BUS210 Study Guide

Site: Saylor Academy
Course: BUS210: Business Communication
Book: BUS210 Study Guide
Printed by: Guest user
Date: Saturday, April 13, 2024, 12:38 PM

Navigating this Study Guide

Study Guide Structure

In this study guide, the sections in each unit (1a., 1b., etc.) are the learning outcomes of that unit. 

Beneath each learning outcome are:

  • questions for you to answer independently;
  • a brief summary of the learning outcome topic; 
  • and resources related to the learning outcome. 

At the end of each unit, there is also a list of suggested vocabulary words.


How to Use this Study Guide

  1. Review the entire course by reading the learning outcome summaries and suggested resources.
  2. Test your understanding of the course information by answering questions related to each unit learning outcome and defining and memorizing the vocabulary words at the end of each unit.

By clicking on the gear button on the top right of the screen, you can print the study guide. Then you can make notes, highlight, and underline as you work.

Through reviewing and completing the study guide, you should gain a deeper understanding of each learning outcome in the course and be better prepared for the final exam!

Unit 1: Introduction to Business Communication

1a. Recognize the importance of practicing proper communication skills in business

  • How can business communication be considered a problem-solving activity?
  • How does communication affect how we view ourselves and others?
  • What role does communication play in how we learn?
  • What communication skills are desired by employers?
  • How do our communication skills represent us and the workplace?

Communication is an essential part of every aspect of our lives, whether that communication is personal, professional, or within society. Our ability to communicate effectively does not happen overnight and results from our experiences, our training, and the new knowledge we gain each day.

Consider your daily communications in the broadest sense. Think about how you approach these interactions and the influences that affect your behavior. Relate the course resources to these interactions so that you can see how they are being applied in real-life situations.

To review these concepts, see Why is it Important to Communicate Well?.


1b. Match the eight communication process components to their respective functions or characteristics

  • How would you describe each aspect of the definition of communication?
  • List and describe the eight essential components of communication. 

The definition of communication is to share. But to make communication effective, we must go through a process to ensure that our shared meaning is understood.

The eight components of communication are:

  1. Source
  2. Message
  3. Channel
  4. Receiver
  5. Feedback
  6. Environment
  7. Context
  8. Interference

Each item plays an integral role in the communication process. Explore these elements and think about a specific conversation you participated in today. Consider each of the communication elements as described in this section and connect them to your conversation. Ask yourself if each element was properly addressed, and think about how you can improve on them in your next conversation.

To review these concepts, see What is Communication?.


1c. Identify examples of intrapersonal, interpersonal, group, public, and mass communication contexts, and describe the distinguishing features of each communication context

  • What is intrapersonal communication?
  • What is interpersonal communication?
  • What are the basic aspects of group communication?
  • What are the processes for both written and oral public communication?
  • What is mass communication?

Now that you are familiar with the definition of communication and its various components, we will look at the various types of communication that exist. For example, we might engage in self-talk or be speaking with one other person, in a group, to the public, or the larger masses.

Talking to ourselves is known as intrapersonal communication. We give ourselves both positive and negative reinforcement, enabling us to work through any issues or problems we may be facing.

When we are speaking with another person, we are engaged in interpersonal communication. This might take place at work, at home, with friends, or in other social situations.

Group communication takes place among several people and usually consists of between three and eight people. When groups become larger than this, they tend to break up into smaller, more manageable numbers.

Public communication is when one person addresses a larger group of individuals. The message can be both oral and written, but the speaker leads the discussion. This is different than group communication in that the audience members here defer to the speaker.

Finally, mass communication is a means by which a single message can be distributed to a large group of people. A company CEO might send a memo to all employees about a new policy, or a school official might send a blast email to all students about an upcoming change in the schedule of classes.

Consider what the most effective strategy will be for getting your message across. What if you used a different method of communication for your message? Would it reach its intended receiver in the same way and with the same impact?

To review these concepts, explore Communication in Context.


1d. Explain the differences between the transactional and constructivist models of communication

  • What is the process for the Transactional Model of Communication?
  • What is the Constructivist Model of Communication?

Within communication processes, several models describe how a message is sent and received. We may find that we play both roles simultaneously and that we may each interpret those messages in different ways.

Instead of looking at both the sender and receiver as separate actions, the transactional process views the sending and receiving of a message as occurring simultaneously. As a result, there is little distinction between the two parties during the conversation, and each participant plays both roles simultaneously.

In contrast, the constructivist model of communication addressed our individual interpretations of a message. To ensure that each party understands the other, we participate in the practice of a negotiated meaning, where we seek to find common ground.

Think about a recent conversation when both you and the other party spoke at different times and exchanged ideas. Consider how that interaction fits in with the elements of the Transactional Model of Communication. Now, think about any cultural, regional, or ethnic differences you may have with the other party and how those factors might affect whether you each truly understood what the other person had to say. Was there any misunderstanding or uncertainty that might require the need for common ground?

To review these concepts, explore What is Communication?.


1e. Outline the challenges associated with the two primary responsibilities of a business communicator: being ethical and being prepared

  • What factors define a prepared communicator?
  • What steps are needed to ensure that a communicator is ethical?

As a business professional, you are communicating with others all the time. Your audience has a certain level of expectations that you are expected to fulfill.

Think about a recent situation where you were required to communicate with others in a business situation. Were you organized in your presentation, and did you show up on time? Were you clear and concise so that your audience was able to grasp your meaning easily? If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you might think about better preparation for your next business communication.

In your example we are using here, did you treat your audience fairly and equally? Did you treat all members of your audience with respect? Ensure that you demonstrate to your audience that you can be trusted; remember the "golden rule".

If you find that some of these factors are not resonating with you in your communication practices, review Your Responsibilities as a Communicator for some pointers.


1f. Understand how the 3 parts of communication (verbal, nonverbal, and tone) affect effective communication

  • What levels of communication are expressed by the words we speak? Our body language?
  • How can our verbal and non-verbal communication present conflicting messages?
  • How can mirroring body language and tone of voice facilitate improved business relationships and build rapport?

In addition to the actual words we speak, our body language speaks volumes about what we are thinking and feeling.

What do you think your body language says about you in a business situation? Do you present a "closed" demeanor, or does your body language illustrate that you are relaxed, open, and ready to develop a meaningful business relationship? Consider the body language of a person with whom you recently spoke. What sense did you get from their tone of voice, facial expressions, and hand gestures? In your next conversation, apply the concepts in each of the videos in this section of your course. View them for a refresher: Nonverbal-Verbal Channels and Matching and Mirroring to Build Rapport.


Unit 1 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Storytelling
  • Communication strategies
  • Self-concept
  • Source
  • Message
  • Channel
  • Receiver
  • Feedback
  • Environment
  • Context
  • Interference
  • Intrapersonal communication
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Group communication
  • Public communication
  • Mass communication
  • Transactional Model
  • Constructivist Model
  • Common ground
  • Preparedness
  • Ethics in communication
  • The Golden Rule
  • Body language
  • Mirroring
  • Tone of voice
  • Verbal vs. non-verbal communication

Unit 2: Delivering Your Message

2a. Define language and describe its role in perception and the communication process

  • What are the elements that define language?
  • How does the semantic triangle illustrate the meaning of a word?
  • What are some examples of how our manipulation of language can influence the meaning of what we say?

While language and words are a system we use to communicate with others, they only have meaning when interpreted by the receiver of our message. We can intentionally influence that interpretation by integrating certain words and phrases into our messages, or we can unintentionally affect interpretation due to cultural differences or poor word choices.

Consider ad campaigns that use the words "new", "improved", or "natural." The ways consumers interpret those words may vary. For example, we might view a product noted as "new" as completely new to the product category or our specific location. The manufacturer may mean that this version of the product is new. What does "improved" really mean to each of us? Don't we all have different thresholds by which "improved" could be measured? Someone who only buys organic products might view the word "natural" as fitting their organic lifestyle, while the manufacturer might have only used products found in nature to make the item.

We can manipulate the meaning of our messages simply by choosing specific words. However, the ways our audience interprets those words may not be the same as our intent.

To review the meaning of language, see What is Language?.


2b. Explain how language is shaped by rules and how reality is shaped by language

  • What are the characteristics of primary messages, secondary messages, and auxiliary messages?
  • What are the parts of a message?

There are several components to a message. When we communicate, we share intended content that is delivered verbally and nonverbally. Our messages also include unintended content, which can be misinterpreted based on perceptions of age, gender, mannerisms, and other factors over which we have no control. Additionally, our tone of voice, gestures, posture, or the rate at which we speak all influence the perception of our message by the receiver.

Primary messages include our verbal and nonverbal intent and the words with which we express ourselves. While our meaning may be obvious to us, the receiver may misunderstand our message based on cultural or language differences.

Secondary messages represent our verbal and nonverbal unintentional content. These include the impressions an audience forms of the speaker based on physical characteristics, gender, ethnicity, mannerisms, and other factors over which we have no control. The ways the audience perceives these factors can unintentionally affect their interpretation of our message.

Finally, auxiliary messages refer to the intentional and unintentional ways a primary message is communicated, including tone of voice, posture, and the rate at which we speak. These factors, too, can influence the way our message is interpreted.

For additional review, read Messages.


2c. Develop appropriate strategies for improving verbal communication

  • What are the syntactic, semantic, and contextual rules of language?
  • Why is our reality shaped by our language?
  • What is the difference between denotative meaning and connotative meaning?
  • How does language enable us to organize and classify reality?

Verbal communication is based on five key principles.

The first of these is that communication includes rules. Syntactic rules govern the order of words in a sentence. The English language is flexible when it comes to word order, but some grammatical structures must be followed so that messages can be clear to the audience.

Semantic rules oversee the meaning and interpretation of words. This is separate from the actual mechanics of a word. Finally, contextual rules relate to the meaning of a word based on context and social custom. Some words or phrases can have different meanings depending on the situation they are used in or depending on other cultural factors.

The second key principle is that our language shapes reality. This includes our customs, values, and traditions that affect what is expected of us, both by ourselves and by others. A paradigm, or a clear point of view, forms a framework from which we understand how things work around us.

The third principle is that language is arbitrary, and symbolic language encompasses denotative meaning and connotative meaning. Denotative meaning refers to the commonly-used dictionary meaning of a word, while connotative meaning relates to the emotions a word evokes, both positive and negative.

The fourth principle, that language is abstract, relates to our environment. The tendency to label or invoke a word can distort its meaning by the receiver. When we focus on a concrete term or example, we have a better chance of our audience correctly interpreting our message.

The final principle is that language enables us to organize and classify reality. We use words to make order out of our world, what we see and hear, and the relationship things have to each other.

For more details and review, read Principles of Verbal Communication.


2d. Identify clichés, jargon, slang, and sexist or racist language

  • How can a cliché make communication less effective for your reader or listener?
  • In what kinds of situations is using jargon acceptable?
  • Why might miscommunications occur when using slang?
  • What are examples of sexist and racist language? Why are they inappropriate?

There are many reasons for ineffective communication. We can identify six ways that language can present an obstacle to effective communication.

First, using cliches – words that have lost their effect due to overuse – can make us sound silly or give the impression that we are too lazy to find more meaningful words to convey our message.

Second, using jargon can be confusing to an audience that is unfamiliar with the industry. Before using field-specific wording, learn about your audience to ensure that they understand what you are trying to communicate.

Thirdly, slang refers to words that are new to our language and represent other words in an attempt to appear unconventional or rebellious. Generally, professionals should avoid using slang in their communications and stick with more commonly accepted and understood words.

Fourth, using sexist language, which is discrimination based on gender, or racist language, which discriminates against people of a specific race or ethnic group, is never acceptable. In fact, many organizations have specific policies and practices in place that forbid this kind of behavior, with penalties for violations of these rules.

Fifth, a euphemism is an acceptable word that takes the place of a word that is unacceptable or offensive. An audience generally recognizes the meaning of the word being conveyed and recognizes that the speaker is trying to be discreet. However, this may not always be appreciated or accepted by an audience; therefore, euphemisms should be used sparingly or not at all.

Finally, if you have ever read or heard something that doesn't seem to make sense to you, even if you understand the words, you may be exposed to doublespeak. If used on purpose to obscure meaning, there can be serious consequences. We should make every effort to avoid this strategy and provide our audience with clear and concise wording to ensure effective communication between the sender and receiver.

For a more in-depth review, read Language Can be an Obstacle to Communication.


2e. Employ strategies that emphasize your message

  • How can the use of visual elements improve communication?
  • What are signposts? How are they commonly used?
  • What is the role of internal summaries and foreshadowing in message retention?
  • How can using repetition be an effective communications strategy?

What makes one communicator more intriguing than another one? One factor is the ability of the speaker to hold our attention. Effective speakers use strategies that emphasize their messages and further illustrate their points to keep messages interesting and compelling.

Using visuals such as photographs or videos can show an actual person or event. Video stills can show the relationship between two things or offer a diagram of a process. Bar charts, especially those that use various colors, can depict the number of different variables at separate time periods. A pie chart illustrates the percentages an element possesses, while a line graph shows changes among variables over time. Presenting an actual object, or using your body's motion, can both be used to demonstrate an item's usage or operations.

When choosing which visuals to incorporate into a presentation, the speaker should consider the audience, the nature and complexity of the material being presented, and the time allotted for the presentation.

For a more in-depth review, read Emphasis Strategies.


2f. Critique the effectiveness of messaging in an oral or written presentation

  • Why does using precise words improve understanding?
  • What role can contextual clues play in guiding your audience?
  • What image does the tone of your messages convey?
  • How can you evaluate your audience's understanding?
  • How can you tell when a message no longer needs revision?

The focus of the communications process should be on effectively delivering our message. In evaluating our messages, it is important first to define our terms. Not every member of our audience will understand everything we have to say. Our role is to ensure that the meaning of our words is clear.

Next, we should choose precise wording to paint a clear and accurate picture of what we want to say. Using wording that is unclear or obtuse may cause our message to be lost or misunderstood.

It is also important to consider our audience. We should use words they will understand and provide context clues to follow the presentation easily. Be mindful of the time allotted for your presentation, and be respectful of all audience members.

The tone of our voice also affects audience responsiveness. Practice your presentation, ensure that our emphasis is placed correctly, and observe others' styles for tips and hints to improve your own skills.

Be sure to save time for audience feedback. This can help ensure that your audience has understood your presentation and offer you the chance to provide even further valuable information.

Finally, focus on creating a complete presentation that covers all of the relevant points. Know when more revisions are needed, but also learn how to recognize when the presentation is completed.

For a more detailed review, read Improving Verbal Communication.


Unit 2 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Language
  • Primary messages
  • Secondary messages
  • Auxiliary messages
  • Attention statement
  • Introduction of a message
  • Body of a message
  • Conclusion of a message
  • Residual message
  • Syntactic rules
  • Semantic rules
  • Contextual rules
  • Denotative meaning
  • Connotative meaning
  • Cliche
  • Jargon
  • Slang
  • Visuals
  • Signposts
  • Internal summaries
  • Foreshadowing
  • Repetition
  • Precise words
  • Contextual clues
  • Tone

Unit 3: Understanding Your Audience

3a. Recognize the factors that contribute to self-concept

  • What are attitudes, beliefs, and values?
  • What role do self-image and self-esteem play in our self-concept?
  • How does our looking-glass self affect our self-concept?

Our sense of self comes from an awareness of our own perspective of ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world. The emphasis we place on certain elements of our message and our focus on that message affects our interaction with others. Our attitudes, beliefs, and values contribute to our sense of "self", which can change as we evolve and grow as individuals.

Our self-concept is comprised of our self-esteem and self-image. The combination of these two factors defines our identities and what we can accomplish in life. Self-esteem is our self-worth and self-respect, while our self-image is how we describe ourselves to others, including our physical characteristics.

Our looking-glass self also focuses on reinforcing how we look to others and how they view us. We place additional emphasis on those who have some measure of control over us, such as family members or supervisors. We value their feedback since it helps us improve and better understand our own capabilities. Understanding our perspective and self enables us to communicate in both oral and written formats effectively. It ensures that we are paying attention to the information we absorb and share with others.

To review in greater detail, read Self-Understanding Is Fundamental to Communication.


3b. Predict the effect of self-fulfilling prophecies on a given decision-making scenario

  • What is the process of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
  • Can you think of a situation where you created a self-fulfilling prophecy?

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a prediction we make that can affect the outcome of a situation. We make certain assumptions in a situation and behave in a way that fulfills our expectations. We can directly or indirectly affect the outcome, which can have both positive and negative results.

A self-fulfilling prophecy can hinder the ways we view others and affect our own decision-making process. By matching and mirroring others' expectations, we form images of others and ourselves, we communicate based on certain cues, and we adjust behavior to match these expectations. None of the elements may be true or accurate, and they can have a detrimental effect on how we view ourselves and others.

To review, read Self-Understanding Is Fundamental to Communication.


3c. Explain the nature and influence of selective perception

  • What is the role of the "stage" in oral and written communication?
  • How can understanding internal and external stimuli help to improve communication?
  • How would you describe the three main parts of selection (selective exposure, selective attention, and selective retention)?

Each day, we are exposed to an overwhelming amount of stimuli from various sources. Internal stimuli come from within, while external stimuli are outside ourselves. We should keep this in mind as we prepare our presentations to meet the needs of our audiences.

To break through the clutter and give our attention to certain factors while ignoring others, we participate in a process called selection. The three main aspects of selection are exposure, attention, and retention.

Selective exposure includes information to which we choose to pay attention, information that we ignore, and information that is not available. During selective attention, we focus on one stimulus and tune out all others. When we practice selective retention, we are choosing which stimulus we will remember.

For a more in-depth look at the selection process, read Perception.


3d. Identify the Gestalt principles of organization

  • What is the purpose of organization schemes?
  • Explain how the Gestalt principles of organization explain that the whole is greater than the parts.
  • Create a written or oral example that follows the Gestalt principles of organization.

Since we are exposed to so much information, we need to have a process of ordering the data to absorb and comprehend the information. Organization enables us to sort information into categories. When we integrate an organizational process into a presentation, we make it easier for our audiences to follow along and grasp the material.

The Gestalt principles of organization include:

  • Proximity – organization that focuses on the relationship of space to objects
  • Continuity – making connections between things that are sequential
  • Similarity – grouping things by shared properties
  • Uniformity – identifying the ways that things are alike
  • Figure and ground – focus on something that stands out from its surroundings
  • Symmetry – equal balance of things from one side to another
  • Closure – using previous knowledge to fill in the gaps

Integrating these elements into our presentations enables us to stay on topic and ensure that we have not created barriers to understanding for our audience. A clear, concise, and organized presentation or document will retain our audience's attention and enable our message to be communicated and retained.

For a more in-depth look at the Gestalt principles of organization, read Perception.


3e. Explain the relationship between interpretation and perception and why one person's perception can differ from another's

  • Why can the interpretation of a message change over time?
  • What are the barriers that can change our perspective?
  • What role do listening skills play in our ability to understand and retain information?
  • What are the individual differences that can affect our perception? How would you define them?

Perception is affected by a wide range of factors. Our past experiences and our current situation all play a part in how we perceive and interpret the information we receive. Our individual differences, such as our physical characteristics, state of mind, cultural background, and values, all play a role in interpreting messages. Also, the parts of a message on which we focus our attention generally relate to our specific areas of interest and familiarity.

However, our individual interpretations of a message may hinder our understanding of the sender's intended meaning. For example, if a speaker discusses product distribution, someone in the retail industry might interpret this as how a product reaches the ultimate consumer user. Someone in the logistics industry might interpret this as the product making its way from the manufacturer to a warehouse.

For a more in-depth review, read Differences in Perception.


3f. Analyze the demographics of a particular group to predict their interests, needs, and goals

  • What are the questions that should be answered to understand an audience?
  • How do audience demographics affect message delivery?
  • What are some strategies that can improve the perceptions of an audience?
  • Why is it important to be fair to an audience?

There are many ways we can come to know our audience. Learning about the audience's demographics can provide us with insight into the kinds of things they will find interesting and of importance.

Demographics refers to identifiable and measurable characteristics by which people can be defined. These include gender, age, education, income, life cycle, culture, religion, and ethnicity. By understanding our audiences' demographic makeup, we can adjust our presentations to meet their specific needs. As we dig deeper into the factors that define our listeners, we can better customize our message and have a greater audience understanding and retention.

For more information, read, Getting to Know Your Audience.


3g. Differentiate between hearing and listening

  • What are the elements that define both hearing and listening?
  • Why do we ignore some of the things we hear?
  • What are the benefits of active listening?

Hearing is an accidental and unconscious act. The many sounds that occur around us are largely ignored either on purpose or as a matter of course throughout our days. Listening, on the other hand, is an active and focused response. While we may choose to ignore some of the sounds and messages to which we are exposed, when we listen to a message, we are making a concentrated effort at understanding the intended meaning of that communication.

There are many benefits to being an active listener. By better focusing on the information we learn in the classroom, we can become better students. Giving our full attention to the people in our lives makes us better friends and family members.

When we listen to others attentively, we are projecting a caring and interesting image of intelligence and perception.

Finally, being a good listener can benefit us as public speakers. We can pick up tips about style and presentation methods that can enable us to improve our own speaking skills.

For a more in-depth look at how active listening can benefit us, read Listening vs. Hearing.


3h. Explain the habits of active listeners and active readers

  • What are the five strategies that facilitate active listening and reading?
  • Can you think of a situation where you could apply active listening skills?

Active listening and reading require us to give our full attention and be completely "in the moment" of an interaction. However, becoming an active listener and reader can take practice. By paying attention to the words being spoken or written and seeking context clues, we can gain a greater understanding of a message. Offering feedback can also demonstrate our attention to the speaker or writer's message.

Some tips for becoming a more active listener and reader include:

  • Maintain eye contact
  • Listen without interrupting, and don't multitask
  • Focus on the message and not on your own internal thoughts
  • Restate the message in your own words to be sure you understood correctly
  • Ask questions to show interest and gain more insight

By implementing active listening or reading skills, we can give our full attention to the message and ask questions or provide meaningful feedback. Additionally, to gain and maintain trust, we must keep open lines of communication and demonstrate that the relationship is important in the long term.

To review, read Listening and Reading for Understanding.


Unit 3 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Attitudes
  • Beliefs
  • Values
  • Self-concept
  • Self- esteem
  • Self-image
  • Looking-glass self
  • Self-fulfilling prophecy
  • Perception
  • Internal stimuli
  • External stimuli
  • Selective exposure
  • Selective attention
  • Selective retention
  • Organization schemes
  • Gestalt Principles of Organization
  • Interpretation
  • Perspective
  • Individual differences
  • Iceberg Model
  • Demographics
  • Mutuality
  • Nonjudgmentalism
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Reciprocity
  • Hearing
  • Active Listening

Unit 4: Effective Business Writing

4a. Explain the processes involved in effective business communication

  • What are the eight essential elements of communication?
  • How are written and oral communication similar?

Many people find writing to be a challenge. Often, people don't know where to start or how to craft a message that effectively communicates their meaning, and because of this, they find oral communication much easier. However, oral and written communication methods are quite similar based on the words we choose and how we say and write those words.

When we follow the essential communication elements, the writing process becomes less stressful, making an effective outcome easier to achieve.

There are eight elements of communication:

  1. Source – the creator and communicator of the message
  2. Receiver – the one who gets the message from the source
  3. Message – the content of the meaning created by a source for a receiver
  4. Channel – the conduit by which a message travels between a source and a receiver
  5. Feedback – the response a source gets from the receiver
  6. Environment – the actual place where the communication takes place
  7. Context – the psychological expectations of both the source and receiver
  8. Interference – the noise that can hinder the communication process

While writing enables communication between a sender and a receiver, communication does not take place simultaneously. As a result, there is no opportunity for immediate feedback or response, and we should consider the reader's needs and potential responses when we write our messages. In face-to-face communication, however, we can receive immediate feedback and responses to our messages.

To review, read, Oral vs. Written Communication.


4b. Identify the rhetorical elements and cognate strategies that contribute to good writing and explain their purposes

  • What are the three elements of rhetoric? How are they applied to both written and oral communication?
  • Which cognate strategies match with each rhetorical element? Give an example for each.

Good writing fulfills the goals of two systems of communication; rhetoric and cognate strategies. Rhetoric is comprised of logos (logic), ethos (ethics and credibility), and pathos (emotional appeal). Cognate strategies help to promote understanding. By applying cognate strategies to rhetorical elements, we can facilitate good writing and achieve our desired writing goals.

Cognate strategies relate to rhetorical elements as follows:

  • Logos – clarity, conciseness, and arrangement
  • Ethos – credibility, expectation, and reference
  • Pathos – tone, emphasis, and engagement

For more information, read Good Writing.


4c. Demonstrate how the rules that govern written language relate to the legal implications of business writing

  • How has the internet changed the development and use of original written content?
  • What does the concept of ownership mean in the context of online content?
  • What are the consequences of committing libel?

When we write business documents, our work reflects both ourselves and the organization. This content can contribute to organizational success but lead to legal consequences if the material includes false statements about products or individuals or is taken from previously published sources. It is important to remember that our written words will last long after moving on to other projects.

The rapid growth of technology and the internet have made the sharing of information even more complicated, with laws and legislation still attempting to catch up. However, basic rules and laws that govern written documents still apply no matter where our work appears.

Plagiarism, the act of using someone else's words and taking credit for them, violates copyright laws and most company policies.

Libel is a false statement that is communicated in writing and can damage someone's reputation. If this statement is published, whether in a printed media platform or online, the writer may face legal ramifications and be sued for libel. If the person about whom these statements are made is a public figure, the person must prove that there was intent to harm.

While we have the right to share our thoughts and opinions, we must do so in a way that is not harmful to others and ensure that what we are saying is factual.

When writing for a job, whether online or in a document, it is important to adhere to all rules and regulations that protect both the writer and the organization.

To review in more depth, read Principles of Written Communication.


4d. Describe some common barriers to written communication and how to overcome them

  • Why is it important to pay attention to small details in written communication?
  • What is bypassing? Why does it occur?
  • How can the nonverbal aspects of a message hinder understanding?
  • Why are reviewing, reflecting on, and revising a document important?

Effective written communication plays a major role in a business' success. The ways we communicate reflect on our own professionalism and the image of the organization. When we take the time to pay attention to the details in our writing, ensure that what we have to say is meaningful to the receiver, and consider our message's non-verbal aspects, we can better overcome the communication barriers.

It is important to pay attention to small details. Using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation ensures that our message is properly written. It also demonstrates that we have taken the time to review our message, reflecting positively on the writer.

Bypassing is when the meaning of our message is not clear to the receiver. Since words can mean different things to different people, our intentions may not be accurately understood, causing goals to be missed. Therefore, it is important to know your audience and ensure that your syntax and word usage is appropriate and clear.

There are also non-verbal aspects of a written message that need to be considered. These include the format of a message, headers, contact information, and a subject line, where appropriate. Other non-verbal elements include our font choice, the use of symbols, bullet points, and other structural elements.

Finally, it is important to review and revise any written document before it is distributed. Reflect on the content and word choices. Review the document to ensure your meaning is clear. Proofread for any stylistic errors, and recognize when your document is complete.

To review these concepts, read Overcoming Barriers to Effective Written Communication.


4e. Identify the purpose, elements, and formats of memos, business letters, business proposals, reports, resumes, and sales messages

  • How are memos used? How are letters used? When is each appropriate?
  • How can the rhetorical elements of ethos, pathos, and logos be integrated into a business proposal or a sales message?
  • What are the various types of reports? How are they are each organized?

As noted in earlier sections of the course, creating effective business documents requires skill and a great deal of effort. In all types of messages, what we say and how we say it reflects on the writer and the company. As the writer of any document, your goal should be to create a clear, concise, and meaningful message.

Memos are used to communicate with people within an organization. The purpose of a memo is to inform but may also include a call to action. This communication method may be used to dispel any rumors that may be communicated through informal channels, often known as the "grapevine".

In comparison, a letter is a brief message that is sent to people outside an organization. Letters are generally printed on company letterhead as representing the company and should be no longer than a page or two. Letters can be used to discuss business plans or deals, present a sales pitch, accompany a resume, or contain an emotional message.

As discussed earlier, the rhetorical elements of ethos, pathos, and logos play a role in all communications. In a business proposal or sales message, we must demonstrate ethical practices and behavior, represented by the element of ethos. Our documents should also contain an element of enthusiasm and passion, which is noted by the inclusion of pathos. We must also ensure that our proposals and sales message are logical and reasonable, representing the element of logos. Each element is essential for communicating your credibility, responsibility, and that customer needs can be met.

Reports are documents that record and communicate information to the reader. The kind of report developed is determined by the document's purpose and can be either informational or analytical.

Reports come in all different sizes and formats. When developing a report, it is important to remain flexible and consider the characteristics of your audience. The key elements that define how a report is organized include:

  • Who is the report being prepared for?
  • What problem is being addressed? What are the results and recommendations?
  • What is the location of the subject being discussed?
  • What is the timing of the subject being discussed?
  • What is the reason for the report? Who requested the report?
  • How will the topic of the report be used?

For a review of the purpose of various documents, read Business Writing in Action.


4f. Craft effective examples of text messages, emails, memos, business letters, business proposals, and sales messages in business communication

  • How can you apply strategies for creating effective memos to your own writing?
  • What are the elements of a properly-written letter? How do these compare to the letters you have written?
  • What are the differences between a solicited and unsolicited business proposal?
  • What are the differences between an informational report and an analytical report?

When writing any business document, it is essential to ensure that the content is relevant and understandable. Organizing the document in a meaningful way to the reader and including appropriate information will ensure that the document is effective and purposeful.

A memo should always include a header that identifies the sender, the receiver, the date, and a subject line, along with a clear discussion of the message's purpose.

When writing a letter, it is important to use the correct structure and include the proper elements. These elements are:

  • The heading – identifies the sender and may include an address and date
  • The introduction – states the purpose of the letter
  • The body – discusses the overall message
  • The conclusion – sums up the main points and may include a call to action
  • The signature – identifies the sender and may include contact information

Business proposals come in two forms: solicited and unsolicited. A solicited proposal is when a person or company is asked to submit a proposal. The request can be verbal or written and may be an open bid that can be publicly viewed. Business proposals are often referred to as RFPs, or Request for Proposal, and are typical ways for businesses to choose suppliers for goods and services.

An unsolicited proposal is when an individual or organization sends material to a company without being requested. They are generally tailored to that specific business' needs and how the sender can help solve the company's problems or enhance their business operations.

There are two different kinds of reports; informational reports and analytical reports. An informational report may provide instructional information, include details about an event or activity, or discuss specific individuals. This kind of report will include only facts, without any commentary or evaluation.

In contrast, an analytical report will include a detailed analysis that solves a problem, illustrates relationships, or makes recommendations for a solution.

To review more strategies for writing effective documents, read Business Writing in Action.


4g. Explain the purpose and features of functional, reverse-chronological, combination, targeted, and scannable resumes

  • What are the differences between functional, reverse-chronological, combination, targeted, and scannable resumes?
  • When might each type of resume be appropriate?

The purpose of a resume is to illustrate the relationship between an individual's experiences, skills, and ability to perform a job or task. resumes can be written using various formats depending upon the job being sought, which experiences are being highlighted, or how a resume is delivered.

Functional resumes are also be known as competency-based resumes. They focus on the applicant's skills and how that person can perform the functions of the job to which they are applying. Often, people who have gaps in their employment history may use this resume format.

Reverse chronological resumes are also known as reverse time order resumes. They focus on the applicant's consistent work history. However, in this kind of format, it may be difficult to illustrate specific skills and experience.

A combination resume lists skills and experience first, followed by employment history and education. Skills that relate specifically to the job are noted in reverse-chronological order.

A targeted resume focuses on the applicant's skills and experiences that are specific to the job to which the person is applying. The resume highlights the connection between the applicant's experience and his/her ability to perform job functions. This kind of resume takes a great deal of time to prepare and may not fit the requested guidelines for resume submission.

A scannable resume is one that is read by a scanner and is converted to a digital format. Companies use this format to speed up the search process and for environmental reasons. One problem with this strategy is that a scanner may be inaccurate and read the information presented in the resume incorrectly.

For more details about writing a resume that can lead to an interview, read Business Writing in Action.


4h. Critique a set of writing samples, and identify their writing styles and traits associated with effective business writing

  • How do the elements of formal and informal writing differ?
  • In what business situations might a conversational tone be appropriate?
  • What is the purpose of direct and indirect introductions? How are they used?
  • Which is more effective, passive or active voice?
  • What commonly confused words?

Everyone has their own writing style, which can engage, inform, and influence the reader. By planning out the tone, format, and structure of a written document, we have a better chance of creating effective and meaningful work. Connecting with our reader should be a primary objective; the ways that our documents are crafted can be the difference between a document that misses the mark and a document that draws in the reader.

A formal writing style is characterized by a third person focus that is passive and wordy. Sometimes this obscures the actual meaning of the message, which can cause misunderstandings and problems. As a result, less formal styles of writing have evolved to make messages clearer and more concise. However, it is important to consider the reader, the purpose of the communication, and the rules of etiquette. Proper grammar should be used, and the message should always be professional. Further, though, the definition of "professional" can vary and should reflect the company's expectations and the recipient.

Sometimes, business writing can take on a conversational tone. This style reflects our oral tone and word choice and by be appropriate for certain audiences and contexts. However, it should be noted that this style may present an unprofessional image.

A direct introduction to a document states the main purpose upfront. This style makes the meaning clear and immediately evident. This approach is generally used when the writer anticipates a positive response from the reader. An indirect introduction places the main purpose after the opening paragraph, where the writer may seek to gain the reader's attention quickly. This approach is used if a negative response is expected or if bad news is being delivered.

An active voice is when the subject acts. Active sentences are generally shorter, more precise, and easier to understand. This style is the generally recommended method for business communication. Messages written in a passive voice are characterized by the subject as receiving the action and may not identify who is doing the action. This style enables the writer to be more objective.

For a more in-depth review of how to create an effective written document, read Writing Styles.


Unit 4 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to complete the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Asynchronous communication
  • Essential elements of communication
  • Rhetoric
  • Cognate strategies
  • Plagiarism
  • Libel
  • Bypassing
  • Nonverbal aspects of a written message
  • Business proposal
  • Business reports
  • Resumes
  • Writing style
  • Conversational tone
  • Passive voice
  • Active voice
  • Commonly confused words

Unit 5: Developing and Delivering Effective Business Presentations

5a. Identify the various organizing principles of a speech and how to apply them in speech development

  • What are the five general purposes for speaking in public?
  • What are the three components of a rhetorical situation?
  • How do the nine cognate strategies contribute to successful speech communication?
  • How does developing a speech outline enables you to organize ideas and concepts?
  • Pick a famous speech, and analyze the ways the organizing principles for a speech have been applied.
  • How are transitions placed and used in speeches?

The first step in developing an effective speech is to choose a topic. This can be based on specified requirements, audience needs and interests, and other factors. Once a topic has been chosen, speech development can begin. To craft an effective speech, information needs to be organized in a way that demonstrates your knowledge of the topic.

In addition to being helpful in speech development, an organized speech is valuable to your audience, as well. This format will enable you to stay on track and keep your audience interested and engaged.

There are generally five reasons for speaking in public. These include speeches to inform your audience or teach them about a topic; speeches to persuade are intended to change an audience's attitude or beliefs; speeches to entertain are designed to amuse an audience when presenting a position or goal; a ceremonial speech is one that is given at a formal event such as a wedding or funeral.

A rhetorical situation includes three elements; context, the audience, and the purpose of the presentation. The context refers to where we make the presentation and the set-up of the room. The time of day may affect the audience's behavior, which will enable the speaker to prepare for audience moods and demeanor. The context of a speech can also relate to any current events that might affect the presentation in one way or another.

An audience comes to a presentation with a set of expectations and knowledge. The speaker has a responsibility to be aware of the audience's characteristics so that the presentation is appropriate and meaningful to audience members.

The final rhetorical element is the purpose of the presentation. Several aspects of a speech, as noted above, can be integrated into speech development, and the purpose of the speech should be indicated early on in the presentation. This will enable the audience to be prepared for the information to come.

Nine cognate strategies frame the ways we express and represent a message to an audience. They connect with Aristotle's rhetorical proof of pathos, logos, and ethos in the following ways:

  • Pathos – tone, emphasis, engagement
  • Logos – clarity, conciseness, arrangement
  • Ethos – credibility, expectation, reference

There are several different formats by which a speech can be outlined. However, it is important to have a structure to follow. This generally includes an introduction, the body of a speech, a conclusion, and a wrap-up. The outline enables the speaker to organize his or her ideas and ensure that the speech's main points are represented.

An organizing principle is an assumption that the entire presentation is created around. These principles enable you to arrange your presentation according to your audience's needs, the message you are conveying, or the rhetorical situation.

When developing a speech, it is important to hold the audience's attention and ensure that they can follow your thoughts and ideas. One of the strategies used by effective speakers is to ensure that transitions are used appropriately. These are words, phrases, or any visuals you may integrate into your presentation that connect one point to another. They help your audience understand the path you are taking and the relationship the ideas have to each other.

To review the concept of speech organization, read Choosing a Topic and Organization and Outlines.


5b. Identify strategies for maintaining objectivity in a speech

  • How does an objective speech facilitate understanding?
  • What are the differences between exposition and interpretation?
  • What strategies can you use to ensure that your point of view remains neutral?
  • How would you apply those strategies for maintaining neutrality to your own writing?

An informative speech is designed to share new ideas with an audience. To ensure objectivity, the speaker must remove bias and personal interpretation to increase understanding and impart new knowledge to the audience. While this kind of presentation can integrate the speaker's point of view, this must not include a personal attitude or perspective. To maintain objectivity, the speaker should use neutral language that does not appear to be positive or negative toward an issue. Information should come from credible sources without bias in their positions. Be sure to present different sides of an issue and give each perspective equal time. Remember to keep the audience in mind and know that they will not agree with everything you have to say. Finally, keep in mind that you are representing yourself and your business in the presentation.

When developing an objective presentation, it is important to keep in mind the concepts of exposition and interpretation. Exposition is when there is a public display of a complex issue in a way that is clear to the audience. The speaker's responsibility is to ensure that the meaning is clear to the receiver.

Interpretation is when we include our own perspectives and views in a presentation. As a result, our personal attitudes will mean that there could be a bias in how the material is presented.

To review this concept in more detail, read Functions of the Presentation to Inform.


5c. Explain how to develop an audience-centric speech that results in active listening

  • What are some strategies for motivating the listener?
  • What are the elements of framing? How do they help shape information?
  • What are some strategies for connecting with your audience?

One of the most effective ways to ensure that an audience is engaged and listening to a presentation is to focus on the audience members and their needs. By framing your information in a meaningful way and seeking to address various learning styles, you can appeal to all audience members and hold their interest. Find interesting ways to present your material and highlight new viewpoints to engage your listeners further.

The way we present material can affect attitudes and behaviors. The process by which this occurs is called framing. This is done by forming imaginary boundaries around an idea or thought and filling in the frame with related material. For example, we can frame customer service by discussing examples of how various companies treat their customers. We can also act as a gatekeeper and determine the information that we will share with an audience. Coupled with agenda-setting and understanding our audience's culture, we can determine the kinds of information that will strengthen our presentation and our point of view.

Ultimately, our goal is to connect with our audience. Strategies for making this connection include keeping details to a minimum, focusing on our main points, keeping a good pace, speaking clearly, repeating our main points, including time for questions, and ensuring the audience is engaged and gives feedback.

For more details about this concept, read Adapting Your Presentation to Teach.


5d. Describe the steps for creating an effective and ethical informative speech

  • What approach does an ethical speaker take when preparing a presentation?
  • How does an ethical presentation integrate the audience's prior knowledge with respect?
  • What is the role of honesty, trust, and mutuality in presenting an ethical speech?
  • Why is avoiding exploitation when making a speech important?

An informative and ethical speech incorporates the knowledge of both the speaker and the audience. By presenting material honestly and respectfully, the speaker can gain the audience's trust.

In preparing an ethical speech, it is important to be honest and demonstrate integrity at all times. Audiences will recognize this and appreciate your consideration. A speaker should seek to avoid deceiving an audience or manipulating them in any way.

To connect with an audience and demonstrate respect for audience members, a presenter should avoid:

  • Using false or fabricated claims
  • Using misleading logic
  • Representing yourself as an expert when you are not
  • Diverting attention from the main issue
  • Connecting points that are not related
  • Deceiving your audience for your own self-interest
  • Misrepresenting facts to hide the truth
  • Using emotional appeals when they are not warranted
  • Oversimplifying complex issues
  • Not being definitive where appropriate
  • Supporting something you do not believe in

Another aspect of being ethical in a presentation and showing respect for the audience is to avoid using language that is misunderstood or offensive. Demonstrate that you are on common ground with the audience and avoid using industry jargon or words that are exploitative.

For a more detailed review, read Preparing Your Speech to Inform.


5e. describe the individual characteristics of motivation and persuasion and how they can be applied in effective speech development

  • What are the differences between persuasion and motivation?
  • How does measurable gain enable the speaker to evaluate an audience's response to a message?
  • Why is it important to identify an audience as either high-context or low-context?
  • What are the six principles of persuasion?

Persuasion is when we present an argument designed to motivate an audience to change their views about something. This act of persuasion can have both positive and negative results. While this is a process, motivation incorporates a stimulus to bring about the change we seek.

While we may not be able to get all audience members to conform to our views, we can evaluate those who agree with us. This is defined as measurable gain, and can represent a large percentage of our audience or a small number of members. Ultimately, we seek to move our audiences from one position to another.

When evaluating our audiences, it is important to determine if their culture is high-context or low-context. In Japan, for example, the setting and location of a meeting greatly affect how the words are received. This is a high-context culture. Other countries, such as the United States, do not emphasize the setting and, therefore, are defined as a low-context culture. Understanding these factors' effects can help a speaker better prepare the presentation and ensure that all aspects of the event meet the audience's needs and expectations.

When seeking to ensure that our presentations are persuasive, we should integrate six principles of persuasion as follows:

  1. Reciprocity
  2. Scarcity
  3. Authority
  4. Commitment and consistency
  5. Consensus
  6. Liking

To review, read Principles of Persuasion.


5f. Explain how language and cultural obstacles can impede cross-cultural communication

  • How do the elements of perception affect the ways we interpret language?
  • Which cultural dimensions influence the ways we view the world?
  • How and why do people put up barriers to other cultures?

Perception is affected by our cultural value system, which encompasses what we value and what we pay attention to. Role identities focus on expected behavior based on social norms. In a business setting, we also have roles to play, which can be affected by the cultures from which we come. Goals are the objectives we value and can vary across cultures. In a business environment, it is important to understand the goals and values of the cultures with which we interact to be respectful of others' behavior and prepare our presentations properly.

There are a variety of cultural differences that change the ways people behave. Individualistic cultures are made up of people who value their freedom and independence.

Collectivistic cultures include people who value their families and communities over their own needs. In explicit rule cultures, rules are discussed and are expected to be known by all. This is compared to implicit rule cultures where the rules are implied and known but not necessarily stated. In uncertainty-accepting cultures, people focus on basic principles rather than specific rules and understand that the outcome may not be known. In comparison, uncertainty-rejecting cultures include people who focus on rules and do not like ambiguity.

Unfortunately, people are not always accepting of those from other cultures. Sometimes, people will form opinions of others by stereotyping those from other cultures. This involves making generalizations about a particular culture or ethnicity, which can be insulting and demeaning.

Prejudice is when we have a negative judgment of others that directs our behavior toward them. As a result, people from these cultures are not looked at as individuals and are not treated fairly within society.

Finally, some of our experiences may lead us to an attitude of ethnocentrism. This is when we hold our own culture and background in higher regard than other cultures and view our own way of doing things as the "right" way.

All of these thoughts and attitudes can negatively affect how we communicate with people from cultures different from our own. By understanding and accepting people from various backgrounds, we can have more effective and meaningful communications.

To review, read Overcoming Obstacles in Your Presentation.


5g. Use argumentative strategies and emotional appeals in a presentation that is honest and maintains ethical standards

  • How would you compare the six-part rhetorical argumentative strategy with the three-part rhetorical argumentative strategy?
  • What are the elements of the GASCAP/T model for organizing an argument?
  • What role do emotions play in a presentation? How can you appeal to emotions?

The six-part argumentative strategy includes the following elements:

  1. Exordium – prepares the audience for your perspective
  2. Narration – provides your audience with the background for your perspective
  3. Proposition – introduces your audience to your claims
  4. Confirmation – offers your audience support for your claims
  5. Refutation – addresses counter-arguments and objections
  6. Peroration – presents your conclusion

In comparison, the three-part argumentative strategy includes:

  1. Your claim – your statement of truth
  2. The data – the information that supports your claim
  3. Warrant – makes the connection between your claim and your support

Both strategies can be used to ensure that you have included all of the proper elements to present your argument in a clear and cogent manner.

GASCAP/T is the acronym for the following aspects of argumentative strategies:

  • Generalization – what is true of one sample is likely to be true of the entire population it came from
  • Analogy – things or ideas that are alike in observable ways will likely be similar in other ways
  • Sign – data indicates an understandable meaning
  • Consequence or Cause – if two conditions always appear together, they are causally related
  • Authority – information stated by a credible source is probably true
  • Principle – something that is accepted to be true
  • Testimony – something that comes from personal experience

Emotions change our perspective and can move the audience in a certain direction. Before using an emotional appeal, we should consider the effects of this strategy.

Sometimes, an audience will demonstrate emotional resistance, which is when they are tired of receiving messages that try to get an emotional response.

It is important to remember that emotions are universal, however, and influence how we communicate. Expressing these emotions is important but should be communicated with tact, timing, and trust. Also, we communicate our emotions in both verbal and non-verbal ways, and we should be aware of our body language and how we present ourselves.

Done properly, using an emotional appeal can elicit a positive response, but when used poorly, emotions can break trust and damage an established relationship.

It is important to remember that emotions can be contagious. An audience can feel our enthusiasm and respond in kind. At the same time, we can absorb our audience's emotions and integrate these feelings into our presentations and speeches.

For more details, read Making an Argument.


5h. Create pitches of varying lengths using the elements of elevator speeches and sound bites

  • What are the elements of an elevator speech?
  • What are the elements of a sound bite?
  • Can you think of some examples of different types of sound bites?

An elevator speech is a short pitch to a listener that should take 30 seconds or less. The speaker should be as concise as possible and include an attention statement, an introduction, the benefits we can offer, an example of our skills, and a request for next steps.

A sound bite is a brief statement that focuses on one aspect of a longer message. They can be taken from interviews, articles, speeches, or other written or oral messages. Sounds bites should be clear and concise. They should use dynamic language, be easy to repeat, and be memorable.

Slogans and quotes are types of sound bites. A slogan is a memorable phrase about a product or service designed to influence people or companies to make a purchase decision. A quote is a memorable saying that can be taken from a written or oral message and can be serious, thought-provoking, or amusing.

For more details, read Elevator Speech and Business Presentations in Action.


5i. Explain how agendas and other strategies may be used to ensure that business meetings are productive

  • Why is having a meeting agenda important?
  • What methods can you use to ensure a meeting is productive?

A meeting agenda serves as a guideline for how a meeting is conducted or organized. An effective agenda includes the following elements:

  • Title header
  • List of participants
  • Subject line
  • Call to order
  • Introductions
  • Roll call
  • Reading of the minutes
  • Old business
  • New business
  • Reports (may be optional)
  • Good of the order
  • Adjournment

Facilitating an effective meeting takes skills and practice. In addition to preparing a proper agenda, some of the elements that can enable a meeting to run smoothly include sending our reminders, starting and ending a meeting on time, ensuring that all attendees are introduced to each other and that roles are defined, adhering to the order of the agenda, and thanking attendees for their participation.

To review, read Meetings.


Unit 5 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Public speaking
  • Rhetorical situation
  • Cognate strategies
  • Outline
  • Organizing principles
  • Transitions
  • Objectivity
  • Exposition
  • Interpretation
  • Bias
  • Listening
  • Framing
  • Gatekeeping
  • Agenda setting
  • Culture
  • Limiting details
  • Focus
  • Pacing
  • Clarity
  • Repetition
  • Reinforcement
  • Audience involvement
  • Assess learning
  • Ethics
  • Reciprocity
  • Mutuality
  • Nonjudgmentalism
  • Honesty
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Exploitation
  • Persuasion
  • Measurable gain
  • High-context culture
  • Low-context culture
  • Stereotypes
  • Prejudice
  • Ethnocentrism
  • Emotions
  • Elevator speech
  • Sound bites
  • Meeting agenda

Unit 6: Negative News and Crisis Communication

6a. Describe the elements and goals of a negative news message

  • Identify and define the seven goals of a negative news message
  • Define the four main parts of a negative news message

While not desirable, negative news messages must be communicated from time to time. Negative news is something that an audience does not want to hear or receive. However, in an emergency or when bad news must be delivered, the news must be shared as effectively and clearly as possible. Being prepared is essential and can make a great deal of difference in how the news is received.

Negative news can include a crisis or health emergency, a job performance review or layoff, or other negative messages. Being prepared is essential and can make a great deal of difference in how the news is received. This delivery can help to maintain established relationships with employees, the public, and other stakeholders.

When preparing a negative news message, it is important to keep in mind these goals for both verbal and written communications:

  • Be clear, concise, and thorough in the information shared
  • Enable the receiver to understand and accept the news
  • Maintain respect for all parties involved
  • Be sure that all information is accurate and free of the potential for legal liability
  • Take steps to maintain the relationship
  • Seek to reduce any anxiety that might result from the news
  • Ensure that business outcomes are achieved

It has become more common for negative news messages to be delivered both verbally and in writing. Whatever form is used, a negative news message should include these elements:

  • The buffer – sets the tone for the message to come
  • The explanation – describes the reason for the issue
  • The negative news – the information being communicated
  • The redirect – the solution or actions to be taken

For more details, read Negative News and Crisis Communication.


6b. Compare sample negative news messages to determine what makes one more effective than the other

  • What strategies can you use to ensure that your message lowers the risk of litigation?
  • What are the pros and cons of delivering negative news in both verbal and written formats?

When delivering a negative news message, did you consider how the news could be received? Think about how effective your message was in clearly communicating the information. If you had been on the receiving end of the message, would you have felt that the deliverer took into account the ways you could receive and process the information? Consider these factors the next time you are involved in negative news, either from the perspective of the sender and the receiver.

To ensure that you reduce the risk of litigation, it is important to avoid profanity, sarcasm, or abusive language. This could negatively affect your organization and the image of the company. Be professional at all times and ensure that you treat the receivers of your messages with respect.

There are pros and cons to delivering negative news in person vs. in writing. Personal delivery of negative news allows for emotional responses, which can be a benefit or make the situation worse. A phone call can facilitate quick feedback and responses and enable both parties to discuss the situation. However, facial expressions and body language aren't visible and can result in a misinterpretation of some aspects of the message.

A written message can be prepared in advance, ensuring that the wording is clear, concise, and free of errors or confusion. However, this can be impersonal and may be subject to interpretation.

When evaluating the delivery of a negative news message, the medium, the audience, and the words being used should all be carefully considered to ensure that the communication is as effective as possible.

For a review, read Negative News and Crisis Communication.


6c. Compare direct and indirect delivery methods for negative news

  • Identify situations in which a direct approach is appropriate
  • Identify situations in which an indirect approach is appropriate

Consider the kinds of negative messages you have either received or delivered. Were the messages to the point, or was there some chance that the information might not have been communicated as intended or received well? Some people prefer their bad news to be direct and concise. Others may prefer a less direct approach.

Whether you determine that a direct or indirect approach is warranted, your job is to deliver news that you anticipate will be unwelcome, unwanted, and possibly dismissed. Any effective message will state the information in a way that limits the potential for misunderstanding or misinterpretation.

For a review, read Negative News and Crisis Communication.


6d. Understand how open- and closed-ended questions are applied to elicit certain kinds of feedback

  • Describe the nature of an open-ended question
  • Explain the value of an open-ended question
  • Describe the nature of a closed-ended question
  • List different types of closed-ended questions

Open-ended questions allow for the respondent to share their thoughts and comments in their own words. There are no parameters or restrictions on what the survey participant can include. Using this type of question enables the researcher to gather qualitative information, which provides a more personal and in-depth response.

Closed-ended questions can include a yes/no response, multiple-choice options, scales, ratings, and numerical answers. These questions limit answer choices and offer quantitative results, which the researcher can tabulate for a calculated analysis.

Using both open-ended and closed-ended questions, a researcher can obtain qualitative and quantitative data, which can be valuable when making business decisions.

For more details, read Eliciting Negative News.


6e. Recognize the components of a crisis communication plan contained within a given scenario

  • Identify the roles of communication crisis team members
  • Discuss the four elements of a crisis communication plan

A crisis communication team should include members who have contact information for each other. The team's plan should include a spokesperson who will be comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people and sharing important information about the crisis. The team is responsible for determining the actions to be taken during a crisis, carrying out those actions, and offering expertise and guidance where needed.

The team should ensure that there are identified meeting places to avoid confusion and to ensure safety for all involved. Finally, the team's spokesperson will be responsible for gathering the information to be shared with the public and the media and determining which information will be shared and in what time frame.

To review, read Crisis Communication Plan.


6f. Explain the purpose of a press conference and how to prepare for and conduct one

  • Identify the elements discussed in a press conference
  • Describe the format of a press conference and the roles of the participants

A press conference can be held to communicate both positive and negative announcements. For example, a company may open a new plant in a global market or close down several locations.

A press conference may include a greeter who will welcome the audience and introduce the speaker. The speaker is responsible for communicating the information in a calm, objective, and professional manner. The speaker should have a prepared message that has likely been written by a media person or someone from a public relations department. Additionally, a press conference may also include a moderator who can field questions from the audience and ensure that the event stays on target and on time.

A press conference should answer the basic questions of who, what, where, when, how, and why. The speaker should answer questions honestly and avoid responses that can be perceived as hiding something.

For review, read Press Conferences.


Unit 6 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Negative news
  • Buffer
  • Explanation
  • Redirect
  • Litigation
  • Direct approach
  • Indirect approach
  • Open-ended questions
  • Closed-ended questions
  • Qualitative data
  • Quantitative data
  • Crisis communication
  • Media
  • Press conference
  • Greeter
  • Speaker
  • Moderator

Unit 7: Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication

7a. Define intrapersonal and interpersonal communication

  • Explain the differences between intrapersonal and interpersonal communication
  • Discuss the role of culture and language in the intrapersonal communication process
  • Define Uncertainty Theory and the role it plays in interpersonal communication

Do you ever find that you talk to yourself or visualize a situation in advance of an event? What about recalling an event that occurred in the past? This is known as intrapersonal communication. We experience this within ourselves while incorporating the eight basic communication elements (source, receiver, message, channel, feedback, environment, context, and interference).

During interpersonal communication, we interact with at least one other person. However, there is so much more to this type of interaction. The relationship we have with this other person, or persons, the number of people with whom we interact, and the nature of the interaction all play a role in communication.

Our native culture and native language are integral parts of the intrapersonal communication process. What we value, the language in which we think, and the symbols relevant to our lives all impact how we communicate with ourselves.

To reduce any anxiety we may experience with the unknown, we apply the Uncertainty Theory, where we choose to know more about people with whom we associate. and interact. When we know more about the people we interact with, we have a greater understanding of how they communicate and can better determine how they will respond in future situations.

To review, read Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication.


7b. Assess your own self-concept and predict how your self-concept might influence your perceptions

  • Discuss the role of the internal monologue in how we view ourselves
  • Identify the Dimensions of Self and how they impact our potential

An internal monologue is the self-talk discussed earlier when we reviewed intrapersonal communication. This monologue can be continuous or sporadic, as well as being rational or illogical. It can prevent us from hearing what others have to say and affect our ability to focus and absorb information. By turning off our internal monologue, we can interact with others for more effective communication.

By having a greater understanding of ourselves, we can determine how we want others to view us and identify how we can improve. Elements to be explored include what we know, what others know, and what we all know. Exploring these dimensions allows us to adapt to new situations, learn, grow, and more effectively positively impact communication.

To review, read Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication.


7c. Solve problems related to interpersonal communication by applying an understanding of interpersonal needs and relations

  • Discuss the role of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs in the interpersonal communications process
  • Explain Schutz's Theory of Needs and how it differs from that of Maslow

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs progresses through various steps in our lives, beginning with the most basics of needs (food, shelter, clothing) up to the highest level of needs, which is beauty, aesthetics, and other factors for which we may not have had the time to consider. By meeting these various needs, we can gain a better sense of ourselves and, as a result, improve our ability to communicate with others.

For example, our need to seek companionship is valuable when forming groups and committees in the workplace. Our "need to know" enables us to strive to reach higher levels of professionalism and seek new experiences. Explore all of the categories defined by Maslow and apply them to your own personal and professional practices.

While Maslow is a staple among organizational behaviorists, Schutz's theory also has merit. While William Schutz explores our various needs, he views them in a continuum rather than in steps. He looks at each experience as a part of a spectrum and considers those seeking to balance all elements to be "personal individuals". Some of the factors in Schutz's continuum include people who are underpersonals, overpersonals, abdicrats, oversocials, and others. Explore all of the factors in Schutz's theory to evaluate your own personal characteristics and needs.

To review, read Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication.


7d. Describe the principles behind social penetration theory and self-disclosure

  • Discuss the levels of communication within social penetration theory
  • Define self-disclosure and explain how we make ourselves known to others

Getting to know others takes time. We begin with casual conversation and move on to more detailed and intimate knowledge as we become more familiar with each other. This process is known as social penetration, enabling us to develop positive interactions as we learn more about the people with whom we are interacting.

How we move. The clothes we wear. Verbal and non-verbal communication. These are all factors in how we present ourselves to those around us. This process of self-disclosure defines what we communicate to others, both intentionally and unintentionally.

The stages of self-disclosure, as in social penetration theory, occur slowly and in steps. We share a little bit of information about ourselves as we get to know others and seek to learn about the people we are communicating with. We may ask someone a personal question and also be willing to share personal information about ourselves. We seek to gain and build trust and recognize that there is a risk of the other parties disagreeing with us or taking offense at something we have said.

To review, read Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication.


7e. Recognize the interpersonal strategies used in interviews, business conversations, workplace conflicts, and evaluations

  • Identify the stages of a conversation
  • Discuss the steps a job candidate should take in advance of an interview
  • Explore strategies for resolving workplace conflict
  • Discuss strategies for participating in the evaluation process

Conversations have an ebb and flow and generally follow similar patterns. The stages in most conversations include initiation, preview, talking points, feedback, and closing. Consider a recent conversation in which you have participated and match these elements to your conversation.

One of the most important actions a job candidate should take before going on an interview is to be prepared. This preparation can include everything from understanding the nature of the interview and the questions that may be asked, choosing appropriate attire, researching the company, and ensuring a good fit between your qualifications and the job's requirements. Following an interview, it is important to send a thank-you note to the interviewer. This shows your ongoing interest in the position and also presents a professional image. Consider your own actions at a job interview. Did you perform at your best? In what ways can you improve your opportunities in future interview situations?

Conflict in the workplace is inevitable. There are many personality types, and workers come to their jobs with varying personal and professional issues. However, conflict can be effectively addressed, resolved, and even have a positive outcome. When dealing with conflict, it is important to hear all sides of an argument. All parties should be treated with respect and empathy, and emotions should be kept to a minimum. During these kinds of situations, good communication skills become more important than ever. Effective conflict resolution includes listening to the other party without interrupting, demonstrating that you listen carefully, apologizing where appropriate.

We are all subject to job performance evaluations at one time or another. While this can be a source of stress and anxiety, it can also be a source of information and guidance that can improve our skills and enable us to be qualified for new opportunities. When we are being evaluated by a superior, it is important to understand the nature of the evaluation. We should give the speaker our full attention and paraphrase any comments to indicate that what the person is saying is clear. When we agree or disagree with the evaluator, we should do so with respect and understanding, keep our emotions in check, and learn from the experience.

To review, read Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication.


Unit 7 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Intrapersonal communication
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Culture
  • Uncertainty theory
  • Internal monologue
  • Dimensions of Self
  • Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  • Schutz's Theory of Needs
  • Overpersonals
  • Underpersonals
  • Abdicrats
  • Oversocials
  • Social Penetration Theory
  • Self-disclosure
  • Conversations
  • Job interviews
  • Preparation
  • Post-performance
  • Workplace conflict
  • Evaluations

Unit 8: Intercultural and International Business Communication

8a. Solve problems with intercultural miscommunication, prejudice, and ethnocentrism by using appropriate communication strategies

  • Explain how the eight elements of communication can be used to bridge divergent cultures
  • Discuss the role of corporate culture on communication
  • Discuss the impact of prejudice in a business environment
  • Discuss the impact of ethnocentrism in a business environment

It is important to remember that elements of communication apply to all cultures, languages, and values. If we only consider the people sending and receiving the information, without considering the many other elements of communication – message, channel, feedback, context, environment, and interference – we are in danger of losing the meaning of our message. When we understand variations in cultures and differing points of view, we can communicate and build bonds of trust in the relationship more effectively.

In addition to communications among cultures of people, there are also corporate cultures to consider. Think about companies where you have worked or conducted business. How did the company present itself? Were there some organizations that were customer-focused more than others? This all stems from the culture that is prescribed by the leaders of the company. Also, within a company, there may be differences between the various departments. People within the accounting department may behave in ways that differ from workers in marketing or manufacturing.

Prejudice is the negative opinion or view we have of others based on assumptions we have made without any person's real knowledge. This may be based on their gender, race, ethnicity, religion, or lifestyle. These assumptions can impact how we behave toward those people and cause us to make business decisions that are not based on fact, knowledge, or skill.

Ethnocentrism is when people view those from other cultures as being inferior to their own. While there is value in having national pride, not considering other cultures and nations' contributions can be hurtful and threatening. We are less likely to be open to new ideas from others. The global business environment has made it more important than ever to work together with honesty and openness.

For a review, read Intercultural and International Business Communication.


8b. Recognize examples of divergent cultural characteristics

  • Identify examples of behavior from both individualistic and collectivist cultures
  • Explain the differences between people from Explicit-Rule Cultures versus Implicit-Rule Cultures
  • Discuss the seven axioms of uncertainty
  • Discuss the impact of different time orientations in the business environment
  • Explain how gender impacts business expectations in different cultures
  • Discuss direct vs. indirect approaches, materialism vs. relationships, and low-power vs. high-power distance

People from individualistic cultures focus on their individual freedoms and personal independence. This might be reflected by someone's innovative ideas or ability to overcome personal or professional obstacles in business.

Collectivist cultures place value on the needs of the nation, community, family, or fellow workers. Property and resources may be community-owned, as well.

When interacting with people from different cultures, it is important to consider the characteristics that define these people and explore how this might impact interactions and business decision-making.

If you have been in a meeting where rules are understood but not spoken, you are involved in an implicit-rule culture. There might be no agenda set for the meeting, but participants understand why they are there.

If you attend a meeting where everyone is aware of the rules and guidelines and agendas are known to everyone, then you are participating in an explicit-rule culture.

To reduce uncertainty when we meet others for the first time, we apply what we have learned in the past to our current situation. In some cultures, people are less comfortable with this uncertainty, such as those in the Arab world, while people from the US and Great Britain are more tolerant of uncertainty. These attitudes can impact our business interactions and decisions. Explore the seven axioms of uncertainty to understand the role these factors can play in the business environment.

How we allocate our time is dependent on our personalities, the cultures from which we come, and the business environments in which we work. In monochromatic time, everything is done at a specific time, and interruptions are avoided. The US, Germany, and Switzerland are examples of countries that value this kind of orientation.

Countries such as Greece, Italy, and Chile have a more flexible relationship with time. With a polychromatic time orientation, meetings may not begin at their scheduled times, and business, family, and social activities may be combined. Before attending an event hosted by people with this orientation, it is best to check the true time you should arrive. By understanding the time orientation of the people with whom you are interacting, you can improve your communication levels.

In conjunction with time orientation, there is also the issue of short-term and long-term orientations related to desiring immediate results or understanding the bigger picture. Working in a culture with a short-term orientation requires immediate action for all activities, such as sending follow-up notes quickly or reciprocating sooner than later.

A long-term orientation may be characterized by dedication and persistence, with age and status playing a large role in how individuals are perceived. When we understand these factors, we can better interact with our counterparts and work toward common goals more effectively.

There was a time when many cultures and religions valued a female figurehead, and with the rise of Western cultures, we have observed a shift toward a masculine ideal. Each carries with it a set of cultural expectations and norms for gender behavior and gender roles across life, including business.

Consider the characteristics of both the men and women with whom you work. What aspects of their personalities and traits are most valued by the organization? Also, consider the traits that each culture values and how those factors impact business operations and decision-making.

US business practices tend to be to-the-point and direct, while people in Latin America may discuss family, friends, or the weather before getting down to business. When interacting with people from different nations, it is important to understand how others approach each other to ensure that customs are respected and observed.

Let's explore how people look at material goods compared to the relationships they have formed. Materialistic cultures value goods and services and see these objects as a reflection of their status. Other cultures place greater value on the people they interact with and are more concerned about the relationships they form with each other.

Consider how this understanding can help you communicate better with people from these cultures and conduct business more effectively.

Finally, let's look at the impact of high-power vs. low-power distance. Someone from a low-power distance culture will freely tell a superior their views and opinions, as they see themselves as equals. However, people from a high-power distance culture will not offer their opinions unless asked and will accept their superiors' decisions without question. Think about people with whom you conduct business and evaluate their distance cultures and how this impacts business practices.

For a deeper review, read Divergent Cultural Characteristics.


8c. Contrast different styles of management in terms of their influence on workplace culture

  • Identify the characteristics of Theory X and Theory Y, and explain their differences
  • Discuss Ouchi's Theory Z

Theory X managers tend to be authoritarian and do not seek feedback from their employees. These employees are considered to have low-level needs, avoid work when possible, and need constant supervision. Workers are motivated by control and incentives for punishment and reward.

A Theory Y manager holds the view that workers are ambitious and self-motivated. They are rewarded by the actual work and value a job well-done. Workers tend to work as a team and generally need little supervision.

Ouchi's Theory Z is a combination of both Theory X & Y. In this theory, it is presumed that workers need supervision and reinforcement but are also trusted to do their jobs. Management will seek to ensure worker well-being but expect excellence from employees.

Consider your own managers, both past and present. Can you identify their management styles? If you are a manager yourself, how do you view your staff?

To review, read Styles of Management.


8d. Explain how to prepare for an international assignment and the acculturation process

  • Discuss the points to consider before accepting an international assignment
  • List and describe the factors of the acculturation process

Working in a foreign country may sound exciting and exotic. However, it can be more difficult than you might anticipate. The nation's culture, how people interact, not to mention a foreign language, may all be unfamiliar to you, making it difficult to adapt.

To make an informed decision, it is important to consider the impact this may have on your life, including family and friends. Researching the country from multiple points of view is essential, as is understanding your own ability to make changes and adjust to new situations. Review the list of questions in the chapter to understand the factors better to be considered.

Living and working in another country can be both rewarding and frightening. Since so much is unknown, it is essential for anyone considering this move to think about their own ability to adapt to uncertainty and new situations. Many things a person might not anticipate, such as how people shop, eat, or approach their tasks and responsibilities. Considering how you might react to these new situations is important. As a person becomes more comfortable with their host country, they may find that visits to their home country feel different from the past, and the individual may come to adopt some of the host country's behaviors.

Before making such a move, someone needs to take a deep and honest look at how they might, or might not, be able to adjust to a vastly new environment.

For more details, read The International Assignment.


Unit 8 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Individual cultures
  • Corporate culture
  • Prejudice
  • Ethnocentrism
  • Individualistic cultures
  • Explicit-rule culture
  • Implicit-rule culture
  • Uncertainty-accepting cultures
  • Uncertainty-rejecting cultures
  • Time orientation
  • Masculine and feminine orientation
  • Short-Term and Long-Term Orientation
  • Direct vs. Indirect culture
  • Materialism vs. Relationships
  • Low-power vs. high-power distance cultures
  • Seven axioms of uncertainty
  • Theory X
  • Theory Y
  • Ouchi's Theory Z
  • International assignments
  • Acculturation

Unit 9: Group Communication, Teamwork, and Leadership

9a. Explain how interpersonal factors influence the evolutionary nature of groups

  • Discuss the role of communication in a group
  • Explain the different types of groups that can be formed

In any office setting, people may be placed in groups with different members for various projects. Each person comes to the group with their own set of characteristics, skills, and abilities. The need for cooperation is essential for group success, and members must learn to work together and share resources. When group members share information, the need to ensure that all members understand their jargon, terms, or any other language elements that might result in misunderstanding. Open communication can lead to group success.

Groups in the workplace may be formed by function, to complete a specific task, or to solve a problem. Once the group's goal has been completed, they may disband, form new groups with other employees, or come together later.

In addition to meeting organizational goals, groups meet our personal and professional needs, as well. Primary groups meet most of our needs, generally in a social or personal setting. Secondary groups, however, most often relate to our work groups, which identify our specific goals or responsibilities. While these groups can result in professional success, our personal happiness comes from the people in our primary groups who know us best.

For a more detailed review, read Group Communication, Teamwork, and Leadership.


9b. Categorize the types and roles of group members and contrast the typical stages in the life cycle of a group

  • Identify the members of a group and explain their roles
  • List and describe the stages of a group life cycle

Members of a group serve different roles during the life cycle of the group itself. Individuals may be evaluated for their potential to be part of the group; some members may be newer to the group than others, while some participants may be looked upon as leaders. As the group's task evolves, so do the group members. Some members may even leave the group when their specific task has been completed. In any group, there may be members who positively influence the group's abilities to accomplish their tasks, while others may be a negative influence. Think about a group in which you participated. What role did you play in accomplishing the group's goals? How did other people behave within the group, and how did that impact the group's ability to successfully meet their goals? Consider how your role changed as the project progressed.

When it is determined that a group is needed to accomplish a specific task or goal, it is understood that the group will go through an expected series of steps in its formation and development. These steps include: forming, storming, norming, performing, and adjourning. Think about a group situation in which you have participated. Can you identify the point at which each of these stages occurred?

For a more detailed review, read Group Life Cycles and Member Roles.


9c. Describe the seven steps for group problem-solving

  • Apply the steps for group problem solving to an experience of your own

Whether personal or professional, problems will arise at various points in our lives. In the workplace, groups are formed to resolve these problems. Also, in the formation and development of a group, problems can arise during the overall process. To enable groups to operate at their best, several steps have been proven to enable a group to complete their task with the least conflict or controversy.

These steps are:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Analyze the problem
  3. Establish criteria
  4. Consider possible solutions
  5. Decide on a solution
  6. Implement the solution
  7. Follow up on the solution

Take a situation in which you have been part of a group and identify how they applied each of these steps. Consider areas where problems arose and how the group addressed them.

For a review of each of these items and how groups can be successful, read Group Problem-Solving.


9d. Apply the basic principles of organizational communications to conduct effective meetings

  • Discuss the tasks needed to prepare for a meeting
  • Consider a recent meeting you have attended and how well the meeting was conducted

When planning a meeting, the first step is to identify the goal and what is expected to be accomplished. Plan ahead, whenever possible, and give attendees sufficient time to prepare for their roles at the meeting. Recognize that people may not be available to attend a meeting that is planned at the last minute. Determine where and when the meeting is to take place, identify the required attendees, prepare an agenda, and plan for any technology that might be required. Send invitations to those who are invited to the meeting and tabulate responses.

Now that the planning stage for a meeting has been completed, it is important to conduct the meeting effectively.

The steps for conducting an effective meeting include:

  • Arriving on time and stay until the meeting concludes
  • Leaving the meeting only for designated breaks or unplanned crises
  • Being prepared (see earlier comments about pre-meeting tasks)
  • Turning off all unnecessary technology such as phones and other digital devices
  • Following protocol and rules of conducts
  • Observing stated time limitations
  • Being professional in all interactions and communications
  • Staying engaged and interested
  • Staying focused and on task
  • Respecting the personal space of others
  • Cleaning up your space
  • Engaging in conversation at the end of the meeting

Additionally, the meeting leader may be required to facilitate the discussion, address conflict, and help the group stay on-topic. Following the agenda can help with this last task and help the meeting keep to the designated time parameters.

If any technology is used as part of the meeting, ensure that the equipment is in working order by testing it before the meeting.

For a more detailed review, read Business and Professional Meetings.


9e. Distinguish between different leadership styles and how they affect group dynamics

  • Discuss the different methods by which individuals become group leaders
  • Identify five types of leaders and describe how they interact with group members

Leaders take on their roles by being appointed, elected, or emerging into the role. The group members play an important role in this process. The appointed leader is designated by someone in authority and does not consider the group's feelings or opinions. A leader who has been chosen by a group is known as a democratic leader. The person will include other members in the group process and take ownership of the group's decisions.

An emergent leader may grow into the role, either out of necessity or because of this person's seniority or skill set. This leader may be designated if a democratic leader does not perform to expectations.

There are many ways in which a leader can have an impact on a group. The style of the leader sets the tone, with group members reacting and responding to this approach. Some of the styles of leadership include:

  • The autocratic leader
  • The laissez-faire leader
  • The leader-as-technician
  • The leader-as-conductor
  • The leader-as-coach

Consider leaders with whom you have worked. Which of the above styles did they adopt? Did their leadership style vary in different situations? If you are a leader or have been a leader in the past, which describes your own leadership style?

For a more detailed review, read Teamwork and Leadership.


Unit 9 Vocabulary

This vocabulary list includes terms that might help you with the review items above and some terms you should be familiar with to be successful in completing the final exam for the course.

Try to think of the reason why each term is included.

  • Group communication
  • Types of groups
  • Primary groups
  • Secondary groups
  • Group member roles
  • Group life cycles
  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing
  • Adjourning
  • Group problem-solving
  • Effective meetings
  • Leadership attainment
  • Autocratic leaders
  • Laissez-faire leaders
  • Leader-as-technician
  • Leader-as-conductor
  • Leader-as-coach