First Day Group Exercise: How to Succeed in Class (and the Workplace)

[Instructors: This task encourages buy-in to your business communication course and is designed to be used early in the semester. Assign groups of 4-5 and ask teams to discuss the questions then work individually to create their personal goals. Students can create presentations or e-mail their responses individually or as groups.]

Success in this class and shares common traits with workplace success. The questions below will help you to define those traits. For this task, you and your classmates will discuss the prompts and write responses or present your findings, as directed by your instructor. If you cannot respond to some questions, search for answers from reputable Internet sources.


    1. What are five things you can do to be successful in your business communication course?
    2. What skills do you expect to learn in your business communication course? Consult your course syllabus and/or textbook for hints.
    3. How do you think the skills you learn in class will help you in the workplace?
    4. Why is effective communication one of the most desired skills employers require?
    5. Think about your personal learning style and identify 3-5 ways you can harness it over the course of the semester. Then devise strategies to help you attain your goals.

Possible responses

  1. Attend class, complete course readings, ask questions, get help when needed, organize time well, attend office hours, find a study buddy, etc.
  2. Write workplace documents, create job search materials, design presentations, learn successful workplace behaviors, etc.
  3. Good communicators are more valuable to employers; effective communicators have more chances for advancement; proficiency as a communicator makes employees more confident, etc.
  4. Information technology, mobile devices, and social media have dramatically changed the workplace, requiring today’s workforce to communicate more, not less. In a hyperconnected world, writing matters more than ever. Digital media require a new kind of literacy, and workers’ skills are always on display.
  5. Student responses will vary.

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