Module 01 - Business Communication, Management, and Success
Teaching Tip: Have your students interview a friend or relative in the business
world about how much writing he or she does on the job. In particular, the student
should ask if the amount and type of writing is what that person expected to do. Tell
the student to make a list of documents and, if possible, writing examples. Have
students spend 10-15 minutes sharing their findings with the class.
Claim 4: I’ll just pick up the phone.
Reality: Important phone calls require follow-up letters, memos, or e-mail messages. People in
organizations put things in writing to make themselves visible, to create a record, to convey
complex data, to make things convenient for the reader, and so forth.
Teaching Tip: Have your students discuss what form of communication seems more
“lasting” to them—phone or written correspondence. Which would they prefer for
messages they consider important? Why?
Don’t I know enough about communication? LO 1-2
Business communication differs from other school writing.
Some students struggle to transition from what they’ve learned in previous writing courses,
usually composition courses, to business communication. And because it’s likely they’ve taken
several composition courses prior to business communication, they naturally want to apply
composition strategies to your course.
Concepts may seem at odds with one another, even contradictory. For instance, while they were
rewarded for broad, expressive writing in composition, business communication privileges
brevity and less formal language. Argumentation may be less important than objectivity,
precision, and completeness.
Students who apply other disciplines’ strategies indiscriminately often produce business
documents that are wordy, confrontational, inappropriate in tone, or incorrect in format. Help
them understand that all good writing shares some features—organization, detail, reason, and so
forth—but business communication has expectations that are unique.
Teaching Tip: Novice writers often ignore distinctions between different disciplines
of writing, such as journalism, composition, fiction, business communication, etc.
Draw an analogy between these and disparate disciplines of mathematics—algebra,
geometry, and calculus—or science—biology, physics, and chemistry. Explain that
just as arithmetic forms the foundation of mathematical disciplines, so does the
English language form the foundation of writing disciplines in the U.S. Differences
make each discipline distinct, however, as distinct as in mathematics and science.
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