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2013/2014  BA-BLM_BA33  Effective Speaking in Business English

English Title
Effective Speaking in Business English

Course information

Language English
Exam ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Bachelor
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn, Spring
Changes in schedule may occur.
Wednesday 8.00-9.40, week 6,8,10-15
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Max. participants 30
Study board
Study Board for BA in International Business Communication
Course coordinator
  • Alex Klinge - Department of International Business Communication (IBC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Communication
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
Last updated on 14-10-2013
Learning objectives
By providing students with the ability to think and formulate ideas critically, they will be able to cope with a wide variety of business-related situations. Through principles of rhetoric, we will strengthen student’s credibility and their persuasive spoken techniques. The precise and effective use of English will ultimately help students communicate confident and clear business decisions.

At the end of the course students should be able to:
• Understand the principles of effective communication.
• Factor in cultural differences when presenting to a multicultural audience.
• Feel comfortable giving both formal and informal presentations.
• Think critically with the aid of rhetorical principles.
• Compose effective and precise ideas and strategies using appropriate
English phrases and collocations.
• Argue for or against controversial social and cultural issues
• Find correct academic and business phrases and collocations
Course prerequisites
The course is open for undergraduate students. Language level is intermediate to upper intermediate, with minimum B2 competence. Knowledge of communication theory is an advantage but not a precondition for participation.
15 min oral presentation:
Examination form Oral Exam
Individual or group exam Individual
13 minutes oral presentation (8 minute- presentation, followed by 5-minute discussion). The presentation is based on a pre-given topic, concerning cultural or business issues, which the students choose.
Duration 15 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Autumn Term and Spring Term
Aids allowed to bring to the exam Limited aids, see the list below:
Written notes, power point presentation
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content and structure

The course focuses on the theory and practise of spoken English in the business world. Effective communication today involves dialogue on many levels and in diverse situations. These include one-to-one meetings, group interaction, interdepartmental contact, and various forms of presentations. Involved is the ability to use a full range of argumentation and rhetorical competencies to effectively communicate information, messages and opinions. The wide spectrum of interaction demands competency in both informal and formal language.

With English the accepted lingua franca in the business world, proficiency is needed in the use of technical vocabulary, formal collocations, academic expressions, as well as a familiarity with everyday English and informal idioms. This applies both to domestic and international business meetings and also requires an understanding of cultural diversity and linguistic custom.

In this connection, vocabulary exercises are designed to give each student the necessary tools to adequately express themselves in any given context, including a wide variety of media. Essential linguistic tools and their precise application will strengthen powers of argumentation and rhetoric as the ability to persuade and convince others is a prerequisite in all business activity.

Overall, the course is divided into three parts, each combining theoretical texts and practical exercises.

The first part (weeks 1 – 3) begins with a general discussion on effective communication. We look at different channels of communication and how this varies according to situation and context. Discussion revolves around communication in the corporation and the role of both informal and formal discussions to produce creative ideas. We also examine the role of English as the lingua franca in business and commerce. This is followed by an analysis of the importance of summary and critique. The student will learn the principles of giving comprehensive summaries, reporting language and the need for precision. Summaries are neutral, attempting to give an objective account or report of events. Sometimes they are combined with critiques, which involve evaluation and opinion. Class exercises are designed to cover both aspects and show the importance of interpretation and assessment. Short, one-to-one presentations are given to practise the ability to think quickly and formulate ideas on an ad hoc basis.

Part two (weeks 4 – 7) of the course looks specifically at question and answer dialogues, the art of interviewing and extemporaneous presentations. Theoretically we contextualize interview techniques according to the prevalent sociological and philosophical movements of the time, including positivism and postmodernism. Different personality types demand different approaches and modification of language to have a chance of achieving desired results. Practise includes class exercises in various forms of interviews.

Part three (8 – 10) of the course focuses on longer presentations. These take the form of case studies concerning both social and business issues. Students are divided up into small groups of three and each student presents particular aspect of the problem, culminating in recommendations to find a solution. We summarise principles of argumentation and oral strategies needed for coherence, lucidity and persuasive effect. The course is rounded off by a closer look at the general principles of rhetoric and the art of persuasion and dissuasion.

Teaching methods
The course is evenly divided between theory and practise. There is ample opportunity to give short and long presentations, individually and in groups, on a wide range of business, cultural and social issues.
The course comprises seminar style teaching with interactive class discussions and peer critique. The use of small group discussions is used to evaluate oral skills and comprehensibility. There are also lecture-based presentations concerning the importance of argumentation, rhetoric and the most appropriate forms of linguistic expressions.
Expected literature

Course Compendium: (ca. 160 pages)

Last updated on 14-10-2013