifically, she outlines how women
tend to be more indirect and men more direct, that men are more goal-oriented and women more
process—oriented, men are more content-oriented and women are more feeling-oriented, and
men are more self-oriented and women more other-oriented. Think of how these are connected
to Bevan’s points.
Option1 – First impressions
Cabane, O. F. (2011, November 24). The science of first impressions [Video
Description: Writer and coach Olivia Fox Cabane explains the ongoing importance of first
impressions has not gone away. She addresses the importance of visualization, imagination, and
showing interest in others. As you watch, think about how might you apply some of the advice
she offers on workplace relationships or making an “impression” at work.
Option 2 – Intergenerational communication
Donohue, M. (2016, December 13). How to get along with Boomers, GenXers and Millennials
[Video file]. TEDX Toronto. https://youtu.be/RtDxPcQ8GJg
Description: Scholar Mary Donohue explores the role of generational categories in styles of
communication. She sees boomers as focused on legacy and are geared toward auditory
exchanges, gen-Xers are seen as builders and are focused on the visual, and Millennials are
adapters and adopters. She offers advice about how to address generational differences. Look to
see if you see any links to Bevan on intergenerational communication.
Option 3 – The secret to better work
Achor, S. (2012, February 1). The happy secret to better work [Video file]. TED
Description: In a reversal of logic, positive psychologist Shawn Achor emphasizes that we
should be happy then work, not that we should try to become happy as a result of work. What
might this mean in terms of our patterns of intrapersonal or interpersonal communication? So,
instead of thinking that success leads to happiness, we must think of how happiness leads to
success. Is your job satisfaction (happiness) determined by your external world or your internal
processing of your work?
Option 4 – Values – The value of empathy and vulnerability
Brown, B. (2010). The power of vulnerability [Video file]. TEDxHouston.
Description: Storyteller-researcher Brene Brown explores the idea of empathy and how it is
fundamental to positive relationships. Connecting to others is at the center of her speech and we
do this through both verbal and nonverbal communication. The opposite of connection is shame.
Watch her speech to hear more about how to overcome shame, be compassionate, and connect to
others. Much of this involves being vulnerable. Can vulnerability lead to healthier relationships?
Watch her speech to see if you agree.