Define communication and describe communication as a process.
Identify and describe two models of communication.
Identify and describe the eight essential components of communication.
Textbook attached (Section 1.2 What is Communication) for convenience
Business Communication for SuccessBusiness Communication for Success
Business Communication for SuccessBusiness Communication for Success
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Business Communication for Success by [Author removed at request of original publisher] is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.
Publisher Information x
Chapter 1: Effective Business Communication
1.1 Why Is It Important to Communicate Well? 3 1.2 What Is Communication? 8 1.3 Communication in Context 16 1.4 Your Responsibilities as a Communicator 20 1.5 Additional Resources 25
Chapter 2: Delivering Your Message
2.1 What Is Language? 28 2.2 Messages 32 2.3 Principles of Verbal Communication 35 2.4 Language Can be an Obstacle to Communication 41 2.5 Emphasis Strategies 46 2.6 Improving Verbal Communication 53 2.7 Additional Resources 57
Chapter 3: Understanding Your Audience
3.1 Self-Understanding Is Fundamental to Communication 62 3.2 Perception 69 3.3 Differences in Perception 79 3.4 Getting to Know Your Audience 82 3.5 Listening and Reading for Understanding 88 3.6 Additional Resources 91
Chapter 4: Effective Business Writing
4.1 Oral versus Written Communication 94 4.2 How Is Writing Learned? 97 4.3 Good Writing 103 4.4 Style in Written Communication 108
4.5 Principles of Written Communication 112 4.6 Overcoming Barriers to Effective Written Communication 117 4.7 Additional Resources 121
Chapter 5: Writing Preparation
5.1 Think, Then Write: Writing Preparation 124 5.2 A Planning Checklist for Business Messages 129 5.3 Research and Investigation: Getting Started 139 5.4 Ethics, Plagiarism, and Reliable Sources 144 5.5 Completing Your Research and Investigation 151 5.6 Reading and Analyzing 155 5.7 Additional Resources 158
Chapter 6: Writing
6.1 Organization 164 6.2 Writing Style 177 6.3 Making an Argument 187 6.4 Paraphrase and Summary versus Plagiarism 194 6.5 Additional Resources 197
Chapter 7: Revising and Presenting Your Writing
7.1 General Revision Points to Consider 200 7.2 Specific Revision Points to Consider 203 7.3 Style Revisions 212 7.4 Evaluating the Work of Others 218 7.5 Proofreading and Design Evaluation 222 7.6 Additional Resources 226
Chapter 8: Feedback in the Writing Process
8.1 Diverse Forms of Feedback 229 8.2 Qualitative and Quantitative Research 241 8.3 Feedback as an Opportunity 247 8.4 Additional Resources 251
Chapter 9: Business Writing in Action
9.1 Text, E-mail, and Netiquette 253 9.2 Memorandums and Letters 258 9.3 Business Proposal 265
9.4 Report 270 9.5 Résumé 277 9.6 Sales Message 285 9.7 Additional Resources 289
Chapter 10: Developing Business Presentations
10.1 Before You Choose a Topic 293 10.2 Choosing a Topic 298 10.3 Finding Resources 304 10.4 Myths and Realities of Public Speaking 313 10.5 Overcoming Obstacles in Your Presentation 316 10.6 Additional Resources 322
Chapter 11: Nonverbal Delivery
11.1 Principles of Nonverbal Communication 325 11.2 Types of Nonverbal Communication 333 11.3 Movement in Your Speech 342 11.4 Visual Aids 346 11.5 Nonverbal Strategies for Success with Your Audience 358 11.6 Additional Resources 360
Chapter 12: Organization and Outlines
12.1 Rhetorical Situation 364 12.2 Strategies for Success 368 12.3 Building a Sample Speech 375 12.4 Sample Speech Outlines 378 12.5 Organizing Principles for Your Speech 380 12.6 Transitions 384 12.7 Additional Resources 387
Chapter 13: Presentations to Inform
13.1 Functions of the Presentation to Inform 390 13.2 Types of Presentations to Inform 395 13.3 Adapting Your Presentation to Teach 399 13.4 Diverse Types of Intelligence and Learning Styles 409 13.5 Preparing Your Speech to Inform 412 13.6 Creating an Informative Presentation 418 13.7 Additional Resources 421
Chapter 14: Presentations to Persuade
14.1 What Is Persuasion? 425 14.2 Principles of Persuasion 428 14.3 Functions of the Presentation to Persuade 431 14.4 Meeting the Listener’s Basic Needs 436 14.5 Making an Argument 442 14.6 Speaking Ethically and Avoiding Fallacies 450 14.7 Sample Persuasive Speech 454 14.8 Elevator Speech 457 14.9 Additional Resources 459
Chapter 15: Business Presentations in Action
15.1 Sound Bites and Quotables 461 15.2 Telephone/VoIP Communication 463 15.3 Meetings 467 15.4 Celebrations: Toasts and Roasts 470 15.5 Media Interviews 474 15.6 Introducing a Speaker 477 15.7 Presenting or Accepting an Award 479 15.8 Serving as Master of Ceremonies 482 15.9 Viral Messages 484 15.10 Additional Resources 487
Chapter 16: Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Business Communication
16.1 Intrapersonal Communication 491 16.2 Self-Concept and Dimensions of Self 493 16.3 Interpersonal Needs 496 16.4 Social Penetration Theory 500 16.5 Rituals of Conversation and Interviews 506 16.6 Conflict in the Work Environment 514 16.7 Additional Resources 521
Chapter 17: Negative News and Crisis Communication
17.1 Delivering a Negative News Message 524 17.2 Eliciting Negative News 535 17.3 Crisis Communication Plan 541 17.4 Press Conferences 545 17.5 Additional Resources 550
Chapter 18: Intercultural and International Business Communication
18.1 Intercultural Communication 554 18.2 How to Understand Intercultural Communication 558 18.3 Common Cultural Characteristics 561 18.4 Divergent Cultural Characteristics 566 18.5 International Communication and the Global Marketplace 572 18.6 Styles of Management 578 18.7 The International Assignment 581 18.8 Additional Resources 587
Chapter 19: Group Communication, Teamwork, and Leadership
19.1 What Is a Group? 590 19.2 Group Life Cycles and Member Roles 596 19.3 Group Problem Solving 605 19.4 Business and Professional Meetings 611 19.5 Teamwork and Leadership 619 19.6 Additional Resources 624
Please share your supplementary material! 625
Business Communication for Success is adapted from a work produced and distributed under
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Chapter 1: Effective Business Communication
Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.
I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you
heard is not what I meant.
–Robert J. McCloskey, former State Department spokesman
1. Write five words that express what you want to do and where you want to be a year from now. Take those five words and write a paragraph that clearly articulates your responses to both “what” and “where.”
2. Think of five words that express what you want to do and where you want to be five years from now. Share your five words with your classmates and listen to their responses. What patterns do you observe in the responses? Write a paragraph that addresses at least one observation.
Communication is an activity, skill, and art that incorporates lessons learned across a wide spectrum of human
knowledge. Perhaps the most time-honored form of communication is storytelling. We’ve told each other stories
for ages to help make sense of our world, anticipate the future, and certainly to entertain ourselves. The art of
storytelling draws on your understanding of yourself, your message, and how you communicate it to an audience
that is simultaneously communicating back to you. Your anticipation, reaction, and adaptation to the process will
determine how successfully you are able to communicate. You were not born knowing how to write or even how
to talk—but in the process of growing up, you have undoubtedly learned how to tell, and how not tell, a story out
loud and in writing.
You didn’t learn to text in a day and didn’t learn all the codes—from LOL (laugh out loud) to BRB (be right
back)—right away. In the same way, learning to communicate well requires you to read and study how others
have expressed themselves, then adapt what you have learned to your present task—whether it is texting a brief
message to a friend, presenting your qualifications in a job interview, or writing a business report. You come to
this text with skills and an understanding that will provide a valuable foundation as we explore the communication
Effective communication takes preparation, practice, and persistence. There are many ways to learn
communication skills; the school of experience, or “hard knocks,” is one of them. But in the business environment,
a “knock” (or lesson learned) may come at the expense of your credibility through a blown presentation to a client.
The classroom environment, with a compilation of information and resources such as a text, can offer you a trial
run where you get to try out new ideas and skills before you have to use them to communicate effectively to make
a sale or form a new partnership. Listening to yourself, or perhaps the comments of others, may help you reflect
on new ways to present, or perceive, thoughts, ideas and concepts. The net result is your growth; ultimately your
ability to communicate in business will improve, opening more doors than you might anticipate.
As you learn the material in this text, each part will contribute to the whole. The degree to which you attend to
each part will ultimately help give you the skills, confidence, and preparation to use communication in furthering
1.1 Why Is It Important to Communicate Well?
1. Recognize the importance of communication in gaining a better understanding of yourself and others.
2. Explain how communication skills help you solve problems, learn new things, and build your career.
Communication is key to your success—in relationships, in the workplace, as a citizen of your country, and across
your lifetime. Your ability to communicate comes from experience, and experience can be an effective teacher,
but this text and the related business communication course will offer you a wealth of experiences gathered from
professional speakers across their lifetimes. You can learn from the lessons they’ve learned and be a more effective
communicator right out of the gate.
Business communication can be thought of as a problem solving activity in which individuals may address the
• What is the situation?
• What are some possible communication strategies?
• What is the best course of action?
• What is the best way to design the chosen message?
• What is the best way to deliver the message?
In this book, we will examine this problem solving process and help you learn to apply it in the kinds of situations
you are likely to encounter over the course of your career.
Communication Influences Your Thinking about Yourself and OthersCommunication Influences Your Thinking about Yourself and Others
We all share a fundamental drive to communicate. Communication can be defined as the process of understanding
and sharing meaning (Pearson & Nelson, 2000). You share meaning in what you say and how you say it, both
in oral and written forms. If you could not communicate, what would life be like? A series of never-ending
frustrations? Not being able to ask for what you need or even to understand the needs of others?
Being unable to communicate might even mean losing a part of yourself, for you communicate your self-
concept—your sense of self and awareness of who you are—in many ways. Do you like to write? Do you find
it easy to make a phone call to a stranger or to speak to a room full of people? Perhaps someone told you that
you don’t speak clearly or your grammar needs improvement. Does that make you more or less likely to want to
communicate? For some, it may be a positive challenge, while for others it may be discouraging. But in all cases,
your ability to communicate is central to your self-concept.
Take a look at your clothes. What are the brands you are wearing? What do you think they say about you? Do you
feel that certain styles of shoes, jewelry, tattoos, music, or even automobiles express who you are? Part of your
self-concept may be that you express yourself through texting, or through writing longer documents like essays
and research papers, or through the way you speak.
On the other side of the coin, your communications skills help you to understand others—not just their words, but
also their tone of voice, their nonverbal gestures, or the format of their written documents provide you with clues
about who they are and what their values and priorities may be. Active listening and reading are also part of being
a successful communicator.
Communication Influences How You LearnCommunication Influences How You Learn
When you were an infant, you learned to talk over a period of many months. When you got older, you didn’t learn
to ride a bike, drive a car, or even text a message on your cell phone in one brief moment. You need to begin the
process of improving your speaking and writing with the frame of mind that it will require effort, persistence, and
You learn to speak in public by first having conversations, then by answering questions and expressing your
opinions in class, and finally by preparing and delivering a “stand-up” speech. Similarly, you learn to write by
first learning to read, then by writing and learning to think critically. Your speaking and writing are reflections of
your thoughts, experience, and education. Part of that combination is your level of experience listening to other
speakers, reading documents and styles of writing, and studying formats similar to what you aim to produce.
As you study business communication, you may receive suggestions for improvement and clarification from
speakers and writers more experienced than yourself. Take their suggestions as challenges to improve; don’t give
up when your first speech or first draft does not communicate the message you intend. Stick with it until you get it
right. Your success in communicating is a skill that applies to almost every field of work, and it makes a difference
in your relationships with others.
Remember, luck is simply a combination of preparation and timing. You want to be prepared to communicate well
when given the opportunity. Each time you do a good job, your success will bring more success.
Communication Represents You and Your EmployerCommunication Represents You and Your Employer
You want to make a good first impression on your friends and family, instructors, and employer. They all want
you to convey a positive image, as it reflects on them. In your career, you will represent your business or company
in spoken and written form. Your professionalism and attention to detail will reflect positively on you and set you
up for success.
In both oral and written situations, you will benefit from having the ability to communicate clearly. These are
skills you will use for the rest of your life. Positive improvements in these skills will have a positive impact on
your relationships, your prospects for employment, and your ability to make a difference in the world.
Communication Skills Are Desired by Business and IndustryCommunication Skills Are Desired by Business and Industry
Oral and written communication proficiencies are consistently ranked in the top ten desirable skills by employer
surveys year after year. In fact, high-powered business executives sometimes hire consultants to coach them in
sharpening their communication skills. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the
following are the top five personal qualities or skills potential employers seek:
1. Communication skills (verbal and written)
2. Strong work ethic
3. Teamwork skills (works well with others, group communication)
5. Analytical skills
Knowing this, you can see that one way for you to be successful and increase your promotion potential is to
increase your abilities to speak and write effectively.
Effective communication skills are assets that will get you there.
Maryland GovPics – Baltimore Jewish Council Meeting – CC BY 2.0.
In September 2004, the National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges published
a study on 120 human resource directors titled Writing: A Ticket to Work…Or a Ticket Out, A Survey of Business
Leaders. The study found that “writing is both a ‘marker’ of high-skill, high-wage, professional work and a
‘gatekeeper’ with clear equity implications,” said Bob Kerrey, president of New School University in New York
and chair of the commission. “People unable to express themselves clearly in writing limit their opportunities for
professional, salaried employment.” (The College Board, 2004)
On the other end of the spectrum, it is estimated that over forty million Americans are illiterate, or unable to
functionally read or write. If you are reading this book, you may not be part of an at-risk group in need of basic
skill development, but you still may need additional training and practice as you raise your skill level.
An individual with excellent communication skills is an asset to every organization. No matter what career you
plan to pursue, learning to express yourself professionally in speech and in writing will help you get there.
Communication forms a part of your self-concept, and it helps you understand yourself and others, solve problems and learn new things, and build your career.
1. Imagine that you have been hired to make “cold calls” to ask people whether they are familiar with a new restaurant that has just opened in your neighborhood. Write a script for the phone call. Ask a classmate to copresent as you deliver the script orally in class, as if you were making a phone call to the classmate. Discuss your experience with the rest of the class.
2. Imagine you have been assigned the task of creating a job description. Identify a job, locate at least two sample job descriptions, and create one. Please present the job description to the class and note to what degree communication skills play a role in the tasks or duties you have included.
The College Board. (2004, September). Writing skills necessary for employment, says big business: Writing can
be a ticket to professional jobs, says blue-ribbon group. Retrieved from http://www.writingcommission.org/pr/
National Association of Colleges and Employers. (2009). Frequently asked questions. Retrieved from
National Commission on Writing for America’s Families, Schools, and Colleges. (2004, September). Writing:
A Ticket to Work…Or a Ticket Out, A Survey of Business Leaders. Retrieved from
Pearson, J., & Nelson, P. (2000). An introduction to human communication: understanding and sharing (p. 6).
Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill.
1.2 What Is Communication?
1. Define communication and describe communication as a process.
2. Identify and describe the eight essential components of communication.
3. Identify and describe two models of communication.
Many theories have been proposed to describe, predict, and understand the behaviors and phenomena of which
communication consists. When it comes to communicating in business, we are often less interested in theory than
in making sure our communications generate the desired results. But in order to achieve results, it can be valuable
to understand what communication is and how it works.
Defining CommunicationDefining Communication
The root of the word “communication” in Latin is communicare, which means to share, or to make common
(Weekley, 1967). Communication is defined as the process of understanding and sharing meaning (Pearson &
At the center of our study of communication is the relationship that involves interaction between participants.
This definition serves us well with its emphasis on the process, which we’ll examine in depth across this text, of
coming to understand and share another’s point of view effectively.
The first key word in this definition is process. A process is a dynamic activity that is hard to describe because it
changes (Pearson & Nelson, 2000). Imagine you are alone in your kitchen thinking. Someone you know (say, your
mother) enters the kitchen and you talk briefly. What has changed? Now, imagine that your mother is joined by
someone else, someone you haven’t met before—and this stranger listens intently as you speak, almost as if you
were giving a speech. What has changed? Your perspective might change, and you might watch your words more
closely. The feedback or response from your mother and the stranger (who are, in essence, your audience) may
cause you to reevaluate what you are saying. When we interact, all these factors—and many more—influence the
process of communication.
The second key word is understanding: “To understand is to perceive, to interpret, and to relate our perception and
interpretation to what we already know.” (McLean, 2003) If a friend tells you a story about falling off a bike, what
image comes to mind? Now your friend points out the window and you see a motorcycle lying on the ground.
Understanding the words and the concepts or objects they refer to is an important part of the communication
Next comes the word sharing. Sharing means doing something together with one or more people. You may share
a joint activity, as when you share in compiling a report; or you may benefit jointly from a resource, as when
you and several coworkers share a pizza. In communication, sharing occurs when you convey thoughts, feelings,
ideas, or insights to others. You can also share with yourself (a process called intrapersonal communication) when
you bring ideas to consciousness, ponder how you feel about something, or figure out the solution to a problem
and have a classic “Aha!” moment when something becomes clear.
Finally, meaning is what we share through communication. The word “bike” represents both a bicycle and a short
name for a motorcycle. By looking at the context the word is used in and by asking questions, we can discover the
shared meaning of the word and understand the message.
Eight Essential Components of CommunicationEight Essential Components of Communication
In order to better understand the communication process, we can break it down into a series of eight esse
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