Communication and Media Studies 416

COMS 416: Business and Professional Communication

Prerequisites: COMS 130 and COMS 230 or permission of instructor

Credit Hours: (3)

This course is designed to provide for students advanced preparation in business and professional communication skills. Emphasis is placed on practical experience in designing and implementing message strategies. Subjects covered include interviewing, formal informative and persuasive presentations by individuals and groups, written message construction, interpersonal communication in the workplace, giving and receiving criticism, and presentation of oneself in professional/social settings.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

I. Defining business and professional communication

            A. Communication models
            B. Organizational communication models
            C. Communication skills, e.g., verbal, nonverbal, perception, listening
            D. The scope of the term “presentations,” i.e., as presentation of oneself in a variety of communication contexts

II. Interviewing

            A. Types of interviews
            B. Responsibilities of the interviewee
            C. Responsibilities of the interviewer
            D. Communication format in interviews
            E. Mock interviews

III. Formal presentations

            A. Formulating purposes and goals
            B. Audience Analysis
            C. Conducting research for the presentation
            D. Outlining the presentation
            E. Organization of the presentation
            F. Delivery skills
            G. Appropriate strategies for use of visual aids and technology
            H. Informative strategies
            I. Persuasive strategies
            J. Situational concerns, e.g., introducing speakers, answering audience questions

IV. Written forms of communication

            A. Resume construction for the communication professional
            B. Communication reports
            C. Adapting specific types of messages to written forms

V. Communication in groups

            A. Definitions and characteristics of group communication
            B. Working in teams and problem-solving
            C. Conducting group meetings
            D. Making group/team presentations

VI. Interpersonal communication in the workplace

            A. Communication with co-workers
            B. Communication and sexual harassment
            C. Managing conflict and handling criticism
            D. Presentation of oneself in social/professional settings


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course will begin by focusing on presentation of oneself in the context of the interview. Various types of interviews, including and emphasizing the employment interview, will be covered. The course will also focus on presentation of oneself in the formal speaking context, e.g., considerations of audience analysis, research, organization, delivery, use of visual aids and technology, handling questions from the audience. Students will demonstrate their understanding of those concepts by making several presentations. Attention will be focused on presentation of oneself in writing and focus on style, organization, and format of a variety of written forms, e.g., resumes for the communication professional and communication reports. The setting of the group presentation will include working in teams, leading meetings, and making formal team presentations. Finally, the course will concentrate on interpersonal communication concerns in business and professional settings, e.g., interpersonal relationships in the workplace, managing conflict, giving and taking criticism, listening, sexual harassment, and presenting oneself in social situations related to the workplace.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

At the conclusion of the course, students will

1. demonstrate an understanding of and skill in interviewing processes
2. demonstrate an understanding of and skill in making a variety of formal presentations
3. demonstrate an understanding of and skill in working in and leading work groups
4. demonstrate an understanding of and skill in participating in formal group presentations
5. demonstrate an understanding of and skill in written forms of communication for the communication professional
6. demonstrate an understanding of and skill in interpersonal, workplace communication


Assessment Measures

Students will be assessed using a variety of measures. Examinations, formal, graded assignments (e.g., interviews, informative presentations, persuasive presentations, group presentations, written message analysis).


Other course information



Bill Kennan, Chair September 2001