COMM 395 - Business Communications

COMM 395 is an experiential course with one overarching goal: to help each student become a more competent presenter, particularly in business settings. It builds on skills covered in COMM 396 Business Communications II (formerly COMM 390 Business Writing): researching ideas, organizing findings and presenting information in a logical, audience-focused manner. Development of effective communication skills is the link that connects both courses. The significant difference is that in COMM 395 students communicate their ideas primarily in the form of presentations rather than in written messages. 

Students are provided with a series of oral communication challenges in the course. Of the five main assignments, four are individual presentations and one is a group assignment. The assignments are based on realistic business scenarios: presenting information, presenting a persuasive argument, making a statement of personal significance, making an impromptu speech, and presenting findings and observations about an actual company (group project). These five assignments are supplemented in the classroom by numerous activities intended to provide students with practice and feedback on their developing oral communication skills. As is the case with COMM 390, the assessment process for COMM 395 is designed to provide extensive feedback to each student on all main assignments. Both courses are distinguished by offering students the chance to learn by doing.

Learning objectives

  • Speak confidently in front of others on a broad range of topics.
  • Create audience-focused presentations that are interesting, informative, persuasive and engaging.
  • Research and organize information so that your talks have rich content that is logically organized, creating a natural flow of ideas.
  • Design visually attractive presentation slides that enhance your talk.
  • Create easy to understand visual representations (charts & graphs) of quantitative data for use on presentation slides.
  • Describe the meaning of complex quantitative information in easy to understand plain English.
  • Learn personal strategies for dealing with stage fright.
  • Speak ‘off the cuff’ in impromptu situations.
  • Listen actively: good speakers are also good listeners, which allows them to pose relevant questions and offer insightful feedback.
  • Take an active role in group conversations by voicing your opinion and sharing your ideas.

Note: This course was formerly numbered COMM 486U.

UBC Sauder Public Speaking Competition

The UBC Sauder Public Speaking Competition is an annual invitational event for which COMM 395 Business Communications instructors nominate their most capable students from the past 12 months. Selected participants compete in a preliminary knockout round by recording and submitting speeches for the judging committee. Short-listed finalists are then invited to compete in front of an audience, delivering both prepared and impromptu presentations. 

Watch highlights from the 2023 competition


Course credits:

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