BUS210 Study Guide

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