Business Communications (Grade 11)

by Elizabeth Phillips

This concentrator-level course in the International Business Pathway focuses on the study and application of the principles of ethical and effective business communication. This first course in the pathway has an emphasis on planning, organizing, composing and revising business documents and presentations using word processing software for written documents, and presentations graphics software to create and deliver professional oral reports. Stress is placed on development of writing fluency, professional tone and use of proper grammar in routine business communications including: letters, memoranda, business reports (both written and oral), and e-mail. Business research and the job application process is also introduced. Successful completion of this course leads into the International Business course and is the first course toward Chaffey College's International Business Certificate which opens careers in International Business, Trade, Aviation, Transportation, Management, Customer Service, Communication, and more.

Program Information
Course Certification Elements
Course Standards
California English Common Core Standards (19)
California's 2013 CTE Standards (12)
Course Competencies / Outcomes

2.0 Communications

Acquire and accurately use Business and Finance sector terminology and protocols at the career and college readiness level for communicating effectively in oral, written, and multimedia formats.
2.1 Recognize the elements of communication using a sender–receiver model.
2.2 Identify barriers to accurate and appropriate communication.
2.3 Interpret verbal and nonverbal communications and respond appropriately.
2.4 Demonstrate elements of written and electronic communication such as accurate spelling,
grammar, and format.
2.5 Communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
2.6 Advocate and practice safe, legal, and responsible use of digital media information and communications technologies. 

3.0 Career Planning and Management
Integrate multiple sources of career information from diverse formats to make informed career decisions, solve problems, and manage personal career plans. 
3.1 Identify personal interests, aptitudes, information, and skills necessary for informed career decision making.
3.2 Evaluate personal character traits such as trust, respect, and responsibility and understand the impact they can have on career success.
3.3 Explore how information and communication technologies are used in career planning and decision making.
3.8 Understand how digital media are used by potential employers and post-secondary agencies to evaluate candidates.

4.0 Technology
Use existing and emerging technology to investigate, research, and produce products and services, including new information, as required in the Business and Finance sector workplace environment.

4.1 Use electronic reference materials to gather information and produce products and services.
4.2 Employ Web-based communications responsibly and effectively to explore complex systems and issues.
4.3 Use information and communication technologies to synthesize, summarize, compare, and contrast information from multiple sources.
4.6 Assess the value of various information and communication technologies to interact with constituent populations as part of a search of the current literature or in relation to the information task.

5.0 Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
Conduct short, as well as more sustained, research to create alternative solutions to answer a question or solve a problem unique to the Business and Finance sector using critical and creative thinking, logical reasoning, analysis, inquiry, and problem-solving techniques. 
5.1 Identify and ask significant questions that clarify various points of view to solve problems.
5.2 Solve predictable and unpredictable work-related problems using various types of reasoning (inductive, deductive) as appropriate.
5.3 Use systems thinking to analyze how various components interact with each other to produce outcomes in a complex work environment.
5.4 Interpret information and draw conclusions, based on the best analysis, to make informed decisions.

9.0 Leadership and Teamwork
Work with peers to promote divergent and creative perspectives, effective leadership, group dynamics, team and individual decision making, benefits of workforce diversity, and conflict resolution as practiced in the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) career technical student organization. 
9.1 Define leadership and identify the responsibilities, competencies, and behaviors of successful leaders.
9.2 Identify the characteristics of successful teams, including leadership, cooperation, collaboration, and effective decision-making skills as applied in groups, teams, and career technical student organization activities.
9.3 Understand the characteristics and benefits of teamwork, leadership, and citizenship in the school, community, and workplace setting.

9.5 Understand that the modern world is an international community and requires an expanded global view.
9.6 Respect individual and cultural differences and recognize the importance of diversity in the workplace.
9.7 Participate in interactive teamwork to solve real Business and Finance sector issues and problems.

10.0 Technical Knowledge and Skills
Apply essential technical knowledge and skills common to all pathways in the Business and Finance sector, following procedures when carrying out experiments or performing technical tasks. 
10.8 Integrate the techniques and strategies used to foster positive, ongoing relationships with customers, suppliers, investors, and community

11.0 Demonstration and Application
Demonstrate and apply the knowledge and skills contained in the Business and Finance anchor standards, pathway standards, and performance indicators in classroom, laboratory, and workplace settings, and through the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) career technical student organization.

11.1 Utilize work-based/workplace learning experiences to demonstrate and expand upon knowledge and skills gained during classroom instruction and laboratory practices specific to the Business and Finance sector program of study.
11.2 Demonstrate proficiency in a career technical pathway that leads to certification, licensure, and/or continued learning at the postsecondary level.
11.3 Demonstrate entrepreneurship skills and knowledge of self-employment options and
innovative ventures.
11.4 Employ entrepreneurial practices and behaviors appropriate to Business and Finance sector opportunities.
11.5 Create a portfolio, or similar collection of work, that offers evidence through assessment and evaluation of skills and knowledge competency as contained in the anchor standards, pathway standards, and performance indicators.


Course Work Based Learning Activities
  • Industry guest speakers
  • Demonstrations with experts
  • Simulations with classmates
Course Materials
  • Guffey, Mary Ellen & Dana Loewy. Essentials of Business Communication.                  

ISBN# 9781285858913

Course Units (180 hour course)

Unit 1: Intro to Business Communication

Unit Length (Hours): 30

Unit Description:

In this unit, students are introduced to the main components of Business Communication:

  • Achieving Effective Communication: Practicing business etiquette, critically evaluating messages, and working to reduce barriers will create more effective communication in the workplace. 
  • Impact of Technology on Business Communication: All workplaces are digital workplaces, so an understanding of technology will always keep you communicating effectively.
  • Ethical Issues Related to Business Communication: Understanding and applying principles of ethical communication enable you to speak and write with honesty and integrity.
  • Working in Teams: How well you perform on a team can be improved by your understanding of team dynamics.
  • Leading and Participating in Meetings: The best meetings are the ones that are necessary, succinct, and productive.
  • Listening: Listening, both with your ears and your eyes, is critical to maintaining effective communication.
  • Nonverbal Communication: What you say with your expressions, your gestures, and your postures can be just as potent as words.
  • Intercultural Communication: Considering cultural differences can reduce communication barriers and improve communication in the workplace.
  • Overcoming Cultural Differences: Some cultures rely more upon words to convey meaning, while other are more mindful of nonverbal and environmental signals.
  • Technology as an Aid to Intercultural Communication: Technologies such as translation and research tools are important aids to effective intercultural communication.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to do the following:

Explain how effective communication is achieved
List communication barriers
Examine tools used for effective business communication
Describe the characteristics of effective teams
Recognize elements of a successful business meeting
Describe the listening process
Recognize barriers to effective communication
Identify categories of nonverbal communication
Discuss the challenges of communicating across cultures
Discuss intercultural sensitivity
Identify communication approaches to communicating across cultures
Describe how language barriers can be overcome

Unit Assessment

Students will participate in the Global Edge simulation. This will demonstrate their strengths and areas for growth in the unit competencies. 

Global Edge Simulation

1. A Visit with the Amberana

2. A Trip to Mintana

3. Journey to the Sharahad

Unit 2 Planning Business Messages

Unit Length (Hours): 30

Unit Description:

Students read, review, write, and evaluate Business Messages. Students will learn the three steps of planning and writing Business Messages:

  1. First Step: Planning: To plan for writing, determine your audience and purpose, gather and organize information, and select a medium.
  2. Second Step: Writing: Writing involves analyzing your audience, organizing your contents, and composing a first draft.
  3. Third Step: Completing: Revising, producing, proofreading, and distributing your message are critical to finishing your message.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to do the following:

Develop a written message using the steps in the writing process
Write an effective business message
Explain how a business message can be sent successfully electronically
Formulate a business message using successful design characteristics

Unit Assessment

Students will use the material learned from the text and real life examples to create their own business message(s). This will demonstrate their strengths and areas for growth in the unit competencies. 

Creation of a Business Message 

Unit 3 Communicating Routine Education

Unit Length (Hours): 30

Unit Description:

Students will view, review, practice, and evaluate various forms of business communications: 

  • Routine Requests: To write effective routine requests, follow the steps of the writing process and include an opening, a body, and a close.
  • Creating Routine Replies: When replying to a message from someone else, make sure to reference the message to which it's responding.
  • Good News and Informative Messages: Establish a neutral or upbeat tone for goodwill, good-news, and news release communications that do not require a response.
  • Communicating Bad-News Messages: Decide whether the gravity of the bad news warrants that it be delivered directly or indirectly.
  • Types of Negative Messages: Some messages are the type where your company has to say now, or refuse a claim.
  • Three-Step Process for Writing Persuasive Messages: When composing persuasive messages, consider your audience's wants, needs, and motivations and their concerns and objections.
  • Developing Persuasive Business Messages: Use the AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model to grab the reader's attention, develop interest, create desire, and inspire action.
  • Develop Marketing and Sales Messages: Improve your sales and marketing messages by customizing the AIDA model to your audience's needs and wants. 

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to do the following:

Produce a routine business message
Develop a response to a business message
Discuss approaches for conveying positive messages
Discuss approaches for conveying bad news
Evaluate methods used to send bad news messages
Describe the types of bad news messages
Write an effective bad news message
Describe methods used to send persuasive messages
Identify strategies for developing a persuasive business message
Apply effective writing skills in producing a persuasive message

Unit Assessment

Deliver an effective Negative News or Persuasive Message

Unit 4 Introduction to Business Report and Proposals

Unit Length (Hours): 30

Unit Description:

Students will build upon the three step process learned in Unit 2 for Writing Reports and Proposals. Planning a report includes clarifying the problem, defining he purpose, developing an audience profile, and creating a work plan. Students will collaborate in collecting research and writing various proposals and reports.

Performing Research: Research must reveal all of the information necessary for your report, using multiple sources that corroborate one another.

Types of Reports and Proposals: Choosing the correct type of report or proposal to use in a business situation will increase the likelihood of a positive outcome.

Drafting Business Reports and Proposals: An introduction compels your reader to follow your report to the end, by introducing the subject in a broader context.

Technology and Visuals in Reports and Proposals: Incorporate high quality multimedia elements into your presentation to make it more appealing and effective.

Completing a Report or Proposal: Companies use formal reports and proposals to guide their spending funding, and product decisions, and to achieve organizational goals. 

Formal Report Components: A formal report includes prefatory parts, the text of the report, and specific supplementary parts.

Formal Proposal Components: A formal proposal includes man of the same parts as a formal report, though it adds an important formal letter.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to do the following:

Identify types of business reports and proposals
Demonstrate the ability to conduct and analyze research
Identify parts of a business report or proposal
Produce a business report
Develop effective visual aids for a business proposal
Critique a formal report
Identify parts of a formal report
Explain the purpose of a formal proposal

Unit Assessment

Students will participate in a mock Business Meeting and complete a series of tasks in order to show their strengths and areas of growth in the unit competencies.

Midterm: Business Meeting

Unit 5 Oral Presentation Skills

Unit Length (Hours): 20

Unit Description:

Students will transfer their knowledge from Unit 2 in developing a three step process and expand upon that in creating a The Three Step Process for Oral Presentations. Oral presentations involve a three step process of analyzing the situation, selecting the best delivery methods, and organizing the information.

  • Composing Your Presentation: Compose your presentation with an interesting introduction, an attention holding body, and a compelling close.
  • Developing Effective Visuals: Visual elements should have readable content with legible text, effective graphics, careful color selection, and appropriate backgrounds. 
  • Completing your presentation: Complete your presentation by finalizing your slides, printing support media, and practicing your delivery.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to do the following:

Demonstrate knowledge regarding audience awareness
Write an oral presentation
Develop appropriate visual aids for an oral presentation 

Unit Assessment

To show proficiency in this unit, students will give oral presentations to the class on a business topic of their choice (to be approved by the instructor) using the elements discussed and studied in this unit. Students will be evaluated by peers and the instructor using a predetermined rubric to identify each students strengths and areas of growth. 

Students will do an Oral Presentation 

Unit 6 Professionalism at Work: Business Etiquette, Ethics, Teamwork, and Meeting

(waiting on textbook)

Unit Length (Hours): 20

Unit Description:

In this unit, students will learn traits and skills that define professional behavior to foster positive workplace relations. They will also watch and practice how to effectively communicate face to face and on the telephone. Face-to-face conversation allows speakers to be more persuasive and expressive, and less likely to be misunderstood. Students will view, participate, plan, and model productive meetings. 

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Understand professionalism, start developing business etiquette skills, and build an ethical mind-set—important qualities digital-age employers seek. 

Use your voice as a communication tool, master face-to-face workplace interaction, foster positive relations on the job, and accept as well as provide constructive criticism gracefully.

Practice professional telephone skills and polish your voice mail etiquette. 

Understand the importance of teamwork in today’s digital-era workplace, and explain how you can contribute positively to team performance.

Discuss effective practices and technologies for planning and participating in productive face-to-face meetings and virtual meetings. 

Unit Assessment

Students will participate in a workplace evaluation. In this evaluation, students will show their level of competence in skills learned throughout this unit. 

Unit 7 Resume Writing

Unit Length (Hours): 20

Unit Description:

In this unit, students will prepare for their final exam, completing an interview. They will prepare for this in three steps:

  • The Workplace and Adapting to the Job Market: Employers today value high-level job skills, diverse experiences, adaptability, and an understanding of international business practices. 
  • Preparing Resumes and Application Letters: Resumes and application letters present an opportunity to impress an employer and request an interview.
  • Interviewing: An interview is where you make the case for why you are the perfect and only fit for the job.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

At the end of this lesson, students will be able to do the following:

Explain the importance and elements of appropriate follow-up messages
Create a résumé
Write an application letter
Discuss types of interviews
Explain the importance and elements of appropriate follow-up messages
Create samples of appropriate follow-up messages

Unit Assessment

See Course Summative Assessment for more information.

Final ExamResume & Cover Letter, Mock Interview

Course Summative Assessment

Students will have an opportunity to actively apply and demonstrate a majority of the skills and competencies through the completion of an authentic, Mock Interview culminating activity. The Mock Interview will include both peers and industry experts. Both groups will use a predetermined rubric to determine each students' strengths and areas for growth as they present a resume, cover letter, and participate in a mock interview for a career of their choice.