Business Communication – SAMPLE
Course Site found at http://sternclasses.nyu.edu
Effective Communication is a vital component to so many aspects of business life. From investment
banking to marketing, from entrepreneurship to corporate planning, understanding the techniques of
business communication will be an invaluable addition to every Stern student’s portfolio of
knowledge. This course is a highly-interactive and participative experience that introduces the
basics of business communication strategy and delivery.
Deliverables will include written documents and oral presentations based on several cases. You will
present both individually and in a team and will receive feedback to improve your presentation
effectiveness. In the final team presentation, your challenge is to craft an oral presentation that will
persuade your audience to accept your strategic recommendations. By doing this, you will see how
ideas, data and advocacy are combined for a professional, persuasive presentation.
1.) Form a team of five people before the first day of class. Refer to the class roster on
Blackboard and try to link up with students that you know or have worked with in prior
2.) Read Guide to Managerial Communication by Mary Munter in its entirety (available in
campus Professional Bookstore). This is a quick read and a very important resource in the
3.) Prepare a 3-minute oral presentation (using no visual aids). This will serve as both your
introduction to your classmates as well as a benchmark of your oral presentation skills in
session one. Choose one of the following topics:
Share with us the best (or worst) business advice you ever received.
Describe an event at work that involved a communication breakdown.
Share what led you pursue your MBA on a part-time basis at NYU.
4.) Read the “Packaging Supply Company” case study (found on Blackboard in Course
Documents) and be prepared to discuss it in the first class.
5.) Write a one- to two-page memo, as described in Assignment #1 below. Bring three hard
copies of your memo to class and submit it to the Blackboard “Assignments” section before
class begins on January 21.
Materials and Texts
Required: Mary Munter, Guide to Managerial Communication 7th Edition. Prentice Hall,
Required: SEC Guide to Plain English Writing. Available on-line
Required: Darden Case “Third Battle of Bull Run”
Instructions for purchasing Darden Digital Case “Third Battle of Bull
Run” for B01.2105
1. Go to the NYU Book Store web site:
2. Click on the "Book Inquiry & Ordering" link
3. Select the "Search by ISBN" option and enter ISBN 0000465003
4. Proceed to Checkout and complete your order. Your credit card
will be charged $4.50.
Within one business day you will receive an email with your Xanedu
KeyCode and instructions.
Note on Tax and Shipping charges:
When you complete your online order, you will see sales tax and
shipping charges added to the total. As we process the order, we will
verify your NYU student status and remove the sales tax and shipping
charges from the total charge.
Since this is a core course, grade distribution will follow the determined standards of the Stern
School of Business. Your final grade will be based on both class participation and your completion
of the following assignments:
Item Description Session Due date Points
1 Benchmark Presentation (Individual) 1 1/21 *
2 PSC Memo #1 to Van Dyke (Individual) 1 1/21 *
3 Video Self-Evaluation (Individual) By 2 1/28 *
4 PSC Memo #2 from Van Dyke By 2 1/28 15
5 Benchmark Presentation based on Disney In 2 1/28 10
6 Video Evaluation of Team Performance By 3 2/4 *
7 Performance on Final Project Presentation 4 2/5 10
Performance on Final Project Presentation 4 2/5 30
8 Final Evaluation Report (Individual) Post 2/12 20
after 4 midnight
9 Participation (includes * items above) Throughout course 15
1. Benchmark Presentation (Individual)
Benchmark your presentation skills and begin to get comfortable presenting in the course.
Prepare a 3-minute “benchmark” oral presentation. Choose one of the following topics:
Tell us about the best or worst business advice you ever received.
Describe an event at work that involved a communication breakdown.
Share why you have chosen to do your MBA on a part-time basis at NYU
You will deliver your presentation in session one. It will be videotaped for your benefit, but not
graded. It will comprise a portion of your participation grade. You may deliver from notes, if
necessary, but do not plan to use PowerPoint slides for this presentation. Focus on communicating
with your audience.
2. Packaging Supply Company Memo #1: Writing Benchmark
Benchmark your business writing skills and begin to see the principles of effective communication
and persuasion in a work-related setting.
Assume the following scenario. You are Mr. Van Dyke's new Assistant Vice President for
Procurement. You are also the first person Van Dyke has hired since Susan Wilkes left the firm a
month ago. The new position represents a significant upgrade for you.
Two months have passed since Van Dyke first wrote to the plant managers. He asks you to analyze
the situation and wants a report that recommends a course of action for him. From what you've seen,
you believe he wants the report to be no more than two pages.
Draft a one- to two-page memorandum report to Van Dyke analyzing the current situation and
making recommendations. Use standard business document style.
Post your memo to the Blackboard “Assignments” section before session one.
Also, bring 3 copies of your draft of the memo report with you to the first day of class.
3. Video Self-Evaluations (Individual)
Analyze your strengths and weaknesses in presentations throughout the course.
Read “How to Review Your Streaming Video” (available in Course Documents on Bb.) After you
have watched your video post a message to your team discussion board (visible to your team, the
TF, and the Professor) sharing what went well, what did not go well, and what goals you have for
your next presentation. Comment also on other team members’ performances and use this to build
both your presentation skills as well as your skills in giving and receiving feedback.
Post your completed self- and peer-evaluation before the start of the next class, session two. Include
all comments in one posting in your Team Page Discussion Board. I will set up a forum entitled
“Comments on Individual Benchmark Presentations.”
4. Packaging Supply Company Case Memo #2 (Individual)
Demonstrate the principles of effective business communication and persuasion through a written
Review the chapters on writing in Munter—pages 35 – 85. Also look over the SEC Handbook for
important guidelines regarding Plain English writing and document formatting.
Now assume this scenario: Mr. Van Dyke was very impressed with your memo report to him about
the situation at hand. He has asked you to now draft a document to the plant managers, which will
come out under his signature.
Two months have passed since Van Dyke wrote his first email to the plant managers. This will be
his first formal communication to the plant managers since that time.
Submit to your instructor a one- to two-page business document from Van Dyke to the plant
managers. At the end of the document, append a short analysis of the intended audience as you
would explain it to Van Dyke. Also attach a printout of your readability statistics, as instructed in
Post your document to the “Assignments” section of Blackboard before session two. Your
document will be evaluated and returned to you.
5. Team Benchmark Presentation on “The Third Battle of Bull Run”
This assignment gives you the opportunity to be videotaped, analyze your team presentation
techniques, and subsequently receive group and individual feedback when we meet during session
3. As a result, you will be able to establish personal and team-oriented goals for your final
Read the “Third Battle” cases A and B, available online (see page 1). During class at the end of
session one, we will discuss the case briefly, and I will distribute specific audience and presentation
objectives to each team.
One half of the class will deliver a presentation as members of the Piedmont Environment
Council (PEC). You will assume that the Washington Post’s Editorial Board (comprised of
its publisher, editor-in-chief and editorial director) has invited you to its offices. The Post
has asked your team to speak to them about the key issues driving public opinion against
“Disney’s America” theme park.
The other half of the class will deliver a presentation as members of a corporate
communications team from Disney Corporation. You will also assume that the Washington
Post’s Editorial Board has invited you to its offices. The Post has asked your team to speak
to them about why a theme park focusing on American History will not only benefit the
local Virginia economy, but will also benefit the American people at large, and therefore
deserves national support.
Review Guide to Presentations, chapters 1 – 3 and 6, with special attention to chapter 6. Using your
understanding of audience, intent, persuasion, and targeted argumentation, collaborate with your
team members to prepare a short team presentation.
A 10-minute team informative presentation during session two.
All team members must speak.
Your visual aids must include at least two financial charts or graphs
Review the streamed video of your Team Benchmark Presentation. After you have watched your
video, post a message to your team discussion board (visible to your team, the TF, and the
Professor) sharing what went well, what did not go well, and what goals you have for your next
presentation. Use the Team Benchmark Evaluation Form that I will post on Bb to guide you in your
analysis. Comment on other team members’ reflections as well; you need not fill in the evaluation
form per se.
Post your comments to your team discussion board before session three.
6. Video Self-Evaluation (Team Benchmark Presentation)
Analyze your team’s strengths and weaknesses in the Team Benchmark Presentation.
Individually, watch the streamed video of your Team Benchmark Presentation. Based on course
learning so far and your own professional experience, comment on the following aspects of your
Your own and your teammates delivery skills. Offer constructive feedback to teammates.
The organization of your presentation.
The appropriateness of your content—given the audience and presentation objective.
Your visual aids
The cohesiveness of your team’s performance.
Post your completed evaluation before the start of the next class, session three. Include all
comments in one posting in your Team Page Discussion Board. I will set up a forum entitled
“Comments on Team Benchmark Presentations.”
7. Final Presentation (Team and Individual) on the “Third Battle at
Bull Run” Case
Apply the course principles for effective presentations and persuasion.
Assume your team in now part of the Strategic Planning Group at Disney and will be presenting to
Eisner and his executive staff. He needs to make a decision about whether to proceed with the
Disney’s America Theme Park.
Your team may speak on one of the following options:
1. Continue with plans for the park and implement specific strategies to improve public
2. End the project in Haymarket and start again elsewhere in Virginia
3. End the “Disney’s America” project indefinitely and focus on repairing Disney’s image.
4. Another objective to be determined by your team—with instructor approval in advance.
Consider the following questions in preparing your presentation:
How will your recommendations benefit the firm?
What appropriate data will provide quantitative evidence to support you recommendations?
How can the company implement your recommendations?
How should you organize your presentation for maximum persuasive impact and
effectiveness with the designated audience?
Team presentation lasting 20 minutes, which includes questions/answers. All team members
must speak, with speaking time approximately equally distributed.
Six copies of slide deck printed out--one for each member of your “executive board” (a team
of classmates who will be asked to pose questions) and another for the professor.
Presentation times, room, and order will be assigned.
Organize your presentation so that you can effectively and efficiently communicate your key
messages in the allotted time.
Remember to provide a preview of the presentation in the opening.
Employ visual aids that enhance and support your message.
Use graphs and charts in your PowerPoint presentation to communicate quantitative data
clearly and visually.
Expect questions to come at any time in your presentation and prepare for them.
Have back-up data available to answer specific questions, if necessary.
8. Final Memo Report (Individual)
Synthesize all that we’ve learned about effective communication by applying course principles in
your own workplace.
For this “take-home” final, you must answer one of the following two questions.
Option One: Given what you’ve learned in Business Communication, analyze your present
or past business work environment in terms of communication. Your analysis may apply to
your specific department or division, or to the organization as a whole. For example, you
could consider how your company has organized communication both internally and
externally; or, you could provide suggestions to improve client presentations; or you might
analyze how information is distributed internally. (These are just examples—the choice is
up to you).
Discuss the principles of communication strategy—audience, intent, and
Message, as well as the principles of persuasion—as they apply to specific, concrete
situations that you have encountered or observed at work. Determine who in your
workplace would be the best recipient for your recommendations; address the memo to
that person (you may, of course disguise the name). In a short note at the end of your
document, please provide background information about the intended reader.
Option Two: Consider your final team presentation and imagine you were delivering it—or
one similar in intent—within your current workplace: would organizational norms or
constraints have led you to organize or present the material differently? Describe current
organizational practices for preparing and delivering presentations. Using the principles of
communication strategy—audience, intent, and message, as well as the principles of
persuasion—discuss how your team presentation would be changed to present it in your
workplace. In your memo, you may also include discussion of visual aids and the handling
of Q&A. Write this memo to your team mates—as if they were part of your current
Prepare a short memo (two pages maximum) presenting your findings and persuading the
reader(s) to follow your recommendation(s).
Be sure to organize the document effectively, attend to professional business writing style,
and employ effective formatting. Please single-space.
Although addressed to the specific audience as noted above, submit the memo via
Blackboard “Assignments” by the due date on page two, cc the instructor and TF.
9. Attendance and Participation (Individual)
To recognize and compensate you for the value of contributions brought to the class and to your
Simply attending class is not participation. The following items are expected of all students in the
course. Your thorough completion of the following will factor into the participation portion of your
Attendance at all four class sessions
Active participation in course content and case discussions
Considerate but realistic participation in colleagues’ presentations as an engaged member of
the “mock audience”
In addition to the items above, there are several specific assignments in the course which are
expected, but not graded. These include:
A 3-minute benchmark presentation in session one
Packaging Supply Company Memo #1 brought to class session one
Video self-evaluations throughout the course (as detailed above)
Business Communication Agenda
Pre-work Read Mary Munter’s Guide to Managerial Communication in its entirety
Read the PSC Case (3 pages on the Bb website)
Prepare a 3-minute Individual Benchmark Presentation
Write a memo report on the PSC Case – to Van Dyke as his new assistant
9:00 – 12:00 Course Introduction
Discussion of Communication Strategy and the PSC Case
Intro to Business Writing
Audience Persuasion Activity
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 2:00 Individual Benchmark Presentations Team breakout time (Group 2): Prepare to
(Group 1) discuss “Disney’s America” case
2:00 – 3:00 Individual Benchmark Presentations Team breakout time (Group 1): Prepare to
(Group 2) discuss “Disney’s America” case
3:00 – 4:00 Delivery Techniques
Preparation for Team Benchmark Presentations next week
Homework Read “How to Review your Streaming Video” posted on Blackboard
Meet with group; prepare Team Benchmark Presentation
Post self- and peer-evaluation of your individual Benchmarks on team discussion
Complete PSC report #2 from Van Dyke to Plant Managers and submit via
Blackboard “Assignments” section (see note below re: document uploads)
8:00 – 9:00 Rehearse Benchmark with team
9:00 – 10:30 Team Benchmark Presentations
10:30 – 12:00 Debrief Benchmark Presentations
Discuss Presentation Structure and the Strategic Organization of Ideas
Elements of Persuasive Communication
12:00 – 1:00 Lunch
1:00 – 4:00 Designing Effective Visual Aids
Displaying Financial Data in a Visual Way
Dealing with Questions and Answers
Hostile Audience Activity Based on “Disney’s America” Case
Debrief Class Session
Discuss Final Presentation
Schedule Team Meetings
Continue to work with your team on your Final Team Presentation.
Post an evaluation of your team’s performance in Benchmark Presentation on Bb.
Individual Team Meetings—Locations TBA
Time Professor meets each team to talk Teaching Fellow meets with any teams that want
about Final Presentation strategy work on slides and delivery techniques
2:30 5. 12:00
3:30 6. 12:45
Homework Rehearse with your team for Final Team Presentation.
9:00 – 9:30 Arrival to class
Set up for Final Presentations
9:30 – 12:30 Final Team Presentations
Speaking order to be determined in advance
12:30 – 1:30 Lunch—pizza provided
Watch video of Final Presentations in break-out rooms
Review expectations for final report
Complete your Final Individual Memo Report by midnight, February 12.
Submit via Blackboard “Assignments”
Complete online Course/Faculty Evaluation.