Business Communications

A Guide to Credit for Prior Learning

Typical Learning Experiences of Students Earning Lower-Level Credit:

  • Create written communications, lead meetings, and/or handle interpersonal situations in a business setting.
  • Speak or present to audiences of various sizes and/or levels.
  • Attend training in areas such as Effective Writing, Conflict Resolution, Interviewing Skills or Communications in the Workplace.

Typical Learning Experiences of Students Earning Upper-Level Credit:

  • Possess substantial experience in creating written communications, leading meetings and/or handling interpersonal situations in a business setting.
  • Conduct communication training or seminars.
  • Function in a position of responsibility in creating communications for a business. Able to create communications with depth of content and finer attention to style.
  • Possess theoretical understanding that extends beyond the basics of the communication process, including such things as knowledge of interpersonal, group and mass communication; strategies for persuasion; and organizational theory.
  • Able to identify barriers to effective communication, and able to propose strategies for improving communications.

Discussion Topics:

If students are familiar with some (but not necessarily all) of the following topics they may be eligible for lower-level credit in the area of business communications. If students are familiar with advanced questions, they may be eligible for upper-level credit. If knowledge of some of the topics is substantial, the students may consider requesting additional credit in more narrowly defined areas.

Communications Media

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

Subtopic: Oral Communication

  • What are some types of oral communication? What types have you used?
  • Do you use humor? Why or why not? When is it appropriate?
  • When and how do you use handouts in an oral presentation?
  • Identify three to five characteristics of good handouts.

Written Communication

  • What is your writing experience? How often do you write? What types of documents do you write? How long are they?
  • How does an audience analysis fit in writing?
  • Do you use active or passive voice? Why?
  • Explain when to use an addressed letter vs. memo format.
  • How would you structure a persuasive communication?
  • Have you written proposals? What is their purpose? What are some aspects of a good proposal?

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • How have communication forms been affected by recent changes in technology and what further changes do you predict in the future?

Communication Strategies

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

Strategies for Oral Communication

  • Explain some strategies you use in developing your oral communication.
  • What do you do to connect/build rapport with your audience?
  • Discuss how you take into account the aspect of non-verbal communications in your oral presentations.
  • How does your attitude affect the person you are communicating with?
  • What techniques do you use in handling rude callers? Give an example of a successfully handled rude call.
  • What strategies can help you become an effective listener?
  • How can visuals be used to aid your presentation? How can they detract from the message you are trying to get across?

Strategies for Written Communication

  • How do you decide how to approach a written assignment?
  • What are some special strategies that have been developed with the use of technology, especially for electronic mail?
  • Provide an example of an effective opening in a general business letter, a cover letter to a resume, a report and a proposal.
  • What considerations do you make when using visuals in written material?

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Evaluate the communication strategies used most frequently in your organization to communicate everyday, operational-type of information. Are these the most effective strategies to use, given the level of formality and communication style that prevail?
  • How do you overcome information overload in work situations?
  • Describe the process of reflective listening and how it can help increase the effectiveness of interpersonal communication.

Communication Processes

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Given a sample communication situation, what mode of communication would you use and why?
  • Identify how one could elicit feedback if the communication does not occur in a face-to-face meeting.
  • What steps can be taken to defuse a conflict situation?

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • Describe your role in facilitating decision-making communication. How do you elicit views from quiet participants? Reluctant participants?
  • When creating a formal communication that needs input from coworkers, how do you determine when that input is “enough”?

Communication Theory

Facts, definitions, concepts (lower-level):

  • Define communication and what happens during a communication.
  • Define feedback and explain its importance.
  • Explain ways in which communication can flow in an organization.
  • Identify some communication barriers that can occur 1) on a personal level and 2) on an organizational level.

Relationships, knowledge of discipline, methodologies (upper-level):

  • How does a person’s culture influence his/her personal relationship and communication styles?
  • Analyze a workplace communication that was not effective, applying what you know of how persons and groups function.
  • Identify, describe and provide examples of the variables that can affect small group communication. When facilitating a meeting, how can one control these variables?
  • Given a message to communicate, explain how you would approach the communication in your organization and why you make certain communication choices.
  • Analyze the effectiveness of a sample persuasive communication in terms of type of data, awareness of human needs, audience and logic of argument.

Business Communications Summary Form click here