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  • 1. Business Communication – English 302 English 302: Business Communication: Bob Corey / / 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 English 302 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 communication. Audience 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 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,
  • 2. and context come together to create effective communication. Medium 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. Expectations: 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 and circumstances 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 communication 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, usage, mechanics) Attendance: 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 continued enrollment. Tardiness: Tardiness is disruptive, rude, and discourteous. If you are more than 15 minutes late, it’s an absence.
  • 3. Assignments: Assignments will be posted on my website 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% Final 5% Evaluation: 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 (, do send me an email. Since I do go to my office and have office hours, stop by for a visit. Plagiarism: 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 and will randomly submit assignments to be
  • 4. 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. Tentative Syllabus Date Topic Major Assignments & In-Class Work Week 1 Intro to class, Handouts Introduce Annotated Bib and Quick Ref Guide 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 Session 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