Topic outline

  • Course Introduction

    The introduction of Business Communication for Success, the textbook used throughout this course, notes that "[E]ffective communication takes preparation, practice, and persistence.  There are many ways to learn communication skills; the school of experience, or 'hard knocks,' is one of them.  But in the business environment, a 'knock' (or lesson learned) may come at the expense of your credibility through a blown presentation to a client.” Effective communication skills are a prerequisite for succeeding in business.  Communication tools and activities connect people within and beyond the organization in order to establish the business's place in the corporate community and the social community, and as a result, that communication needs to be consistent, effective, and customized for the business to prosper.  Business Communication for Success provides theories and practical information that represent the heart of this course, while additional resources are included to expand or pose alternatives to the approaches chosen in the textbook.  You will receive maximum benefits from this course if you complete the readings first and then use the additional resources to fill in the blanks and/or reconsider the topics in the textbook.

    Pages: 2
  • Unit 1: Introduction to Business Communication

    In this unit, you will gain a better understanding of how communication forms a part of your self-concept, helping you understand yourself and others, solve problems and learn new things, and build your career.  You will learn about the transactional and constructivist models of the communication process as well as the eight most widely recognized elements involved in that process.  You will also learn to distinguish the four audience-based contexts of communication and will discover the challenges in framing business communication, which is ethical and effective.
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  • Unit 2: Delivering Your Message

    In this unit, you will focus on the importance of delivering your message in words, including how the characteristics of language interact in ways that can improve and diminish effective business communication.  Language plays a significant role in how you perceive and interact with the world as well as how culture, language, education, gender, race, and ethnicity all influence this dynamic process.  Through this unit, you will discover ways to avoid miscommunication and also identify constructive ways to deliver an accurate message to a targeted audience.

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  • Unit 3: Understanding Your Audience

    In this unit, you will discover how your self-awareness and how others view you influence your effectiveness as a communicator.  Moreover, because of how people select, organize, and interpret words and idea results in preconceived notions and individual differences, audience analysis is also a vital part of crafting messages.  This is why, in this unit, you will learn how to analyze yourself and your audience to maximize how you develop and distribute information.

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  • Unit 4: Effective Business Writing

    In this unit, you will explore the written word in a business context, including the important but contrastingly asynchronous elements which that communication shares with oral communication.  Successful writing develops from such good habits as reading, targeted writing practice, and critical thinking and is characterized by the use of rhetorical and cognitive strategies.  Accordingly, you will learn to apply appropriate styles and ethical principles in various business writing contexts while recognizing the kinds of barriers that can challenge your communication objectives and outcomes.

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  • Unit 5: Business Writing in Action

    In this unit, you will survey the most common written communication formats that represent you and your business, focusing on the content, design, utilization, and social customs associated with each format.  You will become more familiar with the different elements included in each format and the functions they perform with respect to crafting messages that have specific goals and are thus tailored to influence specific audiences.

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  • Unit 6: Developing Business Presentations

    In this unit, you will become more knowledgeable about the process of creating a speech and gain confidence in your organizational abilities.  Preparation and organization are two main areas that, when well-developed prior to a presentation, significantly contribute to reducing your level of speech anxiety.  From choosing a topic to finding and evaluating resources as well as avoiding such communication obstacles as cultural perceptions and ethnocentrism, you will become more secure in the decision-making processes that lead to effective oral presentations for a variety of audience types.

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  • Unit 7: Organization and Outlines

    In this unit, you will return to the rhetorical situations and cognate strategies that control the development of an oral presentation.  In addition, you will encounter sample speeches illustrating how content is built around a set of organizational principles and structural elements that are placed into the planning framework known as an outline.  This unit also covers transitions that help the audience understand how a speaker's main ideas are connected.

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  • Unit 8: Presentations to Inform

    In this unit, you will encounter the goals and types of informative speeches and learn how to motivate your audience by making your material relevant and useful, finding interesting ways to frame your topic and emphasizing new aspects if the topic is a familiar one.  Understanding your audience, including different learning styles and knowledge bases, must also influence how a speech is developed - functionally as well as ethically.  You will appreciate this as you learn how to apply the five presentation components introduced in Unit 7 to the creation of an informative speech.

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  • Unit 9: Presentations to Persuade

    In this unit, you will understand the nature and challenges of persuasion by becoming more familiar with the principles, functions, and organizational structures associated with persuasive speeches.  By focusing on your audience's traits and needs, you will learn how to present an argument effectively and ethically as well as how to avoid logical fallacies.  This unit also introduces you to the highly business-relevant "elevator speech”: a 30-second persuasive pitch that exemplifies the time-constrained communication challenges often encountered in business settings.

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  • Unit 10: Nonverbal Delivery

    In this unit, you will recognize how nonverbal communication is an influential, contextual process that conveys messages without using words.  By comparing different types of nonverbal techniques, including positioning, gesturing, and visual aids, you will learn how to identify and adopt strategies that are effective with different audiences and in different settings.

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  • Unit 11: Business Presentations in Action

    In this unit, you will survey oral presentation occasions commonly encountered in the business world, including the objectives, content, and practices associated with each occasion.  You will discover that each task requires preparation, practice, and a solid understanding of the roles and responsibilities associated with the many activities you may perform as a successful business communicator.

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  • Unit 12: Negative News and Crisis Communication

    In this unit, you will discover how in times of confusion or crisis, clear and concise communication takes on an increased level of importance.  You will encounter effective ways to deliver negative messages, including the standard process of presenting a buffer or cushion statement, an explanation, the negative news itself, and then a redirecting statement, and you will appreciate how eliciting negative news through feedback is an important way to avoid problems.  Every organization should have a crisis communication plan, which is why you will become familiar with the elements of a crisis plan, including how to manage press conferences.

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  • Unit 13: Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication

    In this unit, you will learn about the self-concept and dimensions of the self as they characterize your intrapersonal communication (i.e., how you communicate with yourself).  In addition, you will examine how you communicate with other individuals--your interpersonal communication habits and needs--and how those characteristics can be explained by social penetration theory and predicted by rituals associated with human interaction and conversation.  You will also learn how effective communication can improve how individuals handle disagreements and misunderstandings.

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  • Unit 14: Intercultural and International Business Communication

    In this unit, you will be introduced to communication challenges that cross cultural and national boundaries.  Because intercultural and international businesses focus less on the borders that separate people and more on the communication that brings them together, you need to be prepared for when your role as a business communicator crosses cultures, languages, value and legal systems, and borders.  This unit will describe the convergent and divergent cultural characteristics that typify the business world and will review the effects of intercultural communication on management styles and the global marketplace.

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  • Unit 15: Group Communication, Teamwork, and Leadership

    In this unit, you will learn about the differences between a group and a team and by doing so will gain a better understanding of the life cycles, member roles, and problem-solving characteristics of those units.  In addition, you will be introduced to some of the standard practices associated with business meetings and how leadership styles impact teamwork and group outcomes.

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  • Optional Course Evaluation Survey

    Please take a few moments to provide some feedback about this course at the link below. Consider completing the survey whether you have completed the course, you are nearly at that point, or you have just come to study one unit or a few units of this course.

    Link: Optional Course Evaluation Survey (HTML)

    Your feedback will focus our efforts to continually improve our course design, content, technology, and general ease-of-use. Additionally, your input will be considered alongside our consulting professors' evaluation of the course during its next round of peer review. As always, please report urgent course experience concerns to and/or our Discourse forums.

  • Final Exam

    Quizzes: 3