National Research University Higher School of Economics Saint Petersburg

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National Research University – Higher School of Economics

Saint Petersburg
Business Communication for the 2 year bachelor students

080100.62 Economics

Business Communication”

2-4 module 2013/2014

Irina Shcherbakova,

Associate professor at the Foreign Languages department (HSE St.Petersburg), PhD in Pedagogy

Olga Ivanova,

Senior teacher at the Foreign Languages department (HSE St.Petersburg),

Contact details:



Course info:

40 hours (+68self-study)

А. Course Description
The course is a combination of theoretical knowledge and practical skills.

It is designed for studying the main concepts and theories in business communication as well as for developing business communication skills needed in the global market.

On one hand, the participants raise awareness of theories of communication, culture, language and society and their applications in business interactions. On the other hand, one of the basic objectives of the course is to improve Business English skills and developing language confidence.

Thus, the course will help the participants to become good communicators and let them get more confidence in coping with communication problems in modern business environment.

The course focuses on knowledge of basic points of cross-cultural business communication. Strong practical communicating skills are considered to be the core competencies of a successful business person and an essential part of any university education all over the world.
B. Course Objectives

  • to create awareness of theories of communication, culture, language and society;

  • to create necessary communication skills for successful business and professional communication;

  • to master general and business speech culture techniques as well as public speaking and business writing skills;

  • to develop essential skills in role-plays, case studies and simulations of real business situations;

  • to introduce and develop the main rules and techniques of business meetings, negotiations, business presentations, business correspondence;

  • to improve language confidence in communicating in business sphere.

Course Expectations

The graduates of the course will be able:

  • to communicate more confidently in business sphere and professional surroundings

  • to participate successfully in meetings, negotiations; business conferences

  • to socialize and network in business sphere with greater confidence

  • to work successfully in a cross-cultural environment

  • to use verbal and nonverbal communication more effectively

  • to communicate in more efficient way with colleagues, supervisors, subordinates, and customers.

  • to speak English more accurately and fluently

  • to use professional vocabulary confidently

  • to use written English skills in more efficient way (including the main types of business correspondence)

Course activities

Course activities combines theory and practice. As this course is task based, it includes case studies, work-shops, role-plays and simulations of real business situations, designed to develop essential communicative skills. Main activities involve short lectures (presenting the basic concepts and principles), discussions, DVD recordings for analysis, reports and presentations. Participants get a regular feedback to help them focus on specific areas of need and difficult points.

The course content is relevant and up-to-date. Everything the participants do is practical, realistic and useful. The course is planned to take place in small groups to ensure attention to individual needs.

Entry Requirements

A minimum B1 level of English (according to The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages).

Course book:

  1. Bovee C., Thill J.V. Business Communication Today, 9th Edition, Pearson Education, Prentice Hall,2008

Books for practice:

  1. “Intelligent Business” Skills book by Christine Johnson and Irene Barrall,

Upper-Intermediate, Longman 2006

  1. «The Business» by John Allison and Jeremy Townend, Intermediate, Macmillan, 2008

  2. The Business» by John Allison and Jeremy Townend, Upper-Intermediate, Macmillan, 2008

Additional readings:
1. Hampden-Turner CH., Trompenaars F. (2004): Building Cross-Cultural Competence : How to create wealth from conflicting values . McGraw-Hill.

3. Hofstede G. (2001). Culture’s consequences: Comparing values, behaviors, institutions, and organizations across nations. – 2nd ed. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc.

5. Gesteland, R. (2002). Cross-Cultural Business Behavior: Marketing, Negotiating, Sourcing and Managing Across Cultures. Copenhagen: Copenhagen Business School Press.

C. Grading procedures

The criteria for the evaluation of students’ knowledge and skills are as follows:

•Class work participation (discussions; case studies, work-shops, role-plays) 0,2 points

•Written test 0,1 points;

•Presentation 0,3 points;

•Essay 0,2 points;

•Final test 0,2 points.

Class work participation requires the knowledge of theoretical material, presented in lectures and additional readings. Students must be ready to give clear answers to readings-related questions, be able to analyze practical examples and cases.

During Discussions and Group Work the students are expected to analyze business cases, examples and draw adequate and singular conclusions, involving their theoretical and practical knowledge.

The written test consists of questions on the main points of the course.

The individual task consists of an essay and presentation. Students are offered to write an essay and to prepare a presentation on one of the course topics

D. Course curriculum



of contact hours


With the elements of lecturing




  • Importance of BC

  • Cross Cultural Aspects of BC

  • Different Forms of Communication in Business

  • Communication Barriers in Business. Overcoming Communication Barriers

  • The Outline of Business Communication skills

Practice: essay writing





  • The basics of Effective Oral Communication in Business

  • Essentials of Oral Communication

  • Delivering a Persuasive Speech

  • Listening Skills


Role-plays Making a strong start

Guiding the conversation

Making strong conclusion



Presentation of a company/ business





  • Types of Written Business Communication

  • Business writing Essentials

  • Style of Business Letters

  • Types of Business Letters

Practice: writing the following letters


Replaying for the letter of complain

A follow-up letter to a telephone call

Executive summary

Factual report




  • Types of nonverbal communication and body language

  • Understanding Body Language






Work-shop “Attending the interview”

Writing Letter of application






E. Technical Support

The present course is conducted with the use of following equipment: PCs in a computer class, laptop and projector for lectures and group project presentations, a flipchart and markers.

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