SPCH 105: Business and Professional Speech

Course Description

Speech 105 is a practical introduction to the principles and skills of effective communication in business and professional settings. The course includes frequent performances in business situations requiring effective communication practices.

Course Design

SPCH 105 is a skills-building course, which allows students repeated opportunities to work through the professional presentation process, communicate and work in small groups, build interview skills, and practice effective dyadic and intrapersonal communication. The assignment-based design engages the presentation process in varied contexts a minimum of five times. Reading, discussion, and quizzes occur throughout the course to enhance memory and understanding of core concepts. Peer coaching and/or review, as well as post-presentation journaling enhance analysis and evaluation.

An online version is not currently being offered but is being developed. The online version will explore professional communication using virtual tools in an authentic manner.

Sample Syllabus

Sample Syllabus

Required Course Materials

Spch 105 is part of the Z-degree option. An Open Educational Resource is provided for use in the Assignment Library. Please share the materials via Blackboard.

Assignment Sequence

The following series of speech assignments allow students to repeat the process of conceiving, researching, organizing, developing, practicing and presenting in professional contexts throughout the course. Instructors may use the sequence below or sequence can be rearranged so long as: 1) at least one short presentation precedes longer presentations and 2) the informative precedes the persuasive. When developing sequence consider how each assignment will inform the next.

  1. Two short presentations, such as a briefing, an elevator pitch, or panel presentation, orient students to the process (2-4 minutes).

  2. An informative presentation relevant to a specific professional context furthers research and analysis of self, audience, and topic, as well as increasing organizational expectations (5-7 minutes). A Q & A should follow the presentation to enhance interview/response skills.

  3. A persuasive presentation relevant to a professional context explores the fundamentals of argumentation, as well as enhances content evaluation and organizational skills (6-8 minutes). A Q & A should follow the presentation to enhance interview/response skills.

  4. A small group assignment, presenting the results of a challenging group assignment, may be informative or persuasive and adds problem-solving, small group communication, and group performance to the speech process.

  5. An interview assignment may require a live, virtual, and/or print deliverable. The interview unit should cover types of interviews in the workplace, preparing to ask and answer questions, as well as practice with Q & A. The instructor may choose the type of interview students will use for application or instructors may allow the students to choose based on their interests and needs.

Types of interviews

  • Information-gathering/research

  • Diagnostic (viable option for students majoring in STEM fields)

  • Selection (prep and practice should focus on screening interview)

  • Performance

  • Disciplinary (viable option for an upper level Business Administration major)

  • Entertainment/Journalistic (i.e., radio interview or informing the press; viable for performing arts, sports majors, or public policy majors)

The type of interview assigned will determine deliverables due.

Example 1: An instructor may assign an information gathering interview in preparation of an informative or persuasive topic. The deliverables might be transcripts and analysis of the interview, as well as a survey response from the interviewee assessing the student’s interview skills.

Example 2: For a diagnostic interview, the deliverable might be finding/sharing a case study of an unusual issue, submitting an analysis of the case, and the suggested diagnostic approach for similar cases in future. The student would share the diagnostic plan with a professor or professional in the field and interview the professor/professional to receive feedback on the plan. The interviewee would complete a survey assessing the student’s interview skills.

Note: More short presentations or assignments may be added wherever instructors find the assignments most useful for their individual curriculum.

Assignment Weights

  • Short presentations should equal 10% of semester/term grade.

  • Long Presentations (Informative, Persuasive) should equal 35% of semester/term grade.

  • Group/Team Assignment should equal 15% of semester/term grade.

  • Interview Assignment should equal 15% of semester/term grade.

  • Written Assessments (Quizzes, Tests, Outlines, etc.) should equal 10–15% of semester/term grade.

  • Participation (Journals, Peer reviews, Discussion) should equal 10-15% of semester/term grade.

Core Assignment Descriptions


Presentation of 5-7 minutes should be relevant to a professional context, as well as provide relevant, accurate information. Evidence of audience orientation, sound organization, effective language, verbal fluency, purposeful expression, and sound research are required. Delivery should be extemporaneous.


Presentation of 6-8 minutes should be relevant to a specific professional context, as well as build argumentation targeting a specific audience/context. Clearly stated thesis and claims, adequate evidence, sound reasoning, audience orientation, purposeful movement, effective organization, and expressive, connective delivery are required.

Group Project

The group project should be a problem-solving project with a deliverable. A presentation regarding process and/or results should involve all group members. The presentation should be relevant, unified, organized, polished, and extemporaneous. The presentation may be live or mediated.


The interview assignment may be a simulation presentation, a project submission (i.e. kiosk-style demonstration or how-to video), or an assigned topic for a core/required presentation (i.e., information gathering for an informative). At minimum, the interview assignment should measure students’ understanding of interview type, recognition of purpose/context, and ability to prepare and apply for type of interview assigned. Preparation phase should include setting, Q & A, and dress.


Rubrics for informative and persuasive presentations are normed and available in the assignment library. Rubrics for interview and group will be developed as part of the OER project and should be available by mid-August 2019. Please share the rubric with students at the beginning of each unit. Using the rubric to determine grades provides consistency across sections of DWR courses. The goal is to provide grades and feedback to students within one week of presentations.