. Your analysis should contain at least three scholarly references each that pertain directly to the incident (can be taken from class materials). Your analysis should be completed as formal written report in APA format. You can take the format of an executive briefing or a training session. The analysis should be complete and supported by literature, not an opinion piece. You are being evaluated on your ability to communicate a statement and support it with facts, or in other words, create an argument.
Power distance is the extent to which a group of people accept the unequal distribution of power among different segments of their society. Venezuela, the Philippines, and Mexico have high power distance and accept the inequality in their societies, whereas Denmark, Austria, and the United States are among the countries that have low power distance, or low tolerance for inequality.
Individualism is the value that a culture places on individual rights and well-being, as opposed to collective rights and well-being. Australia, the United States, and Great Britain tend to be individualistic countries, whereas Colombia, Japan, and Nigeria tend to be collectivist.
Masculinity is the value that a culture places on assertiveness and competitiveness. Japan, Mexico, and Austria are among the more masculine societies, whereas Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are among the more feminine societies. Typically, the more masculine cultures will also stress a greater difference between gender roles in the society.
What are critical incidents?
Critical incidents are tools for increasing our awareness and understanding of human attitudes, expectations, behaviors, and interactions. They are intended to engage participants at a meaningful, personal level as they examine attitudes and behaviors that might be critical to their effectiveness in the roles they are already performing or preparing for (in the workplace, in educational settings, and in society at large).
Critical incidents in intercultural communication training are brief descriptions of situations in which a misunderstanding, problem, or conflict arises as a result of the cultural differences of the interacting parties, or a problem of cross-cultural adaptation and communication.
Choose 3 of the following critical incidents for your assignment:
1. A student was not satisfied with her new class. She wanted to move to a higher class. First, she consulted the student advisor who said that she could not move up at this time. The student, still unsatisfied with this answer, asked the other student advisor. The second student advisor gave her the same answer. Next, she made an appointment to see the coordinator of the Language Training Program. The coordinator consulted the student’s teacher and the student’s test scores and explained to the student that, according to the guidelines, she was unable to move to the next level at that time. The student was still not satisfied and made an appointment to see the dean and then intended to talk to the president of the college. Meanwhile, the teacher couldn’t understand why the student did not just accept her decision. She also could not understand why the student could not see that there were policies in place so that no matter how high up she went in the college hierarchy, it would not change the outcome for her. What does this scenario tell us about the student’s assumptions and the teacher’s assumptions?
2. Samantha liked her new job, but she felt that the environment was very cold. Samantha said that no one talks about their family or their personal lives, only about work. She feels it is very difficult to work in such an environment and she wishes her colleagues would share more with her. What kind of culture is Samantha in and how is she responding?
3. One of Tim’s employees is always late. Besides being late, he tends to go on and on when talking and wastes valuable time at work. Sometimes Tim has to cut him off. The employee seems to feel offended and thinks Tim is being rude. Tim believes that they are on a strict schedule and things have to be done by a certain time; as well, things are scheduled to take a certain amount of time.
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This text was adapted by The Saylor Foundation under a Creative
Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License without attribution as requested by the work’s original creator or licensee.
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Preface Business Communication for Success (BCS) provides a comprehensive, integrated approach to the
study and application of written and oral business communication to serve both student and
This series features chapters with the following elements:
• Learning Objectives
• Introductory Exercises
• Clear expectations, relevant background, and important theories
• Practical, real-world examples
• Key Takeaways or quick internal summaries
• Key terms that are easily identified
• In-chapter assignments
• Postchapter assessments linked to objectives and skills acquisition
Each chapter is self-contained, allowing for mix-and-match flexibility and custom or course-specific
design. Each chapter focuses on clear objectives and skill demonstrations that can be easily linked to
your syllabus and state or federal requirements. Supported by internal and external assessments,
each chapter features time-saving and learning-enhancement support for instructors and students.
BCS is designed to help students identify important information, reinforce for retention, and
demonstrate mastery with a clear outcome product.
The text has three content categories:
2. Process and products
The first three chapters form the core foundation for the study of oral and written business
communication. The next sequence of chapters focus on the process of writing, then oral
performance with an emphasis on results. The final sequence focuses on contexts where business
communication occurs, from interpersonal to intercultural, from groups to leadership.
In each of the process and product chapter sequences, the chapters follow a natural flow, from
prewriting to revision, from preparation for a presentation to performance. Each sequence comes
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together in a concluding chapter that focuses on action—where we apply the skills and techniques of
written or oral communication in business, from writing a letter to presenting a sales speech. These
performances not only serve to reinforce real-world applications but also may serve as course
assessments. All chapters are compartmentalized into sections so you can choose what you want to
use and eliminate the rest.
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Chapter 1 Effective Business Communication
Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual
I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure
you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
Robert J. McCloskey, former State Department spokesman
I N T R O D U C T O R Y E X E R C I S E S
1. Write five words that express what you want to do and where you want to be a year
from now. Take those five words and write a paragraph that clearly articulates your
responses to both “what” and “where.”
2. Think of five words that express what you want to do and where you want to be five
years from now. Share your five words with your classmates and listen to their
responses. What patterns do you observe in the responses? Write a paragraph that
addresses at least one observation.
Communication is an activity, skill, and art that incorporates lessons learned across a
wide spectrum of human knowledge. Perhaps the most time-honored form of
communication is storytelling. We’ve told each other stories for ages to help make sense
of our world, anticipate the future, and certainly to entertain ourselves. The art of
storytelling draws on your understanding of yourself, your message, and how you
communicate it to an audience that is simultaneously communicating back to you. Your
anticipation, reaction, and adaptation to the process will determine how successfully
you are able to communicate. You were not born knowing how to write or even how to
talk—but in the process of growing up, you have undoubtedly learned how to tell, and
how not tell, a story out loud and in writing.
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You didn’t learn to text in a day and didn’t learn all the codes—from LOL (laugh out
loud) to BRB (be right back)—right away. In the same way, learning to communicate
well requires you to read and study how others have expressed themselves, then adapt
what you have learned to your present task—whether it is texting a brief message to a
friend, presenting your qualifications in a job interview, or writing a business report.
You come to this text with skills and an understanding that will provide a valuable
foundation as we explore the communication process.
Effective communication takes preparation, practice, and persistence. There are many
ways to learn communication skills; the school of experience, or “hard knocks,” is one of
them. But in the business environment, a “knock” (or lesson learned) may come at the
expense of your credibility through a blown presentation to a client. The classroom
environment, with a compilation of information and resources such as a text, can offer
you a trial run where you get to try out new ideas and skills before you have to use them
to communicate effectively to make a sale or form a new partnership. Listening to
yourself, or perhaps the comments of others, may help you reflect on new ways to
present, or perceive, thoughts, ideas and concepts. The net result is your growth;
ultimately your ability to communicate in business will improve, opening more doors
than you might anticipate.
As you learn the material in this text, each part will contribute to the whole. The degree
to which you attend to each part will ultimately help give you the skills, confidence, and
preparation to use communication in furthering your career.
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1.1 Why Is It Important to Communicate Well? L E A R N I N G O B J E C T I V E S
1. Recognize the importance of communication in gaining a better understanding of
yourself and others.
2. Explain how communication skills help you solve problems, learn new things, and build
Communication is key to your success—in relationships, in the workplace, as a citizen of
your country, and across your lifetime. Your ability to communicate comes from
experience, and experience can be an effective teacher, but this text and the related
business communication course will offer you a wealth of experiences gathered from
professional speakers across their lifetimes. You can learn from the lessons they’ve
learned and be a more effective communicator right out of the gate.
Business communication can be thought of as a problem solving activity in which
individuals may address the following questions:
• What is the situation?
• What are some possible communication strategies?
• What is the best course of action?
• What is the best way to design the chosen message?
• What is the best way to deliver the message?
In this book, we will examine this problem solving process and help you learn to apply it
in the kinds of situations you are likely to encounter over the course of your career.
Communication Influences Your Thinking about Yourself and Others We all share a fundamental drive to communicate. Communication can be defined as
the process of understanding and sharing meaning.  You share meaning in what you
say and how you say it, both in oral and written forms. If you could not communicate,
what would life be like? A series of never-ending frustrations? Not being able to ask for
what you need or even to understand the needs of others?
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Being unable to communicate might even mean losing a part of yourself, for you
communicate your self-concept—your sense of self and awareness of who you are—in
many ways. Do you like to write? Do you find it easy to make a phone call to a stranger
or to speak to a room full of people? Perhaps someone told you that you don’t speak
clearly or your grammar needs improvement. Does that make you more or less likely to
want to communicate? For some, it may be a positive challenge, while for others it may
be discouraging. But in all cases, your ability to communicate is central to your self-
Take a look at your clothes. What are the brands you are wearing? What do you think
they say about you? Do you feel that certain styles of shoes, jewelry, tattoos, music, or
even automobiles express who you are? Part of your self-concept may be that you
express yourself through texting, or through writing longer documents like essays and
research papers, or through the way you speak.
On the other side of the coin, your communications skills help you to understand
others—not just their words, but also their tone of voice, their nonverbal gestures, or the
format of their written documents provide you with clues about who they are and what
their values and priorities may be. Active listening and reading are also part of being a
Communication Influences How You Learn When you were an infant, you learned to talk over a period of many months. When you
got older, you didn’t learn to ride a bike, drive a car, or even text a message on your cell
phone in one brief moment. You need to begin the process of improving your speaking
and writing with the frame of mind that it will require effort, persistence, and self-
You learn to speak in public by first having conversations, then by answering questions
and expressing your opinions in class, and finally by preparing and delivering a “stand-
up” speech. Similarly, you learn to write by first learning to read, then by writing and
learning to think critically. Your speaking and writing are reflections of your thoughts,
experience, and education. Part of that combination is your level of experience listening
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to other speakers, reading documents and styles of writing, and studying formats similar
to what you aim to produce.
As you study business communication, you may receive suggestions for improvement
and clarification from speakers and writers more experienced than yourself. Take their
suggestions as challenges to improve; don’t give up when your first speech or first draft
does not communicate the message you intend. Stick with it until you get it right. Your
success in communicating is a skill that applies to almost every field of work, and it
makes a difference in your relationships with others.
Remember, luck is simply a combination of preparation and timing. You want to be
prepared to communicate well when given the opportunity. Each time you do a good
job, your success will bring more success.
Communication Represents You and Your Employer You want to make a good first impression on your friends and family, instructors, and
employer. They all want you to convey a positive image, as it reflects on them. In your
career, you will represent your business or company in spoken and written form. Your
professionalism and attention to detail will reflect positively on you and set you up for
In both oral and written situations, you will benefit from having the ability to
communicate clearly. These are skills you will use for the rest of your life. Positive
improvements in these skills will have a positive impact on your relationships, your
prospects for employment, and your ability to make a difference in the world.
Communication Skills Are Desired by Business and Industry Oral and written communication proficiencies are consistently ranked in the top ten