Business Communication – English 302
English 302: Business Communication:
Bob Corey / firstname.lastname@example.org / 334 Carver Hall /
Office hours: M-TR 9-10 and by appointment
Texts: Required The Business Writer’s Handbook by Alred et al.
Recommended: The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Lencioni
This course is designed to present theories, principles and processes of effective written
communication typically encountered in business and the professions. You will be given
a variety of writing practices in such things as: standard letter and memo forms, short
proposals, policy and procedure descriptions, job descriptions, application letters,
résumés, autobiographical summaries, performance reviews and evaluations, and letters
of recommendation. We will also explore the ethics of business and business decisions.
Purpose of Business Communication
Business and professional communication is essential to the success of a business. Those
who can master the communication process, including the contexts in which communication
takes place, make themselves valuable employees. There are many skills involved in
business and professional communication such as understanding specific audiences,
possessing analytic skills, possessing effective and creative problem solving skills, planning,
and editing techniques, as well as working effectively in a collaborative and/or team setting.
Business and professional communication is designed to expedite meaning and
understanding among employees, businesses, and cultures. As an employee, you should
work to understand the purpose of your communication, before you undertake its
development. All these skills will help you produce the proper genre for effective
One key element in business and professional communication is understanding your
audience. Realizing who will receive your communication will help in selecting the most
appropriate medium for delivery. The emphasis for your communication is not based entirely
on what you have to say, but how the message should be delivered. Should you use the
phone, meet someone over lunch, design a web page, or send an email? Many times the
situation/context may dictate how you wish to deliver the message.
Context is how, when, and where communication is delivered to your audience. Begin to
think of context as situational – speaking at a protest rally, meeting with your boss,
writing an email to a new colleague, meeting with your local school board or city council.
You should be aware of how the situation (where) will help determine how you deliver
your message and when the message should be delivered. For example, you certainly
would not regale a wedding reception with tales of the previous night’s bachelor party.
As a responsible, ethical communicator, you should be aware of how purpose, audience,
and context come together to create effective communication.
Medium deals with how you deliver your message; what form the message takes. Some
media are better than others for certain messages and determine the genre used. For
example, an instruction manual on running machinery is different from a mentor giving
information on how to best approach the boss with a problem. While both may deliver
instructions about procedures, the situations dictate different delivery systems. Bear in
mind that fundamental communication may remain the same (instructions), but
differences occur in how the message is delivered.
Many people have told you that communication is important to your success as an employee.
The expectations I have for you are that you make your best effort to succeed. You may find
aspects of this class challenging, at times difficult, but not impossible. You might even find it an
enjoyable, learning experience. However, in order for you to receive the benefits from the class
and your classmates, you must be present and participate, which is part of being a student. I
expect you to make your best effort to complete the assignments and participate in learning.
Your work and dedication are a reflection of your commitment to your education and learning,
as well as future. I hope your work reflects a strong commitment toward those goals.
In order to make the best use of class please keep interruptions to a minimum. Please turn off
all electronic devices (cell phones) and return your trays and seats to an upright and locked
position. We’re about to take off!
Goals for this class:
o Establish a clear understanding of audience, use an appropriate tone and style,
and analyze and design texts for various business and professional audiences
o Achieve the purpose of the text by stating a clear position and supporting that
position with logical points, sub-points, reasons, and/or persuasive examples.
o Include appropriate headings/bullets/lists, and use smooth transitions
o Become familiar with specific genres of business and professional
o Gain an understanding of the hierarchies of communication and power within an
organization and the ethical decisions associated with them
o Learn effective team and collaborative strategies
o Continue to strengthen conventions of formal, standard, English (grammar,
Attendance is an integral part of the learning experience and I expect you to attend class
regularly. This is not a correspondence course and attendance will be taken each class
meeting. If you foresee a problem in attending class, see me before poor attendance
becomes a big problem. If you accumulate 6 or more absences, we will meet to discuss your
Tardiness is disruptive, rude, and discourteous. If you are more than 15 minutes late, it’s an
Assignments will be posted on my website www.public.iastate.edu/~bccorey and include
individual and collaborative work.
Semester Assignments: %
Job Package (pass/fail) 5%
Annotated Bibliography 15%
Quick Reference Guide 10%
Training Session (Group) 10%
Listening Unit 10%
Presentations (QRG/Ann Bib) 10%
Hmwk/Participation (quizzes, ethics cases, articles) 15%
Web Analysis 10%
Book + paper 10%
Grading criteria and point values will be assigned each task and a rubric included with
each assignment. In addition to the criteria below (COMES), your documents will be
evaluated on whether or not they are acceptable or unacceptable. If errors are too
pronounced, you will need to rewrite the document before it is accepted for a grade. Your
documents will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
C – correctness issues. Are your documents correct in spelling, mechanics, and usage?
O – organization issues. Are your documents logically organized using proper
transitions/headings? Is there a sense of order and unity to your document?
M – material issues. Do your documents contain the necessary information to make your
ideas understood by your audience? Do the documents anticipate and answer all
questions pertaining to the issues discussed?
E – expression issues. Do your words, sentences, and paragraphs make sense and
reflect a high level of education and professionalism?
S – source issues. Have you provided proper documentation of all sources including any
visual information such as tables, graphs, and charts?
Due dates / Late papers / Conferences:
As a student, you are responsible for the work given to you (much like a real job!). All
work should be complete and handed in on time. You should also abide by all
meeting/conference times. Assignment sheets/syllabus will have due dates on them.
There are only two options concerning late assignments. Late assignments will either be
dropped one letter grade or not accepted at all. If you anticipate an absence, and will
miss a class or assignment due date, contact me before the due date.
Procedure for Contacting Instructor:
There are several ways to contact me. Since I rarely use the phone, don’t call. Since I
always check my email (email@example.com), do send me an email. Since I do go to
my office and have office hours, stop by for a visit.
Don’t do it! Most students don’t cheat, but too many web sites are out there waiting for the
unwitting. I do subscribe to Plagiserve.com and will randomly submit assignments to be
checked. The ethical standards that you display in this class (and others) provide me with a look
into your character as a professional. You should ask yourself how you wish to be perceived
and how others perceive you.
In this class you need to do and hand in your own work. If you plagiarize, your document(s) will
receive 0 points, and I will report the incident to the Dean of Students. You may find more
information in the Student Information Handbook under Policies & Practices Section XIII
Academic Dishonesty. It is in your best interests to go over the information. Please be familiar
with it and Iowa State’s policy regarding plagiarism and the process involved.
Date Topic Major Assignments &
Week 1 Intro to class, Handouts Introduce Annotated Bib and Quick
Week 2 Job Package- Professionalism; Tech Def; Audience and Use Profile
Week 3 Guest Lecturer Web Site Analysis;
Week 4 Listening Unit
Week 5 Begin group work on Training
Week 6 Training Session Presentations 5 Begin reading 5 Dysfunctions +
Dysfunctions… paper assignment
Week 7 Book Discussion
Week 8 Projects Due: Quick Reference
Guide; Annotated Bibliography
Scrapbook, Presentation of
Annotated Bib; Final