Students often complain that some of their college courses are either too arcane or theoretical to be relevant or useful. However, we business communication instructors face no such negativity and with a few strategic moves can engage students by emphasizing the enduring usefulness of the skills our discipline teaches.
As the new semester nears, the points below will show your students that Business Communication just may be the most important class they take during college.
Stress the breadth of business communication’s reach. Whatever a student’s major, that field will demand competent written and oral communication. Engineers must explain their ideas to non-engineers; economists need to write coherent reports; biologists and other science-related fields routinely apply for grants and communicate with colleagues. Every graduate entering the workforce must possess strong written and oral communication skills. Enter buscom!
Explain the variety of genres taught in the business communication class. Job application letters, résumés, short and long reports, routine communication via text, e-mail, or IM—business communication encompasses many genres that students need to master, making them valuable hires to for-profit organizations or NGOs.
Discuss daily business-related news to show the pervasiveness of the field. The news is full of stories about business—most media have a specific business section. By showing students that business is an integral part of the world, you can further emphasize the importance of buscom class course material.
Relate course assignments to actual on-the-job activities. As you go through the syllabus, show students that course assignments are based on real-world scenarios. Up-to-date textbooks that are well-researched and authoritative (e.g., Guffey/Loewy-authored texts) can help instructors pave the way to using actual business scenarios that further cement the relevance of business communication.
Inform students about celebrity CEOs known for their communication style. Everyone loves a star, and business has its fair share of well-known communicators. Steve Jobs may have driven his staff to their limits, but he had no peer as a communicator of his vision for Apple. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, is known for his written messages to his staff, even penning his own quarterly shareholder reports. These business stars can inspire students.
Distribute testimonials from former students. Testimonials from former students help current students understand what their peers took away from their business communication course.
Share personal experience in the “real world.” Nothing hits home with students like real-life experience. If you have worked or currently work outside of academia, your experiences of using writing skills will capture students’ interest and demonstrate that you speak from experience rather than theory.
One final tip for starting off your course right: Once students have seen the importance of their new course, have them write what they currently know about business communication and what they hope to learn. Ask students to write goals for the semester, and have them return to these goals periodically to remind them why they are studying effective business communication.