"Communication in the Discipline: Addressing the Scope of ...Document Transcript
“Communication in the Discipline:
Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication,”
Dale Cyphert, Department of Management, University of Northern Iowa
The Business Communication Course: Applied Approaches for Faculty and Trainers, Training and
Development Division, National Communication Association Annual Conference, San Diego 2008
Teaching communication from within a business college requires attention to the full
range of knowledge, skills and aptitudes that are involved in professional competence, as
well as sensitivity to the distinct needs of undergraduates, international students, and
MBA candidates. This packet includes materials that address the scope of a full
curriculum and formats that include free-standing courses, on-line self-study, faculty
development and support, web-based resources, and experiential learning.
150:113 Business Communications .................................................................................... 1
150:114g Communication Management ............................................................................. 4
150:280 Communication Topics ......................................................................................... 7
Delivering Persuasive Messages ..................................................................................... 7
Facilitating Team Communication ................................................................................. 9
150:276 Capstone Experience........................................................................................... 12
Business Faculty Workshops ............................................................................................ 13
Student Workshops ........................................................................................................... 14
Web Resources.................................................................................................................. 15
Web-based Independent Study ......................................................................................... 16
Professional Skills Initiative ............................................................................................. 17
Sample Assignments (Undergraduate) ............................................................................. 19
Diagnostic Memo .......................................................................................................... 19
Group Assignment Series ............................................................................................. 20
Interview-Analysis-Report Series ................................................................................. 23
Business Conversation Assignments ............................................................................ 28
Sample Assignments (MBA) ............................................................................................ 29
Memo of Understanding ............................................................................................... 29
Managing Project Teams .............................................................................................. 31
Presentation Expectations ............................................................................................. 32
150:113 Business Communications
A three unit course designed to introduce business majors to a full range of business
1) The text is provided as a course pack at Faculty Services, CBB 321A. The text
includes all assignments and materials required to complete them as well as required
reading. The cost is approximately $20, and you MAY NOT refund the course pack if you
decide to drop the class.
2) A grammar handbook of your choice. Raimes, Keys for Writers and Pocket Keys for
Writers are both available at University Book and Supply. The larger handbook includes
a CD version and on-line editing services, which students tell me are worth the money.
The smaller version is less expensive and a nice size to keep in a desk drawer. You may
use any handbook as long as you own it and can keep it after graduation.
3) A general business publication of your choice. Student subscriptions to Fortune,
Business Week and The Wall Street Journal are available for your convenience. Other
acceptable reading material includes Forbes, Barron’s, CFO, Industry Week, Money, etc.
4) Additional material covered in the course is on line at the Business Communication
Program website: www.cba.uni.edu/buscomm
1. A videotape for recording and reviewing your own assignments (need not be new)
2. A personal calendar system of any kind (i.e. Daytimer, Dayrunner type appointment book).
Email, word processing, web development and presentation software will all be used to create
documents in this course. If you do not know how to
read and send attachments or delete files from your email account,
use style templates, section breaks and tables in the formatting of a document,
create speaker notes in PowerPoint, or
create a simple webpage in HTML
then you do NOT know the software well enough to successfully complete required assignments.
Enrollment in the appropriate ITS course is recommended within the first two weeks of the
course. See registration information at www.uni.edu/its/ts/tw.html.
This course introduces the communication skills expected in a general business environment,
including interpersonal, group, presentational, electronic, non-verbal and written communication
as well as techniques for adjusting to the communicative culture of U.S. business organizations.
Learning any language, including the language of business, requires extensive practice. You
cannot learn to speak French by reading about the language’s grammar structure and
vocabulary. Similarly, you cannot become a businesslike communicator by reading a book and
repeating the principles on a test. This course is designed to force you to engage in a wide
variety of business communication experiences. Whether you think of the many exercises as
“homework” as “practice” or as “busywork,” actual hands-on experience is the only effective way
to become comfortable and fluent in the communication practices of the business world.
Students will be expected to learn the expectations of business organizations with respect to
the communication culture of business
writing and editing of business documents
presentations to management
job search communication
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 1
Successful students will demonstrate the ability to
choose the appropriate communication channel for a business communication event,
design and produce a message that is responsive and appropriate within a business
produce clear, concise memos, letters, emails and reports that conform to business
standards of written English,
present material in context and support claims with evidence, reasoning and professional
quality visual support,
respond to a job application with a cover letter and resume and
prepare interview responses for practice in a mock setting,
demonstrate techniques of information transfer, conflict prevention, and credibility
development in face-to-face encounters, and
demonstrate the ability to plan, manage and document communication in a work team.
This course emphasizes skill practice, especially the “basic written communication . . . used in business reports,
memorandums and letters,” but this is NOT a basic skills course. You are expected to a) have completed
College Reading and Writing (620:005) or Exposition and Report Writing (620:015) as well as Oral
Communication (48C:001) and to be familiar with the basics of written and oral expository forms, b) have a
fundamental grasp of business principles and the ability to competently read general business texts, and c) be
able to use the basic communication software that is provided and supported in the CBA (MS Word,
PowerPoint, FrontPage and various email clients). The course is for students who have the fundamentals of
communication in place and are ready to apply them in the more complex and requiring business environment.
Reading Due Daily Activity Demo/Quiz Major
Weeks 1-3 Introduction to the Business Culture
1: Bus Cult Course intro, icebreaker
Chap 1 Exercises Quiz
2: Image Professional Image: discuss bio samples
3: Form Professional Image: discuss attire photos
Exercise 3-1 using course project binders Resume
Form: discuss proposal structure
Form: discuss PowerPoint visuals Professional Bio
Weeks 4-9 Formatting and Sharing Information
4: Oral Project Proposal
5: Electronic Form project teams
Update class team project intranet
Team Meeting E-discussion Post
6: Written Letter: discuss project info needs
team documentation critique Interview Request Letter
7: Quality Chap 7 Exercise w/ project binders
Quality: information sources
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 2
Writing productivity exercise Descriptive Memo of Interview
8: Productive Productive writing: memo structure
Productive Conversations: Team Exercise
Productive listening: memo review Informative Memo with sources
9: Teams Work Plan, Calendar
Memo of Understanding
Communication Management Plan Team Project
Weeks 10-12 Decision-Making Communication
10: Decisions Analytical Report as Decision-Making
Report writing workshop
Report writing workshop Analytical Memo
11: Discussion Exercise: Team Decision Issues
Discussion Preparation Meeting
Anticipating Questions and Issues Analytical
12: Eloquence Team Status
(team meeting) Reports (G)
Weeks 13-16 Organizational Relationships
13: Interpersonal Communication Styles Exercise
14: Teams Quiz 13/14
Issue Resolution (G)
18: Diversity Presentation Prep (G)
Final Section 02, Monday 10-12 am
Final Section 01, Wednesday 10-12 am
(G) designates group score
(I) designates individual score
The final grade will be calculated on the basis of
Quizzes and Demonstrations: 30%
Group Scored Major Assignments: 20%
Individually Scored Major Assignments: 30%
Comprehensive Midterm: 10%
Comprehensive Final: 10%
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 3
150:114g Communication Management
A three unit course providing management majors methods for managing internal,
external, and operational communication functions.
This course covers the management of internal and external communication to facilitate
collaborative work, individual and organizational productivity and organizational goals in a typical
business organization. The course emphasizes the analysis of business problems from a
communicative perspective and the application of communication principles in management
Learning Objectives: A student who completes this course should be able to
1. Use principles of communication management to analyze a business problem and
make recommendations for a solution.
2. Demonstrate the ability to produce professional communication for a variety of
1. Communication Portfolio (20%)
Each student will complete a portfolio of work demonstrating the understanding of
communication management principles or procedures in three areas: internal
organizational (i.e. employee/supervisory/interpersonal) communication, external
stakeholder (i.e. public/customer/supply chain relations) communication, and operational
(i.e. task/project/production processes) communication. The portfolio may include
material created for this course as well as any other coursework or work experiences that
demonstrate the student’s capabilities. A minimum (C) portfolio will include an “employee
tip”, a “supervisor’s guide” or a “management report” relevant to each of the three areas.
Additional material that demonstrates the ability to apply communication management
principles in all three areas will earn the student a B. An “A” portfolio will meet the
requirements of a B and also demonstrate the creative and insightful use of
communication management principles to solve a significant organizational problem in at
least one of the three areas.
Employee Tip: A 150-250 word synopsis of a communication principle, process or
research finding suitable for inclusion in an employee handbook, training module or
newsletter. (Students whose work is accepted for publication by the UNI director of
training and development will have met the “creative and insightful” solution test.)
Supervisor’s Guide: A 600-1200 word article that explains a communication principle,
process or research finding suitable for inclusion in a supervisor training module or
newsletter. (Students whose work is accepted for publication by the UNI director of
training and development will have met the “creative and insightful” solution test.)
2. Personal Project (60%)
Each student will complete a management report relevant to a major communication
project that reflects his or her own career interests and goals. The project may be to
create either an analytical research OR implementation report*, and will include
a. Preliminary/progress reports (30% of the project grade).
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 4
Over the course of the semester you will be asked to provide working reports and
lead discussions on the issue(s) covered in your report:
Week 2: Oral Project Proposal
Includes problem statement and general context of your project
Week 4: Written Project Proposal
Includes problem statement and context, background, and research bibliography
Week 6: Oral Problem Approach
Includes description of the analytical model you are using and your reasons for
Week 10: Written Problem Analysis
Includes problem statement and context, background, analytical model, analysis,
Week 14: Written Recommendation
Includes summary of recommendations you will make to management OR a draft
of your project deliverables, including appropriate discussion of implementation
Submit with a copy—original or revised—of your written problem analysis;
recommendations will be graded on their appropriateness to the problem and
context as presented in this version.
b. Final in-class presentation (10% of the project grade). A formal, software
supported presentation of the project, as you would present it to the CEO, HR or
PR director, or small business owner involved**. You may invite your own clients
to the presentation, and the instructor may invite other guests from the CBA
faculty or business community.
c. Final written report (60% of the project grade). A written report or deliverable
project suitable for presentation to a CEO, HR or PR director, or small business
owner will be due on the last day of the semester***. The final project should
include complete, revised versions of all sections previously submitted and
conform to format and stylistic expectations of a formal business report.
3. Midterm (10%)
The midterm will be an analysis of a business case that requires the management of
communication for solution.
4. Final (10%).
An oral final will require impromptu responses to questions based on communication
topics and cases discussed throughout the semester in class and in the text.
*Projects undertaken for graduate credit MUST include a significant research component.
Methodologies may be qualitative or quantitative but the research design must allow data
collection, analysis and report to be completed within the timeframe of a single semester.
**Research papers are generally prepared for presentation at academic conferences as a
preliminary step toward journal publication. ***Students completing the course for
graduate credit should submit a paper that is suitable for immediate submission to a
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 5
Week Topics to be Covered Assignments/Reading Due
1 Communication management as an
2 Research and applications of Oral Project Proposal
principles Friday: Guest Speaker
3 Managing internal communication Monday: Library Field Trip
(meet at Rod Library 286)
4 Written Project Proposal
Tues/Wed/Thurs: individual consultations
Friday: written proposal due
5 Friday: Internal communication portfolio “tip” or
6 Managing external communication Oral Problem Approach
7 Friday: Midterm Case Analysis
9 Friday: External communication portfolio “tip” or
10 Managing operational communication Written Problem Analysis (Due Friday)
12 Monday: Portfolio Workshop
14 Written Recommendations (Due Monday)
15 Final Presentations
16 Final Presentations Semester Report/Project (Due Friday)
☺ Students whose management report addresses this communication area will not be required to
submit an additional tip or guide.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 6
150:280 Communication Topics
Delivering Persuasive Messages
This is a presentation-intensive course that focuses on the construction and delivery of
persuasive messages in a business environment. Topics include audience analysis,
credibility and image management, structure and support of arguments, and defending a
position in meetings.
Text: Eckhouse, Barry. Competitive Communication: A Rhetoric for Modern Business
11/11 Hour 1: Introductions, MBA Continuous Improvement Teams (Andy Steele)
Hour 2: Presentations to Management (lecture)
Business expectations and developing credibility in the business
Hour 3: Course Structuring: discussion issues, partners, teams
11/18 Reading Due: Eckhouse Chapter 3, Issue Summary Articles
Hour 1: Position Statements
Hour 2: Team Critiques
Hour 3: (optional) Revised Position Statements
12/2 Reading Due: Eckhouse Chapters 4-7
Hour 1: Evidence Statements
Hour 2: Evidence shredding exercise
Hour 3: (optional) Revised Evidence Statements
Hour 1: Teams 1 and 2
Hour 2: Discussion and Call
Hour 3: Teams 3 and 4
Hour 1: Discussion and Call (* by class consensus, 1/20 may be extended to 10
pm to accommodate this session)
Hour 2:Teams 4 and 6
Hour 3: Discussion and Call
Introductory Position Statements (30 points)
You will have three minutes to present your position on a business topic of some
controversy. Your first attempt will be critiqued by your team members, and you
will have an opportunity to make another presentation for the grade.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 7
Prepared Statements (30 points)
You will have three minutes to present the evidence to support your position on
the same topic of controversy. Teammates' first attempts will be "shredded" by
team members of the opposition. You will then have an opportunity to make
another presentation for the grade. Teams are expected to coordinate their
presentations to cover a range of claims and evidence appropriate to the topic, but
each person must provide the evidence for a single, unique point.
Debates (40 points)
Teams of three will face off in a formal debate on a topic of controversy. Each
team will present evidence to support its position, refute the arguments and
evidence of the opposition, and repair its own arguments in a rebuttal. (20 points)
Audience members will act as management questioners following the debate.
Quality of participation in the discussion will be graded on a) analysis of the
issues, b) careful questioning of the debaters, and c) consensus-building use of the
debates to frame a management decision. (20 points)
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 8
Facilitating Team Communication
This is a writing-intensive course that focuses on management of team
communication in the workplace. Topics include small-group facilitation,
mediation of team conflicts, cultural, gender and psychological diversity, and
ethics of team communication. (1 unit)
Text: Moran, Musslewhite & Zenger, Keeping Teams on Track
reading due: Introduction, Section I
theory and purpose of team-based work organization
small group dynamics
culture, gender and personality influences on group communication
assignment: Memo describing a problematic team situation due at Meeting 2
reading due: Section II
discussion structure, meeting facilitation
discussion facilitation techniques
team leadership, discipline and motivation
assignment: Report Introduction and Background Sections due at Meeting 3
reading due: Sections III and IV
assignment: Report Analysis Section due at Meeting 4
defend and discuss student reports
assignment: Report Recommendation Section due at Meeting 5
defend and discuss student reports
assignment: Final Report including all sections due by last day of the module,
1. Memo: Describe a group situation that is somehow problematic and requires
managerial analysis. (10 points, due second meeting).
Grading Criteria: a) The memo must conform to accepted business standards with
respect to format, structure, and language use. See www.cba.uni.edu/buscomm
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 9
for further guidance and instruction. b) The memo should clearly describe a
workplace group, giving appropriate attention to organizational context, group
purpose, demographics, personalities, and internal or external relationships that
affect the effectiveness of the team.
Students who do not currently have access to a team workgroup situation may
a) describe an actual group situation from any context or a previous work
b) document the likelihood of a specific type of problem in a target
industry or career and offer a program of proactive management
designed to prevent or mitigate occurrence of the anticipated difficulty.
PLEASE NOTE: Option b) requires considerable documented research
to create an acceptable problem statement and is NOT recommended
in a one-unit course unless you have reason to use the research for
2. Report: Prepare a consulting report for management that provides a
comprehensive and coherent solution to the team situation described in your first
memo. (90 points total, due as described below)
Grading Criteria: The report must conform to accepted business standards with
respect to format, structure, and language use. See www.cba.uni.edu/buscomm
for further guidance and instruction as required. b) the report should include
sections that describe a team communication situation, identify a significant
problem in that context, analyze the cause(s) of the problem and justify a
recommendation to resolve the problem (or better manage the team situation).
The report will be submitted in four stages:
a) Introduction and Background Sections: These will generally
incorporate the information covered in your memo, with additional
explanation, documentation and detail as required in a formal
consulting report. Be particularly sure to document the extent and
range of harm to the group or the organization, and to provide
sufficient background to support your succeeding sections. (10 points,
due third meeting)
b) Analysis Section: The analysis of the team will include careful
explanation of the cause of the team’s problem, providing sufficient
theory, evidence and/or reasoning to support the analysis. You will be
expected to support your analysis with organizational research,
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 10
principles of managerial psychology, or communication theory and to
appropriately cite that evidence. (10 points, due fourth meeting)
c) Recommendations: Your recommendations will be presented orally to
the class in a 10-12 minute consulting proposal. Your presentation
should include a brief synopsis of the team situation, your analysis and
the substance of the recommendations you will present in your final
report. The use of presentation software is expected and should meet
contemporary business standards. The recommendation you make
should offer a solution that solves the problem as analyzed, promises
workability, and does not incur unreasonable costs to individual group
members or the organization. (10 points, presentations will be
scheduled for the fourth and fifth class meetings)
d) Full Consulting Report: The final report will include the report
sections previously submitted and revised as necessary. All sections
will be re-graded using the same criteria, allowing you to work on
those elements not previously mastered and improve your overall
grade in the course. If you feel that your writing skill development
requires additional instruction or feedback to prepare an acceptable
final draft, you are welcome to make arrangements for individual
meetings with the instructor. (60 points, due the last day of Module
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 11
150:276 Capstone Experience
The Capstone Concept
The Capstone Experience is the comprehensive application of the MBA curriculum in a strategic
context. Working in small teams with a faculty advisor, students are required to frame and
analyze an issue posed by an area organization in terms of a strategic business perspective. The
team develops a) an enterprise level understanding of the organization's industry and business
model, b) an appropriate analytical framework for addressing the client's functional concerns, c)
a report of recommendations to the client, and d) a report to the MBA faculty that explains the
situation and its strategic analysis.
The Capstone Experience is the culmination of the MBA program and must be taken during the
student's final year. The integration of MBA curriculum in a team project begins during Module II
as students register for the Capstone Experience. With that commitment, students are appointed
to project teams and faculty advisors are assigned. Project parameters and goals are defined
during Modules II and III, and the projects are completed during the six weeks immediately
following Module III coursework.
Team Assignments Students will be assigned to teams of 3 to 5 formed with sufficient diversity
to successfully analyze a business problem from a strategic perspective. Each team will include
members with expertise across a range of business functions, business cultures, and analytical
methods, based on undergraduate preparation, work history and performance in MBA courses,
work history and cultural experiences, and work and communication styles and preferences.
Grading A faculty advisor will have responsibility for overseeing each team's project. The
Capstone Experience Committee, which includes the Capstone Experience Coordinator, the
Associate Dean of the College, and all Capstone Experience faculty advisors, assigns each
student credit for completion of the Capstone Experience. Individual grades are based on a) the
team’s successful completion of a capstone project, b) the team’s written report to the faculty, c)
individual performance within the project, and d) an individual project assessment paper. The
team's written report must meet the University's expectations of a thesis completed for graduate
Projects Capstone Experience projects should represent the strategic analysis of a substantial
issue faced by an actual organization. The development of an adequate analysis should require
several people with diverse expertise and perspectives and require the application of expertise
and skills that are delivered in the MBA Program. A Capstone project must represent a task,
project or problem that is independent of personal employment responsibilities of any member of
the group assigned to it.
Faculty Student teams are matched with a faculty mentor based on the expertise required for the
completion of the project. Capstone Experience activities are coordinated by Dale Cyphert, PhD.,
a member of the Management Department faculty, who can provide additional information at 273-
6150 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A coursepack will be available at CBB 321A and should be
purchased prior to the first meeting.
Calendar Mandatory team meetings and presentations will be held four evenings, 1/15, 2/20,
4/9, and 4/23, from 5:30-8:30 pm, two days, 3/7 8-12:00 am, and 6/27 8:00 am - 3:00 pm, and
one additional two hour block by arrangement. Extensive on-site consulting during regular
business hours is expected between May 1 and June 30.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 12
Business Communication Program
College of Business Administration
. University of Northern Iowa
1227 W. 27th Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0125
Business Faculty Workshops
• Taking the Growls out of Groups
You know team communication is crucial to success in the workplace, but . . . your groups
spend more time fighting than learning, and you wonder whether it’s worth the effort. This
workshop will look at ways group assignments can foster communication skill development.
We will discuss ways to prevent, mediate and help students learn from conflict within groups.
September 2, 3:00-4:30 p.m., BUS 319
• Cost Effective Writing Assignments
Sure, writing assignments give students practice . . . but they create an unreasonable pile of
paper . . . that isn’t even worth reading! This workshop will discuss ways to get more
instructional mileage from your instructional effort. We will discuss CBA writing
expectations, guidelines for student performance, and methods of giving efficient, effective
feedback with less grading time.
September 16, 3:00-4:30 p.m., BUS 319
• Classroom Presentations Worth Hearing
Bored to death of classroom presentations? Tired of wasting class time to demonstrate poor
speaking skill? In this workshop we will discuss ways to encourage skill development and
provide effective feedback without sacrificing instructional time.
October 21, 3:00-4:30 p.m., BUS 319
These workshops are designed to be work sessions with plenty of discussion
of real classroom assignments. Bring any syllabi, assignment descriptions,
evaluation sheets or instructional material that you would like to discuss,
share, or revise. Cookies and caffeine will be provided. ☺
For more information contact
Dale Cyphert, Program Coordinator
email@example.com or 273-6150
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008
A series of one hour sessions are provided in content courses, for student organizations,
and occasionally for employee groups on campus. PowerPoint slides are available at
Group and Team Communication Workshops
How to be a Group
Learn the steps of creating a project team and communicating effectively for optimal
effectiveness (and less stress!)
Presentation and Discussion Workshops
Preparation and facilitation of problem-solving discussions
Basics of structuring and designing a business presentation
Creating Media Support
Basics of presentation slide design
Business Writing Workshops
Collaborative Report Writing
Managing the writing, editing, and production process to create business reports
Learn how effective memos function as a value-adding element of an organization's knowledge
Writing for Business
Three simple rules to make your writing clear, concise, and businesslike
Interpersonal Communication Workshops
Effective communication fosters organizational relationships while preventing conflicts
Creating and maintaining communication channels
Basic Business Etiquette
Office protocol and interpersonal expectations in the workplace
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 14
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 15
Web-based Independent Study
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 16
Professional Skills Initiative
Various modules, focusing on a hands-on learning experience to give students a better
understanding of the different professional skills that they will need to make a successful
transition from university to the corporate workplace, will form the foundation of the Professional
Skills Initiative. We have developed modules based on the three key objectives of work values,
business knowledge, and professional skills.
To gain a betting understanding of work values we have developed the following modules
focusing on Self-Awareness of Personal Values and Traits, and Career Management:
• Career Vision and Strategy • Emotional Intelligence
• Self-Awareness • Tenacity/Resilience
• Ethics • Efficiency/Quality
To help students contextualize their business knowledge, we have developed modules focusing
on Knowledge of the Business Enterprise:
• Functional Areas • Corporate Governance
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 17
• Global Enterprise • Small Business Enterprise
• Fortune 500 Enterprise • Entrepreneurship
The heart of the PSI is the set of professional skill development modules and activities that will
be made available to students outside the formal curriculum. We have developed various modules
focusing on communication, interpersonal, and thinking skills, as well as professionalism. PSI
modules will be facilitated by UNIBusiness faculty, alumni, and other business professionals,
using highly interactive, experiential learning methods such as:
• Workshops on campus
• Videos, webcasts and tutorials online which students can watch in their own time
• Online, in-person, telephone or video conferencing in a small group with a mentor
Beyond being able to write effectively, UNIBusiness graduates should possess a set of business-
specific skills in written and oral communication. For instance, they must be able to draft
persuasive memos and reports; to make cogent, polished presentations before groups; and to
interact confidently in one-on-one discussions with customers and coworkers.
Communication Skills include:
• Written Communication • Sales/Persuasion
• Oral Communication
Business educators invariably acknowledge the importance of these skills which are discussed in
their courses but are rarely taught or developed. Leadership and teamwork skills are the
preeminent members of this category which tends to require individualized instruction that
features intensive practice and immediate feedback regarding effective and ineffective behaviors.
Through participating experiences PSI students will have the opportunity to develop these
• Teamwork • Diversity
• Leadership • Customer Focus
Business professionals should be able to solve problems and make decisions; to think critically as
they analyze information and proposals; and to think strategically and creatively when
envisioning new products and programs. Being “content-intensive,” these skills are sometimes
addressed by business school curricula, though rarely with the hands-on practicality they require.
Thinking Skills include:
• Critical Thinking • Business Research
• Problem Solving • Negotiation/Conflict Resolution
• Creativity • Big Picture/Strategic Thinking
This category of the PSI encompasses all the pieces of knowledge, behavioral habits, and
acquired skills that enable seasoned professionals to behave appropriately in business situations.
Ranging from business etiquette and other social graces to networking and time management, this
knowledge is largely non-academic. Consequently, UNIBusiness alumni and other professionals
will be our primary instructional resource in this area. Professionalism includes:
• Networking • Organizational Intelligence
• First Impressions • Planning/Time Management
• Social Graces
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 18
Sample Assignments (Undergraduate)
(provided on memo letterhead to demonstrate document format expectations)
To: All students
From: Dale Cyphert
CC: course binder
Date: November 12, 2008
Re: Diagnostic Memo (optional assignment)
A common assignment for management interns or trainees is to summarize articles that upper
management has no time to read. Your new CBA Business Communication organization faces
the same problem. Students don’t have time to read all the magazines, yet you all need to stay up
to date with relevant business issues. This is the first in a series of assignments to keep (or bring)
all of you up to speed in the ongoing “conversation of business.”
Assignment: Summarize a business article in a short (no more than one page) memo to your
classmates, with a copy to the instructor. The goal of the assignment is to accurately read a
business article, pick out the main ideas, express them clearly and concisely, and make a
judgment with respect to its value for other CBA students.
• Select a current business article that is relevant to your own major or career interests. Attach
a copy of the original article to your hard copy memo.
• Use a business memo format, as you see here. This is the MS Word 7.0 “professional memo”
template. If you do not use this template, you should imitate this memo format as closely as
possible. Proper format includes the appropriate use of headers, bullets, and graphics as
well as the correct placement of date, subject, and addressees. Memos do not normally
exceed one page in length.
• Follow the form of a business message. Your memo should begin with a short
introduction to orient the reader, give complete bibliographic information, and give a
sense of the general direction you will take. The next one to three paragraphs will
accurately summarize the content of the article. The action step in this case will be
brief paragraph to explain the relevance of this article for CBA students.
• Use a businesslike style and tone. This means that you will use clear, concise and
accurate words, state your ideas assertively, and get to the point quickly. Extraneous
ideas, unsupported assertions, and vague language are unacceptable. Naturally, there
will be no errors of punctuation, grammar or spelling.
20 points possible; due 1/28
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 19
Group Assignment Series
TEAM COMMUNICATION ASSIGNMENT CHECKLIST
he purpose of your team project is to allow you to learn and demonstrate the various
communication and documentation steps that are expected of work teams in a business
environment. The project begins during the second week of class as individual students
propose projects and form teams. Once formed, your team will engage in a number of
communication tasks that will allow you to implement the project you have selected.
Chap 6 Oral Communication (formal, informal and electronic meetings, pp 111-116)
Chap 9 Productive Communication (productive meetings, pp. 183-196)
Chapter 14 Working in Groups and Teams
• Engage in a social event with all members present by 2/9, before beginning
Define the Task
• Contact your client; meet as necessary to establish project deadlines and
• Create planning documents (Gantt chart and budget) for your project.
• Confirm the task planning with a Memo of Understanding to the client, cc: Dr.
Cyphert with planning documents attached. Due 2/16.
Manage Project Communication
• Complete a process planning sheet (In-class meeting 2/13)
• Provide a status report (oral presentation of team goals, progress to date, and
expected outcome) 3/1, 3.
• Follow the process plan, documenting meetings, client contact and project task
completion as required. Interim review will occur on 3/26.
• The team must invite the instructor to at least one project meeting by 4/9, using
the class calendar software to schedule and confirm her attendance, providing an
agenda ahead of time and a distributing a copy of the meeting minutes (see pp.
Project Review and Transfer
• Discussion prep sheet due 4/21.
• Review presentation to management with discussion of next steps in project. 4/26,
• Provide or update project documentation to allow future teams to replicate,
continue or build on the work they have done. Due within 72 hours of
• Create or update the intranet page describing the project. Due 4/30.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 20
Memo of Understanding
This document will provide your supervisor (in this case, your instructor) with a
summary of the relevant information regarding your planned project. I would not expect
a document to exceed two pages in length, including any resource, reference or budget
information. This document is due _______.
The document should include
1. Your group membership and the contact persons for the client, supervisor and/or
2. Your group’s understanding of the task you have been asked to complete.
Your task description should indicate the project’s context, long-term strategy and short-term
goals. It should also be clear who the client is. Sometimes work is done within a department
for a single supervisor (i.e. your project might prepare instructional exercises for this course),
or a work team can be performing work for an internal or external client (i.e. your project
involves providing statistical research and analysis for another project team, or development
of a marketing plan for the UNI Toastmasters chapter).
The task description should include a clear, concrete description of project deliverables and
due dates. The objective is to communicate your plans to your client or supervisor in such a
way that no one is surprised by the finished project. For example: “We will research the
need for interpersonal skills in business contexts,” would be an insufficient description to
earn credit for the assignment. An appropriate statement would include both project product
and date: “We will provide a memo to you on May 1 that summarizes the published research
on workplace interpersonal communication.”
3. Any resources you expect to be able to use over the course of the project, including
people, equipment or funds.
You should be clear whether you have already secured their cooperation. If you are expecting
your supervisor or client to provide you with support of any kind, that expectation should be
included in the memo.
4. Relevant value assumptions, restrictions, or anticipated changes in the task definition,
project procedures, or resource availability.
Again, the goal is to communicate your intentions and plans in such a way as to avoid
surprises. Sometimes there are significant contingencies built into your project (i.e. you
cannot decide whether you will provide links to current resources or recommend designing a
webpage until you have spent a couple of weeks determining what is currently available). If
this is the case, your memo should specify the time frame and necessary resources for making
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 21
Project Communication Plan
Project planning includes the allocation of resources, including the time of team members
and their internal and external communication efforts. The project’s communication plan
charts the information flow that will be needed to accomplish the group’s task, schedules
necessary communication events, and provides a plan for communicating changes or
decisions to those who will be effected.
A communication plan can take many forms. Calendars, punch lists, spreadsheets and
flow charts (Gantt charts) all offer some formatting advantages. Many industries have
developed specialized methods (e.g. construction scheduling software, insurance claims
diary systems), and many companies run their projects with software programs that
integrate meeting scheduling and electronic communication tools with the overall task
planning (e.g. MS Project).
You may select any format you like, as long as the format allows a supervisor or a new
group member could easily determine a) what the project plan is, b) who is responsible
for each element of the plan, and c) the status of each element of the plan.
Your plan will be evaluated to see that it includes
1. All steps, stages, subtasks, or parts of the overall task. No small task is too small to
2. All time estimates, due dates, and benchmarks of all steps, stages and subtasks.
3. All individual assignments, responsibilities, deadlines and time commitments.
4. All scheduled group meetings, benchmarks, follow-up dates, or any other planned
communication within the group.
5. Current information regarding task completion, project changes, internal and external
Your group project plan should be available for inspection during EVERY group meeting
that is held during class time. The completed plan is due on _____.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 22
College of Business Administration
University of Northern Iowa
1227 W. 27th Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0125
Random S. Student
Business Communication Enterprises
131 Business Building
Cedar Falls, IA 50613
Dear Mr. or Ms. Student:
A letter of request is the first of an ongoing series of communications you will have with an
“outside” business contact.
Most of you are interested in finding out more about communication in an authentic business
environment. The best way to do that is to spend time in an authentic business environment. The
next best thing is to ask questions of someone who has spent time there.
Your assignment is to find an individual who is presently employed in business, with at least five
years experience in his or her current organization. The person can be someone you know well--a
parent or family friend, or even a current coworker or supervisor. This should be someone you
feel comfortable with, and an ideal person might also work in a career area in which you are
interested. Over the course of the semester, you will ask this business contact for some
information about communication in an authentic business environment. The “required”
questions are simple: What does it mean to be a “good communicator” in your company, industry
and position? What communication skills and abilities are expected of a college-educated, entry-
level employee? What communication problems or issues exist in your organization? The
answers will provide data for two memos and a report.
Your first job, then, is to write a letter to a prospective contact asking for cooperation in allowing
you to learn about communication in his or her business environment. The letter should conform
to a professional business format (as this letter is) and should be correctly folded into a #10
envelope. You should include information regarding your enrollment in a UNI course in business
communication as well as a promise of confidentiality. Anything else you say will depend on the
specifics of your audience. The letter, signed and ready to mail, is due to me on the assignment
Dale Cyphert, Ph. D.
Instructor of Business Communication I
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 23
To: All Students
From: Dale Cyphert
Date: November 12, 2008
CC: Dean Moussavi
Re: Descriptive Memo
A good way to start finding out about communication in a business environment can be to survey
the typical communication that occurs. Later, you might analyze the examples more carefully to
determine what, exactly, constitutes “good” communication.
Summarize the information you obtain in a way that is useful for your classmates, a group of
college educated, entry-level employees who will need to know such things as the kinds of
communication activities that are common and expected, the items that people might use to judge
overall communication abilities, or a ranking of most or least important activities. Your contact
person might give you information of a wide range of communication:
written communication such as letters, memos, reports or email
electronic communication including email, graphic design, web pages or video
mediated communication such as telephone duties, radio announcements,
advertising or bulletin boards
group communication including meetings, teams, or projects
interpersonal communication with co-workers, customers, or in community
presentational communication such as impromptu, informal talks or prepared
instructional communication in on-the-job training, delegation, or formal training
Your job is to organize the information in a way that will best meet the needs of your classmates.
They might also benefit from seeing communication examples and illustrations. Copies of letters,
memos, meeting agendas or minutes, videotaped conversations, or reports can all be helpful to
demonstrate communication at your contact business.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 24
College of Business
To: All Students
From: Dale Cyphert
Date: November 12, 2008
Re: Analytical Memo
The second memo that you will write about your contact business presents your analysis of some
aspect of communication at that organization. The memo should be directed to me and should
explain how communication works (or doesn’t work) as a result of following communication
principles learned in this course (either from the book or the lectures).
• You must begin this memo, as any memo, with a summarizing paragraph. Your reader
should know immediately whether you are deciding that some kind of communication
does or does not work.
• An analytical memo provides a framework for evaluation. The reader must be able to
understand what you mean by “good” (or “bad”) in your evaluation. This means you
have to explain the criteria for evaluation (e.g. what counts as “good” team
communication). Generally, this will be the memo’s second paragraph.
• An analytical memo is one that interprets data. Thus you should provide sufficient
information about the communication process or context to allow a reader to understand
“what you’re talking about.” This will generally be the third paragraph, which should
be structured to examine data in terms of the criteria you gave in paragraph two.
• In an analytical memo, you defend a conclusion. In a final paragraph, you “answer the
question” based on the reasons you have just explained. You must give the SAME
answer that you previewed in the first paragraph and summarize your reasons for
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 25
College of Business
To: All Students
From: Dale Cyphert
Date: November 12, 2008
Re: Analytical Business Report
Prepare a report for your business contact, students in your group, or a member of the CBA
faculty. You may report your findings and recommendation on any aspect of business
communication at your contact organization.
• Business writing often involves rewriting and revising previously written
documents for a new audience or a new purpose. For example, parts of a research
and development proposal might be used for the new product brochure, which is
itself revised for use in customer support training materials. With each document,
the audience is different and the writer’s purpose is different. The material must be
presented in a different format and with a different style. In writing your report,
you’ll probably use parts of your initial letter to your contact person and
information from the two memos you have prepared. You’ll need to edit, rewrite
and add material to provide a clear description of the problem, your analysis of it,
and support for whatever recommendation you are making.
• In a formal report, your analysis must be strong enough to support a
recommendation, which generally requires evidence of some kind. Evidence for
this assignment might consist of examples from a workplace or classroom,
testimony from appropriate experts, or published research on the topic of your
report. You may use any combination of appropriate evidence such that your final
report is supported with a) an interview with a contact person, b) at least one
published source, c) at least one electronic source and d) an appendix item of some
• The report should conform to the formats summarized the course reading. A
scoring sheet is attached for your reference, as is a schematic diagram of a
“standard” business report. For most students, the contact letter works well as a
draft of the introduction, the descriptive memo includes the necessary information
for a data section, and the analysis memo forms the basis of the analysis section.
Conclusions and the recommendation should reflect a position that follows logically
from the analysis and demonstrates a realistic assessment of workability.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 26
College of Business
From: Dale Cyphert
Date: November 12, 2008
Re: Positive Recognition Letter
Kindness and Manners in Business
While business communication is often task-focused, it is important to remember that the
business organization is a fundamentally human organization. Human beings need to be
acknowledged for their contributions to an organization or team. This does not just mean that the
company should recognize and reward you for your efforts. This also means that you should take
the time to thank those who help you and to acknowledge the efforts of your team members and
An assessment that you have “excellent communication skills” often depends on your good
manners and generous acknowledgment of others’ contributions.
The Thank You Letter
The business “thank you” can be found in myriad forms, from the routine mass Christmas letter
to the handwritten note on embossed personal stationery that acknowledges important mentoring
or networking assistance. Somewhere in-between lies the thank you letter. You should send a
letter after every job interview, every completed consulting assignment, every signed order; in
short, thank those who help you meet your own business goals. Your immediate task is to send a
thank you letter to your business contact, a copy of which is due to me.
Knowing when to send thanks is easy compared to the really hard question, “what do I say?”
First, state clearly, in concrete, behavioral terms, what the other person did for you. This would
be the first paragraph, which always states the issue. Then explain the specific, concrete, positive
benefit that the action had, usually as a second paragraph. Finally, the action step should specify
the continuing relationship you wish to have with the person. I will expect to find these three
elements in the thank you letter you write to your contact person.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 27
Business Conversation Assignments
• Begin to read regularly a business periodical of your choice so that you have something
• Review proper memo, email formats, (Chapter 3)
• Review Netiquette and principles of email use at the Business Communication website.
You will be held responsible for correct form and procedure as well as business-relevant message
content in all assignments below.
Electronic Class Introduction
You have been automatically subscribed to the class email discussion list at your UNI address. If
you have another address that you prefer to use, you will have to UNSUBSCRIBE from the
discussion at your UNI address and SUBSCRIBE from your preferred address. More complete
information on this process is available on the Business Communication website. You should
read your mail regularly to keep abreast of class issues, calendar changes or assignment
Post a self-introduction to this discussion list by the due date. Be sure to project a business like
persona by adhering to proper email format
Face to Face Business Conversation
After we have discussed social communication and networking conversations in class, you will
participate in an in-class conversation on business topics. Groups will be assigned based on
topics prepared during reading of general business publications. Individuals will be evaluated on
their ability to maintain a) relevant and productive contributions to the discussion of the business
topic, b) dynamic and professional non-verbal indicators and c) proactive efforts to guide the
conversation toward productive business-related understanding.
Professional e-Discussion Introduction
Join a career related e-discussion (not a bulletin board or newsletter). Provide a professional
introduction of yourself to the list, submitting a copy to the instructor by the assignment due date.
Your introduction will be evaluated on the basis of your ability to project a businesslike image,
both verbally and non-verbally.
Career e-Discussion Participation
Join a career related e-discussion (not a bulletin board or newsletter). Post at least three questions
or responses to the discussion, keeping copies of your posts and any relevant responses. Submit
the full collection of email messages by the assignment due date. Your discussion will be
evaluated on a) your proper use of email and b) the relevance and responsiveness of your
contributions to the list.
Career e-Discussion Review
Join a list that has NOT been previously reviewed for the Business Communication Website.
Lurk on the list for at least 30 days and then prepare a report for the website. Your review should
include a) a description of the group, b) its purposes and the typical conversation, c) an
explanation of how to join the list, and d) an evaluation of its usefulness for UNI students with
various majors or career interests.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 28
Sample Assignments (MBA)
Memo of Understanding
As soon as the team has defined its task, a document is usually sent to the client,
supervisor, or major stakeholders to verify that everyone understands the task in the same
way. The document could be a pro forma memo kept on file, a binding contract, or a
series of substantive emails that clarify key details. Whatever the circumstances, this
document sets up a feedback loop, which should be designed so that several key topics
are summarized and verified:
team identity Your group membership should be specified, identifying in particular the
person within the team who will be the client’s contact. Often contact information for
everyone on the team is given and sometimes additional information regarding each
member’s affiliation, supervisor or team responsibilities.
task parameters A brief but complete description of the project is the main body of the
client: Generally the memo is addressed to the client (whether an external
client, internal client or a direct supervisor) but sometimes you need to clarify
multiple clients or cross-functional lines of authority.
organizational goal and context: The memo should specify both long term
organizational goals and the specific tasks that the team has undertaken to
help meet them. If the project is part of an ongoing effort, the memo should
clarify its status with respect to completed phases or interrelationship with
other teams involved in the project. This document would also be the place to
review previously determined constraints, concerns, or warnings regarding the
successful implementation of the project. Be careful to spell out any
assumptions that you are making regarding success criteria, resource
availability, anticipated environmental changes, or strategic choices yet to be
contingent choices If there are any significant contingencies built into the
project, they should be specified here, along with the dates that decisions will
need to be made and the person or persons who will be responsible for making
them. Be sure to indicate whether any resources or timeframes are dependent
on these decisions and, if possible, the alternate deliverables that will result.
constraints: If there are specific limitations on any potential decisions or
specific parameters within which the team must operate, these would be listed
as known constraints.
deliverables: This is a concrete description of what you will accomplish,
create, or decide, and a commitment as to when, where and in what format it
will be delivered to the client. Include information about interim or additional
work that will be delivered at other times or to other people.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 29
standards: Standards of quality, quantity, timeliness and cost are to be met in
this project should be specified. It is also a good idea to spell out the priorities
that the team and client have agreed upon in case conditions require that
changes be made to the project scope or processes.
resources Specify any resources you expect to be able to use over the course of the
project, including people, equipment or funds. You should be clear whether you have
already secured the cooperation of resources, are expecting your supervisor or client to
provide them, or will be locating necessary resources as part of your project
documentation Specify the communication that will occur within the team, between the
team and client, and with the UNI faculty. Any dates and format for interim and final
reports should be included, along with information about where they are to be sent or
stored. Confidentiality arrangements are not uncommon and sample forms are available
via the Capstone course website. If the project presents an appropriate instructional
opportunity, we encourage teams to secure agreement for subsequent publication as a
teaching case, with the understanding that all identifying references or data would be
removed or disguised.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 30
Managing Project Teams
MBA Capstone teams are self-managed teams, and your mentor is expected to play a
very limited advisory and oversight role. As part of your coursework, you have gained
theoretical knowledge about leadership and organizational behavior, organizational
politics, and process management; you have also worked on various case studies and
team projects to practice those principles in problem-solving contexts. The Capstone
experience now offers a final opportunity to demonstrate that you can effectively
participate as a team member, facilitate group processes, and manage team projects.
Your performance will be evaluated by the faculty, taking into account observed team
activities, peer evaluations, and an individual self-assessment. In all cases, there is a
presumption that all team members should understand and appropriately use key
elements of group management:
Principles of groups/diversity and homogeneity/decision-making norms/goals
Effects of communication and work-style preferences
Methods to achieve group identity, camaraderie and shared perception
Task Definition and Work Organization
Negotiating deliverables, constraints, and expectations with stakeholders
Developing and assigning task steps, interim and final deadlines, team calendar
Assignment of task, decision-making and communication responsibilities
Design and Management of Team Processes
Direction, coordination and control of task processes
Design and implementation of internal and external communication processes
Analysis of team processes with respect to effect on team performance
Evaluation and adjustment of task and communication processes
Analyze and Solve Problems in Team Situations
Determine causes of dysfunctional or unproductive team situations
Utilize effective techniques to prevent or resolve team conflicts
Utilize effective techniques to secure adequate organizational support for team
Understand and accommodate cultural, social and personality factors in resolving
Various team development guidelines and checklists are provided at the course website. Teams
are strongly urged to FOLLOW the principles, policies, and procedures a) to achieve better
outcomes in your project, b) to earn a better grade and c) for the sake of your individual and
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 31
Proposal and final presentations to the faculty should be conducted with the same
professionalism that you use in your client presentations.
In general, your oral presentations are supported by a more detailed written proposal or
report. The presentation should explain the context, project goals, and big picture
findings, and encourage discussion of interesting, perplexing or problematic points.
Detailed analysis should be made available in the written materials, and you should be
prepared to discuss it extensively, if the audience is interested. However, your
presentation should serve to visually and conversationally highlight important facts, not
to summarize every point in the written material.
Professional presentations are generally assumed to include substantial time for a
discussion. Plan to use approximately one third of your allotted time slot for the “formal”
presentation of your material, leaving the rest to answer questions and explore specific
points in more detail. The presentation should be structured as an executive summary
rather than a report.
• Begin with the points that are of interest to management: the results, strategic
implications, and recommendations.
• Then review very briefly the research and analysis that brought you to your
conclusions, but do not provide details during the initial presentation.
• Be prepared with hidden slides or handouts, however, to provide detailed graphs,
analysis and justifications in response to questions about the specifics of your
research methods and analytical thought processes.
Professional attire (suits for men and women) and presentation software are, generally
speaking, expected in any formal presentation and are expected at the MBA Conference.
Your client might request an informal presentation or discussion of project results, which
should generally be conducted as a meeting where informal business attire (jacket and tie
for men, pantsuit or dress for women) and prepared handouts are usually expected.
In all cases, you should aim for a dynamic, conversational and competent demeanor.
You should present yourself as a professional businessperson with a thorough grasp of
the situation, the project, and its implications for the client. Avoid the unprofessional
marks of “student” presentations: note cards, very formal speaking style, technology
abuse. You can expect to practice your presentation, especially a formal presentation,
several times, to spend time planning responses to anticipated questions, and to carefully
time the presentation so that you can adequately discuss the key issues.
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 32
You should plan for the expert in each aspect of the project to discuss his or her own
contribution. All members of the team should be prepared to address questions about any
aspect of the project, but do not sabotage your team’s presentation by talking about things
you don’t understand. If you are not competent to answer a particular question, defer to
someone who is. It should never appear as though the team is in disagreement or
Visuals and Handouts
Detailed explanations and statistical tables should be provided in printed copies of the
proposal or report. PowerPoint slides or handouts should use images and graphics to help
the audience visualize relationships or understand concepts. Do not create slides or
handouts that simply provide an outline of your presentation. Do not create handouts that
are simply copies of your slides. Do use narrative, images, graphics, animation and
interactive tools to support your presentation purpose.
Preparation and Practice
Each team is required to schedule a presentation review prior to the final MBA Capstone
Conference. The session should include Dr. Cyphert, Dr. Wilson and the team’s faculty
mentor. The team should schedule a two-hour block that will allow everyone to be in
attendance. Dr. Cyphert will reserve a room equipped with presentation equipment.
Provide printed copies of the prepared slides to each of the attendees for review and
discussion purposes. Typically, extensive revisions are required and the team should
allow at least a week between the review and the conference to make necessary changes.
Additional assistance is available throughout the year by appointment with Dr. Cyphert;
additional materials and sample presentation videos are also available at the course
website. (User Name: Capstone; password; drcyphert
Dale Cyphert, “Addressing the Scope of Business and Professional Communication”, NCA, San Diego, 2008 33