Business Communications 1B: Listen, Speak, & Write in the Workplace
Legal Administrative Assistant
Career Pathway Course Units
Unit 1: Writing in the Business World
Through your school assignments, you’ve already developed a solid base in written communication. Just think of all the different kinds of writing you’ve done. You’ve probably had experience creating such documents as research reports, book reports, lab reports, poster presentations, and essays. Through your extracurricular activities, you may also have created marketing communication products such as flyers, brochures, posters, and social media posts. Now you’ll take your skills to the next level by mastering the art of writing in a business context, where you must orient everything you produce to your audience and your goals. Writing in the business world also requires you to use various communication channels, adapt to emerging technologies, and write as part of a team.
Unit 2: Research Strategies
You might think that the need for research dwindles once you graduate and leave the school library behind. However, research fuels many business activities. Various kinds of research enable businesses to build knowledge in specific areas and make informed decisions. Consequently, research forms the foundation of various kinds of business writing, such as reports, blogs, and business plans. Sharpening your ability to locate relevant information, share it with others, and document it will allow you to contribute to some of the most significant kinds of business communication.
Unit 3: Building Blocks of Effective Documents
Because business readers are so pressed for time, workplace documents must present information and ideas as concisely and clearly as possible. Clarity comes not just from the quality of ideas and the way they’re expressed but also from the way the writer arranges their thoughts. An effective business document follows a logical structure—it lays out content in a way that’s easy for readers to navigate and enables them to understand how sections, paragraphs, and sentences relate to each other. When a business document makes recommendations, it does so by presenting a compelling argument backed up by credible evidence.
Unit 4: Mastering the Writing Process
One of the first writing lessons you’ll learn on the job is that writing is an iterative process. It usually involves repeating several steps, sometimes more than once. In the workplace, documents often go through multiple drafts before they’re ready to be distributed to their intended audience. One of the keys to your success, then, will be mastering the different phases of the writing process, some of which happen before you even pick up a pen or sit down at a keyboard. You’ll also need to manage your time to accommodate all the stages of writing, from generating ideas through to final polishing.
Unit 5: Crafting Different Business Genres
In school, writing takes a limited number of predictable forms. In an English class, you can expect to write essays and book reports, and in a science class, you’ll likely write lab reports. In the business world, however, the kinds of writing you’ll be called upon to create will include types of documents and messages you may never even have heard of before. To make things even more complicated, the kinds and forms of writing can vary from organization to organization. To succeed as a business writer, you must learn to recognize and reproduce the various forms of writing you encounter, using advanced features of word processing software.
Unit 6: Avoiding Grammar Glitches
Many people think of grammar as a collection of “rules,” the dos and don’ts we must obey in order to write correctly. However, an accurate definition is much broader than that. Grammar consists of the customs and principles that shape language use. These aren’t rules so much as conventions—habits of socially acceptable writing that can vary from one generation to another and one culture to another. Mastering these conventions requires learning the functions of different kinds of words and the ways they work together to express ideas.
Unit 7: Proper Punctuation & Mechanics
When you talk, you help others understand what you’re saying by inserting pauses and changing the pitch of your voice. When you write, punctuation plays a similar guiding function. Using punctuation marks correctly is part of complying with the mechanics of writing—conventions beyond grammar that ensure your meaning gets understood. Other examples of writing mechanics include spelling, capitalization, quotation marks, apostrophes, and the use of numerals. Understanding and applying the conventions of writing mechanics is essential to clear and polished business communication.