BUSINESS 32, Business Communications
Prerequisite(s): BUS 31 or ENGL 1
I. Catalog Description

This course surveys the principles and techniques of business communication as a tool for business decision making. Methods of investigating, organizing and presenting business data and ideas are covered. Ethical and legal implications as well as critical thinking techniques are emphasized. Focus is on effective oral and written communications.

II. Examples of Appropriate Text or Other Required Reading: 

Business Communication: Process and Product, 8th, Mary Ellen Guffey, Thomson/South-Western © 2014, ISBN: 0

III. Course Objectives
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • ​Identify the role and process of communication in all its forms as a means of achieving organizational objectives.
  • Define communication and explain communication barriers.
  • Apply correct written communication skills (grammar, spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, etc.) in the composition of letters, memos, reports and exercises.
  • Identify critical thinking skills, and use these skills to solve communication problems typical in business settings.
  • Use a clear, complete, concise, correct and courteous style of writing for business purposes.
  • Apply proper tone to business communications by emphasizing the reader’s needs, by selecting effective wording, and by using an effective tone.
  • Avoid trite, out-of-date, insensitive, and unusual expressions as a means of achieving a conversational style of writing.
  • Demonstrate awareness of and ability to avoid potential communication-related problems by business professionals in the areas of diversity, nonverbal communication, and listening skills.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the ethical and legal issues commonly faced by business professionals in business communication situations.
  • Write and format a formal analytical research report that applies principles of sound writing and reasoning and uses secondary and primary information sources.
  • Demonstrate techniques for researching (using both electronic and print data bases), analyzing organizing, documenting, interpreting, supporting and illustrating qualitative and quantitative information and ideas.
  • Evaluate and rewrite short business reports and proposals.
  • Compose and format business letters, memorandums and e-mails using critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Evaluate problems, situations and targeted audiences to determine when to use a direct; indirect or persuasive strategy and to determine how best to justify and support arguments
  • Evaluate and rewrite business letters and memorandums.
  • Demonstrate the ability to plan and deliver effective individual and collaborative oral business presentations tied to the needs of the intended audiences.
  • Demonstrate the ability to present a properly supported viewpoint by participating actively in class and group discussions and activities.

IV. Methods of Presentation:

Lecture and Discussion , Other (Specify)
Other Methods: Group projects and presentations, reading assignments, PowerPoint presentations, videos.

V. Course Content
% of course Topic
10% Intercultural communication, teamwork, listening, nonverbal communication
55% Communication strategies as implemented in various letters, memorandums email, and short answer exercises; research and visual communication
25% Information and analytical business reports
10% Oral Communication – one or two oral business presentations (one must be individual, one may be a team presentation), regular participation in classroom discussions
100% Total
VI. Methods of Evaluation: (Actual point distribution will vary from instructor to instructor but approximate values are shown.)
Percentage Evaluation Method
20 % Research Projects - Informational and Analytical Research Reports and Related Assignments
10 % Oral Presentation - Oral Presentation
40 % Homework - Letters, Memorandums, e-mails, etc.
30 % Written assignments - Midterms, Final Exam and Quizzes
100 % Total
VII. Sample Assignments:
Sample Assignment 1: Formal Analytical Report

The following are topic options for your Formal Analytical Report. Both require critical thinking in researching, analyzing and organizing information, drawing conclusions and making recommendations.

What is the Best Company to Work For in a Particular Industry?

Select two or three Fortune 500 companies that are from the same industry. Research them to determine which one would be the best employment choice at this time. For the full list of Fortune 500 companies see:

What is the Best Business School in California?

You will conduct research to determine the best undergraduate or graduate business school in California. Select two or three California schools to compare and research information such as current ranking, cost, size, reputation, quality of faculty, ability to connect students with jobs, financial aid, leading-edge academic programs, accessibility, etc.

Your 12-16 page report will include the following components:

Number of pages:

Title page 1

Memo of Transmittal 1

Table of Contents and List of Figures 1

Executive Summary 1

Introduction 1 - 2

Body of the Report 4-5

Conclusions and Recommendations  1

Works Cited page 1

Appendix 1-3
Sample Assignment 2: Résumé and Cover Letter

Find an ad for a job that is related to your skills or interests. Sources for jobs include your campus career center, the employment section of your local newspaper, or employment-related websites. Develop a customized résumé in chronological or functional format and develop a persuasive cover letter related to this job. Note that this assignment includes three components that should be stapled together in this order:

    cover letter
    copy of a related job ad or job description 

VIII. Student Learning Outcomes
Write common business messages such as letters, memos, and e-mails that are clear, complete, concise, courteous, considerate, and correct.