INCO 4008

Strategic Business Communication

Prof. Carmen F. Sierra


Lesson One

Communication Concepts

Communication at Work




  • Understand the importance of communication
  • Explain the elements that make up the communication process.
  • Describe how the five communication principles influence interpersonal relationships.
  • Explain how barriers can interfere with effective communication.
  • Recognize the impact of technology on communication.

 What is communication?


*Go to the discussion board and post your answer.  You can comment on your classmates’ responses.


Turn to Chapter 1 in your textbook, communicating in the Workplace, by Cheesebro, O’Connor and Rios pp. 2-21.


Communication is Important


Why is communication in English important for you?


*Post your answer


The Study of Communication and Your Future Success in the Workforce


As the world continues to develop into a global village, communication is fast becoming the number one skill employers look for most when hiring.  However, it’s not just communication that is important, but communication in English.  Those professionals who want to be successful must learn to use the international language—English and understand how organizations communicate as a whole.  This includes small groups and individuals. 





Most Important Factors in Helping Graduating College Students Obtain Employment

Rank Order                           Factors/Skills Evaluated                                                      

  1. Communication skills have been correlated with career success and increased financial rewards.
  2. Qualities and skills employers most desire in "perfect candidates" focus on how well candidates relate to co-workers and clients, as well as communication skills, teamwork, and interpersonal skills.
  3. A 2007 national survey identified four essential learning outcomes to prepare for 21st   
  1. Oral communication skills were identified as valuable for both      obtaining employment and successful job performance in a national survey      of 1000 human resource managers.
  2. Fortune 500 executives stressed that college students need better      communication skills, as well as the ability to work in teams and with      people from diverse backgrounds.
  3. 104 Silicon Valley employers recommended students receive more      training in both oral & written communication skills, in      self-expression, promoting a positive self-esteem, as well as in using electronic      media (PowerPoint).
  4. 1000 faculty members from various disciplines identified skills in      communicating at the top of the basic competencies for college graduates.
  5. A U.S. Dept. of Labor database analysis, surveying 8600 managers,      representing 52 occupations, concludes people-skills such as leadership      and communication need more emphasis.  
  6. Other Dept. of Labor data regarding future skills indicates that      communication skills are essential to the 21st century workplace.
  7. A 2006 national survey of employers stressed that      for students to succeed and contribute to the global economy, more      emphasis must be placed on communication skills, global issues, critical      thinking and analytical reasoning skills, applied knowledge as science and      technology

century challenges, (supported by many GCC Communication & World Languages Department courses):

  1. Knowledge of Human Cultures & the Physical and Natural World;
  2.  Intellectual & Practical Skills including: inquiry and analysis, critical / creative

thinking, written and oral communication, quantitative literacy, information literacy, teamwork and problem solving;

  1. Personal & Social Responsibility, including civic knowledge and engagement—local and global; intercultural knowledge and competence; ethical reasoning and action, foundations and skills for lifelong learning;
  2. Integrative Learning, including: synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized studies.


Source: The Department of Communication and World Languages,


Communication Process Model


            It is easier to understand the importance of communication than it is to define the term.

Understanding the process of communication can simplify its understanding for successful communication.


The Process of Communication


Regardless of the setting or people involved, all communication depends on the elements of communication.


Sender- The process of communication begins with a sender.  This is the person who transmits a message.


Message- A message can be any signal that triggers a response from a receiver.  Some messages are intentional, while others such as a sigh or a yawn are unintentional.  Consequently, messages may be misinterpreted.  You may be yawning because you stayed up working late the night before, but your employer might think you are bored with his meeting.


Encoding- An intentional message is sent through words or a nonverbal method.  This is called encoding.  The chosen words and channels that the sender chooses to deliver a message will make a great difference in how it is received.  A message delivered in person whether with respect or with curtness, and whether it is delivered in person or in a memo, there will be an enormous difference in its feedback.


Channel- Also called the medium, the channel is the method used for delivering a message.  You can send your message in a letter or a memo.  It can be delivered by hand or sent by postal mail.  The message can be sent electronically via fax or e-mail.  An oral message can be delivered in person, via teleconference, audio-conference, voicemail or over the phone.


Receiver- A person who becomes aware of and gives meaning to a message is the receiver.  Most of the time a message is received as it was intended without any problems.  However, in the turmoil of business, problems do occur.  There is the possibility that the message may be lost in transit, and never received. If the message is oral, the receiver might forget it, and in the worst case scenario, the receiver might misinterpret the message.  There is also the possibility that a bystander, such as the competition might see a copy of a message to a customer.


Decoding- In order for a message to be understood, the receiver must decode it.  Meaning is attached to the words or symbols.  However, there is always the possibility that the receiver will misinterpret the meaning.  That is why messages must be written as clearly as possible.  Still, that does not guarantee that the message will be interpreted correctly.  A suggestion might be mistaken for an order.


Feedback- When a receiver receives a message, a response is expected.  The receiver becomes the sender.  Once the receiver interprets the message and becomes the sender, the message sent is called feedback.  Again feedback can be oral or written communication.  In face-to-face settings people are simultaneously senders and receivers of information. 


Noise- You would think that with enough feedback the mental images of sender and receiver will match.  However, as was mentioned previously this does not always happen, and you have most likely had this experience on many an occasion.  The main reason for this is noise.  Physical noise refers to the external sounds that distract communicators.  One example might be construction that is going on outside the classroom.  Another type of noise is physiological noise.  A person may have a hearing disorder, illness or disability which impedes coherent messages.  When we feel sick, we just can’t concentrate fully and may misinterpret what is being said.  A third type of interference is psychological noise.  Psychological noise interferes within the sender or receiver, so that the message is not understood.  Examples are egotism, defensiveness, hostility, preoccupation, and fear among others.


Context- Communication is influenced by the context in which it occurs.  There are several dimensions of context, including physical, social chronological, and cultural. 


            Communication always takes place in some type of setting.  This is called physical context and can influence the content and quality of interaction.  You can imagine how physical context can influence the quality of interaction when discussing a problem with your boss in different settings, such as the boss’s office, your work area, where there are others listening to the conversation, over lunch at a restaurant, or other setting.


            Social context refers to the nature of the relationship between the communicators, as well as who is present.


            Chronological context refers to the ways in which time influences interaction, such as the time of day—morning, or just before quitting.


            Cultural context includes both the organizational and ethnic and/or national backgrounds
of the persons communicating.  Think about the differences in backgrounds between Euro-Americans and Hispanics or baby boomers and generation X-ers.




















Taken and adapted from Communicating at Work: Principles and Practices for Business and the Professions, 9th Edition, (2006), by Adler, and Elmhorst