Professional Business Communication COMM 3880
Paul Many, Fall, 2007 Office UH4740-B: Mon. & Wed. 3:45-5:30
Tues. & Thurs. 5:30-6:45 p.m. (419) 530-4673 Tues. & Thurs 4:30-5:15
BO 1053 Paul.Many@utoledo.edu
COMM - 3880 Professional Business Communication [3 hours] Developing oral and
written business communication skills through practice in public speaking, interviewing,
resume writing, and communication in various formats.
Students in Professional Business Communication will be presented with:
1) A definition of communication that will help guide in the formulation of
2) The importance of the plain style. Writing and speaking to express not
3) Using a short, simple, specific approach to speaking and writing.
4) The importance of a shared, transparent approach to problem solving.
5) The uses of operational definitions in defining problems.
6) Interviewing as a method of gathering information.
7) Basics of meetings.
8) Communicating via letters, memos and email.
9) Ethical factors in communication.
Communicating at Work (9th Edition)
by Ronald Adler and Jeanne Elmhorst
McGraw Hill (N.Y., 2008)
I Introduction/Nature of Communication
Many’s rules for successful communication
Communication as a sharing.
The individual/collective paradox in business.
Study: Chapter 1
II Business Writing/Speaking: The Plain Style
Communicating to express, not impress
The 3 S’s of business communication.
Short, Simple, Specific
Study: Chapter 4 and Appendix. pp. 501-505
III Communication in Organizations: Identifying Problems
Common communication problems in business.
Developing a shared approach to problem solving.
Discussion of final communication problem/solution presentation.
Study: Chaps 5 & 14 pp. 470-472 (“Proposals”) pp. 485-488 (“Organizing”)
Professional Business Communication/COMM3880 - 2
IV Communication in Organizations: Identifying Problems (Continued)
Presentation/Critiques of ideas for final projects.
Assignment: Informal statement of problems due. Tues., Sept. 11
Study: Chapter 2
V Defining the Problem
The function of definitions: formal, expanded and operational, in framing problems.
Identifying and framing problems so everyone can understand. (Transparency)
VI Defining the Problem II
Interviewing: A cooperative approach to gaining information.
Study: Chapters 3, 6
VII Interviewing continued
Letters/Memos/Email - shorter forms.
Committed to paper and permanent digital files.
Assignment: Operational statement of problems due. Tues. Oct. 2
Study: Chapter 7 (especially p. 205-209)
VIII Letters/Memos/Email (continued)
The “you” attitude. First the good news, then the bad news.
Writing a persuasive report.
Outlining your proposal to solve an organizational communication problem.
IX Midterm: Thursday, Oct. 18
No classes on Mon., Oct. 15 & Tues., Oct. 16 - Fall Break Days
X Meetings/Small Group Communication
Working in a group. Organizations are often too complex for lone riders.
Short “product” presentations.
Assignment: Outline of organizational problem report due. Tues. Oct. 23
Study: Chapter 8 (especially pp. 266-286), Chapter 9
XI Individual Conferences/Research
Executive reports of final presentations
Study: Chapter 10
XII Individual Conferences/Research
Executive reports of final presentations
Study: Chapter 11
XIII Pointers for Presentations
PowerPoint Poisoning and how to avoid it.
Study: Chapter 12
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XIV Presentation of Final Projects
(Thanksgrabbing Holiday * Wed. Nov. 21 - Fri. Nov. 23)
XV Presentation of Final Projects
XVI Presentation of Final Projects
XVII Final Exam: Tuesday, Dec. 11, 5-7 p.m. BO 1053
All study assignments are due at class time on the class days indicated.
All assignments and due dates are subject to change by announcement in class.
Assignments & Projects:
Note: Little class time is set aside for completing assignments in class. You will need to budget a
generous amount of extra time for researching, interviewing and writing outside of class.
All assignments must be typed or computer printed on laser or equivalent-quality printer. No
handwritten or hand-printed assignments will be accepted.
Detailed handouts explaining assignments and projects will be distributed in class.
The production AND presentation of a typed or printed 5 page paper along with (if you so choose) an
audio tape, videotape/film, or web page. The paper must explore and attempt to solve a current
communication problem in a business, organization or institution which you have researched using
primary sources, and must show evidence of using these sources. (i.e. the sources must be quoted or
specifically referred to in the presentation.) You must clearly indicate and support a solution to the
problem. Description of the problem alone will result in a failing grade for this paper.
Note: Part of the grade for this project is based on a presentation of your final project to the class. You
must make all arrangements for the presentation including the ordering of audiovisual equipment. The
presentation should run approximately 10 minutes.
You will be required to keep a hard copy of all materials in a file folder for presentation at the time of
your individual conference. This will include all materials you have produced for this class. Any
materials you may have handwritten in the classroom and are using in your portfolio must be typed for
portfolio presentation. You should also keep all assignments in digital form.
You will be given a midterm and a final on the dates indicated on this syllabus or in the university
exam schedule. No make-up exams are planned. If you miss the class, you miss the test. Tests will be
over materials from lectures, presentation, videos, films, as well as from the text. You will not be tested
on presentations given by other students, however.
is mandatory since many in-class lectures and demonstrations do not follow the text; in-class
Professional Business Communication/COMM3880 - 4
exercises are planned, and handouts will be given in class. You must attend all classes. More than
five absences excused or not during the semester will result in a W or F. Save up absences. Note: If
you have a cold or extended illness, or some other problem that prevents you from attending, you
should drop the course.
Please turn off or disable the sound of all things that may go “beep,” during class,. This includes
cell phones, watches, beepers, GameBoys, electronic pets, brain implants, email, iPods, etc.
You are expected to be on time for class, and to stay the whole class period. More than five late
arrivals or early departures will result in your final grade being lowered one grade.
All assignments and projects must be completed to qualify for a passing grade. Assignments are due
at class time on the day indicated. Assignments received after that time will be considered at least
one day late. Turn in late assignments in my mailbox across from UH4740. You are not required to
turn in late assignments personally to me. Late assignments will be downgraded 1/2 grade per day
including weekends and holidays. More than three late assignments will result in the lowering of
your final grade by one grade. e.g. A = B. A grade of zero will be assigned for uncompleted
assignments and missed tests. You will be given a sheet detailing what is expected of you for each
assignment well in advance of its due date.
This is not a distance learning class. Emailed or faxed assignments are not acceptable
unless you receive prior approval from me. You have not submitted an emailed assignment
until you receive an emailed acknowledgment. Save it for proof.
projects or assignments or those completed on an "I" or other grade (see below) after the end of the
semester will receive a "D" or an "F." In cases of exceptional work, a "C" may be granted.
According to the catalog, the grade of "I" or incomplete "is assigned only in extraordinary cases
where conditions prevent the student from completing the requirements of the course within the
term of enrollment." By University regulations, the grade converts to an "F" if the work is not
completed by the end of the following semester.
Each project and assignment will be graded A-F on the basis of the professor’s judgment of the
student’s demonstration of mastery of principles discussed in class and in the text. Other prime
factors considered will be the extent to which directions were followed and conformity to form and
format. Each test will be graded on a numerical basis and worth 100 points.
Tests = 40% of final grade.
Short Assignments/Attendance = 30% of final grade.
Final Project = 30% of final grade. (10% presentation/20% content)
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The score range for letter grade purposes is:
Grade/Range As described by catalog:
A = 100.0 - 94.0 Achievement of outstanding quality
A- = 93.9 - 90.0 Achievement of slightly less than outstanding
B+ = 89.9 - 87.5 Achievement of slightly more than high quality
B = 87.4 - 85.0 Achievement of high quality
B- = 84.9 - 80.0 Achievement of slightly less than high quality
C+ = 79.9- 77.5 Work of slightly more than acceptable quality
C = 77.4 - 75.0 Work of acceptable quality
C- = 74.9 - 70.0 Work of slightly less than acceptable quality
D+ = 69.9 - 67.5 Work slightly above passing but below quality expected
D = 67.4 - 65.0 Passing but below quality expected
D- = 64.9 - 60.0 Passing but barely above failing
F = 59.9 - 00.0 Failure
Withdrawal from Class:
If you decide to stop coming to class, or have five or more absences, you must officially withdraw
from class, or you will receive an F. The IW grade no longer exists. You must withdraw yourself
from the course. Check your schedule of classes for the last date for withdrawal (usually about the
10th week of class) and for the total number of withdrawals you are allowed.
Students With Disabilities:
I will gladly make arrangements for students with certifiable disabilities who need special
accommodations. Students must present a letter from the Office of Accessibility indicating their
special needs no later than the end of the first week of classes. I will meet with the student, and
discuss the proposed accommodations. I will then issue the student a memo outlining what I
perceive to be the agreed-upon arrangements. It is the student’s obligation to inform me at that time
of any other accommodations that the student can demonstrate are warranted.
The Department of Communication endorses the following: "Proven and/or admitted student
academic dishonesty, including but not limited to cheating and plagiarism, will result in loss of
credit (a grade of F will be awarded) for the course in which the academic dishonesty took place."
If you have trouble with grammar, spelling and/or punctuation, you make take drafts of your
assignments to the Writing Center (main floor of Carlson Library) and receive remedial help. More
comprehensive help with study habits and other problems is also available. Remedial work is
About Your Professor:
I've taught for 26 years here at UT and served as editor of my college newspaper and as reporter
and/or editor of newspapers in and around the New York City area (including financial
publications. ) I have an MA/journalism from OSU, a PhD/mass comm from OU and an
MFA/creative writing from BGSU. I’ve have been writing and editing since 1968 and maintain an
active writing schedule.
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