Book Title
M: Business Communication 3rd Edition

978-0073403229 Chapter 1 Teaching Suggestions

April 5, 2019
Part II: Chapter-by-Chapter Lecture Notes &
Chapter 1: Communicating in the Workplace
Teaching Suggestions
Much of the information you will cover in the rst meeting is routine—introduction of yourself, office
hours, course requirements, operating policies, and other business. In addition, you will probably want
to introduce the subject ma!er of the course. Chapter 1 contains such an introduction, so you may want
to start by summarizing its contents and adding illustrations from your knowledge and experience. Your
overall goals should be to convince the students that business communication is important in business
and to their personal advancement in business; to alert them to current challenges facing business
communicators; to convey basic facts about the business-communication environment; and to bring out
that business communication, as a problem-solving activity, requires analysis, creativity, and judgment
(there are no magic formulas).
If you want to add some interest to this rst meeting, try assigning a message to be wri!en in class (but
not for a grade). Make the problem a difficult one—a refusal or other bad-news situation requiring
tac,ul handling. Without instructions on such problems, most of the students will write messages that
are .awed. Save these messages until you cover this problem in the course and then give the messages
back. When the students see their early writing specimens and compare them with their current work,
they’ll see the progress they have made. Also, the exercise is good for a few laughs, especially if you have
some students read their original messages aloud to the class.
Another idea is to present a sample message (perhaps one from a real business) and, going over each
part in detail, discuss the many decisions that went into the writing of the message. For example, the
writer had to decide rst even whether or not to write; then he/she needed to decide what genre (or
form) of message this would be, how formal to make it, how to address the reader, what to say, how to
organize the contents, where to put the paragraph breaks, which wording would be best in each
place . . . and so on. This exercise reinforces the key point that good business communication is good
decision-making—as well as the point that preparing any message of importance will require time, care,
and revision.
Still another possibility is the “message makeover” exercise. Present a poorly wri!en message from a
real organization, with identifying details removed. A negative message is often the most relatable and
entertaining to students. (A popular choice is a memo announcing layo9s.) This also gives you the
opportunity to discuss the importance of choosing the correct medium for the message. Ask students
what problems they nd with the tone, writing style, and information included and how they would
improve these. Then present a well-wri!en revision, explaining that this is the kind of writing they’ll
learn how to do in this course. This exercise helps students become aware of how much they already
know about identifying good versus bad writing, and also how much they stand to learn from the course.