Unit 1: Introduction to Business Communication
Communication is an important part of your self-concept. This unit will help you solve problems by understanding yourself and others and recognizing the role you play as communicator. You will learn about different models of the communication process, as well as the most widely-recognized elements of those processes. You will also learn to recognize the audience-based contexts of communication and discover the challenges of framing business communication in an ethical and effective manner.
Completing this unit should take you approximately 4 hours.
Upon successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:
- discuss the importance of practicing proper communication skills in business;
- match the eight communication process components to their respective functions or characteristics;
- describe the distinguishing features of intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, public, and mass communication contexts;
- explain the differences between the transactional and constructivist models of communication;
- outline the challenges associated with the two primary responsibilities of a business communicator: being ethical and being prepared; and
- explain how the three parts of communication (verbal, nonverbal, and tone) affect effective communication.
1.1: Why Is It Important to Communicate Well?
Read these sections, which emphasize how communication forms a part of your self-concept, helping you to understand yourself and others, solve problems, learn new things, and build your career. Attempt the exercises at the end.
As you watch this video, think about the basics of communication and how they impact you not only in business, but also in many other aspects of your life.
1.2: What Is Communication?
Read this section, which describes the communication process, including its eight essential elements: source, message, channel, receiver, feedback, environment, context, and interference. This section also reviews communication models based on transactions and shared meaning. After you read, attempt exercises at the end of the section.
This video describes the categories of communication as parts of a pyramid-shaped structure of communication science. Why is it important to appreciate communication science? This video shows that "institutional communication", which is another way of describing business communication, is near the top of the pyramid. Why is institutional communication at a higher level than group communication, but lower than societal communication?
The Shannon and Weaver model of communication is probably the best known of all communication models. This video demonstrates the two reasons behind its popularity: (1) it identifies the most important components of any communication process, and (2) it diagrams how those components interact. What does this mean for you, and how you can become a more effective communicator? You can answer this question and appreciate Shannon and Weaver's model by considering any instance of communication between yourself and any other being capable of communication (including non-humans). Use the model to identify all of the elements you, as a communicator, need to respond to communicate effectively in that instance. For example, think about how you would tell a dog or cat that you approved of its behavior. Think specifically about how you would have to adjust each of the components in Shannon and Weaver's model to ensure that the dog or cat understood you. Next, think about how you would respond differently to those components if you needed to communicate the same kind of approval to a human being, perhaps a co-worker or trainee. Finally, consider a scenario in which you had to communicate disapproval to an already hostile individual. Which elements in the model would you have to modify? These questions illustrate how Shannon and Weaver's model increases your awareness of communication situations and enables you to "first seek to understand, then seek to be understood".
This video reinforces the importance of understanding communication, covering the subject in greater depth than previous videos. Both the lecturer's comments and the slideshow are dense with information, so be sure to take notes. Pay attention to the slide that diagrams a model of communication that is slightly different from the Shannon and Weaver model. Many models exist to explain the communication process, although most are very similar, and nearly all of them include at least some of the components in Shannon and Weaver's model.
1.3: Communication in Context
Read this section, which introduces intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, public, and mass communication. It also discusses their advantages and disadvantages, and appropriate and inappropriate ways to use each one. After you read, try the exercises at the end of the section.
Watch this brief video to reinforce the different kinds of communication you explored earlier and see examples for each level.
1.4: Your Responsibilities as a Communicator
Read this section, which addresses you as a communicator and emphasizes how good communicators should be ethical and well-prepared. After you read, try the exercises at the end of the section.
Seek first to understand, then seek to be understood. It is a communicator's responsibility to make others understand the communication. In this video, he recommends a simple three-step process. After watching, think about when someone misunderstood your message, and then try analyzing the situation by describing the purpose, details, and action. Did this process help you identify where you erred or were weak in your responsibilities as a communicator?
Watch this video, which will help you recognize the factors influencing your communication effectiveness and reactions to communication stimuli. The neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) model introduced in the video focuses on physical communication elements to explain how the mind filters the information we receive externally and internally. Awareness of these factors can help a communicator overcome his or her negative impacts. After you watch, write a paragraph that summarizes the NLP Communication Model.
Watch this brief video about body language and what it says about you. How can you apply these concepts in your professional and personal life?
This video illustrates how to match your body language, tone of voice, and word choices to create rapport.
Watch this brief video that explains emotional intelligence, indicators of high emotional intelligence, and why emotional intelligence is important in the workplace and within communication. As they talk about identifying those with high emotional intelligence, think about how you would fit into each category. Also, think of peers or colleagues that may have the specific characteristcs mentioned.
This video focuses on the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership and how it impacts the workplace.
This video highlights how emotional intelligence impacts all aspects of life - work, relationships, and overall happiness. It also provides specific tactics to strategically and effectively improve emotional intelligence. The interviewee provides specific examples to improve emotional intelligence. As he speaks, think of how and when you could implement these ideas.
Unit 1 Assessment
- Receive a grade
Take this assessment to see how well you understood this unit.
- This assessment does not count towards your grade. It is just for practice!
- You will see the correct answers when you submit your answers. Use this to help you study for the final exam!
- You can take this assessment as many times as you want, whenever you want.