communicate better with these 5 free resources

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Everyone communicates. But not everyone is great at it. Never fear! The communication experts who built illumy, the first hyper-communications app, have curated a list of resources you can use to learn how to better negotiate a raise, lead a team, or de-escalate a tense situation. These courses are free, and you can go at your own pace. No need to cram for any exams. 🤓📖

1. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking (edX/Harvard)

Website | Time commitment: ~20 hours

Rhetoric gets a bad rap sometimes. It’s true that the secondary definition of the word is “meaningless speech,” but the main definition of rhetoric is “effective speaking or writing, especially the use of figures of speech and other compositional techniques.”

This course, hosted on online education platform edX, was developed at Harvard—and it’s built around a real Harvard class called “Elements of Rhetoric.” The course is all about breaking down and studying real speeches from historical figures and gifted orators. If you’re looking to speechify like MLK, JFK, or great communicators who weren’t known by their initials, this is the course for you. 🗣👍

EdX, like some other massive open online course platforms, has a freemium model. You can browse every course’s content (and do all the work) for free. If you want your work graded and to receive a certificate of completion, 🎓there’s a small fee.

It’s one of edX’s most popular classes, with new sessions starting all the time.

2. Improving Communication Skills (Coursera/Wharton School of Business)

Website | Time commitment: ~10 hours

Like “Rhetoric,” this course has an Ivy League pedigree. It’s offered by Wharton, the business school 💼 at the University of Pennsylvania, and hosted on Coursera.

This course, which is free to audit, is great for just about everyone. You’ll learn how to spot when someone is lying (and how to react if they are), how to foster trust, the ideal communication method for negotiation, and how to apologize when you make a mistake. 🤭

One of our favorite parts, Communication Skills, demonstrates which medium (phone call, video, face-to-face) is best for delivering your message. You bring the point you want to convey—and this class will help you learn how to get it across.

3. Dan O’Connor’s channel ( YouTube)

Website | Time commitment: as little as 90 seconds

It’s true: You can become a better communicator in just a minute-and-a-half. Dan O’Connor, a professional communication trainer, has a YouTube channel full of great content, like “How to Deal With Fear and Anxiety in Uncertain Times” and “How to Stop Negative Self-Talk.”

Just browsing Dan’s channel will give you tons of inspiration for how to be a better communicator—there’s even advice on how to appear more confident and attractive. 😎🤩

4. Effective Communication: Writing, Design, and Presentation Specialization (Coursera/Univ. of Colorado)

Website | Time commitment: ~67 hours

“Effective Communication” isn’t one class but four: one on writing, one on graphic design, one on presenting, and a capstone project that brings everything together.

Since these are Coursera courses, you can take one class or all four—it’s up to you. And 67 hours is just the recommended commitment. You’re welcome to go at your own pace.

This module, from the University of Colorado, is focused on business communication—a perfect way to hone your skills if you’re on the job market, or for anybody looking to become a sharper speaker and presenter.

5. Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills (edX/Univ. of Michigan)

Website | Time commitment: ~20 hours

You might think of negotiation as an essential tactic in the boardroom—but when you think about it, you negotiate all the time in your daily life.

Putting your kid to bed 🛏 definitely requires negotiation. Convincing your spouse to get sushi 🍣 for the third time this week? Negotiation. Getting the price you want on that 1970s muscle 💪 car? That’s negotiation, too.

While we can’t do anything about the overheated used-car market, we can point you to this edX course from the University of Michigan. You’ll even learn how to create a contract. Make that 8:00 p.m. bedtime enforceable by law! ⚖️

Love a free resource that we missed? Hit us up: @illumyinc on all platforms.



Photo by Beci Harmony on Unsplash

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