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Creative Commons License
Introduction to Professional Communications by Melissa Ashman, Kwantlen Polytechnic University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Introduction to Professional Communications

Description: No matter what your field is, having professional communication skills are essential to success in today's workplace. This book covers key business communications topics that will help you in your career, including intercultural communication, team work, professional writing, audience analysis and adapting messages, document formatting, oral communication, and more.

July 10, 2018 | Updated: October 1, 2021
Author: Melissa Ashman, Kwantlen Polytechnic University

Subject Areas
Communication/Writing, Professional Communication

Original source
pressbooks.bccampus.ca

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		Attribution 3.0 License. Copyright Yusuke Kamiyamane. Ancillary resource: Open online course 1
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		Attribution 3.0 License. Copyright Yusuke Kamiyamane. Ancillary resource: Open online course 2

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Reviews (2) Avg: 4.35 / 5

Jocelyne Olson

Institution:Red River CollegeTitle/Position: Instructor, CommunicationCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The book description and the contents don’t entirely align. The textbook is almost exclusively about planning and creating written communications. The final part touches on some general professional communication topics and there is a good section on audiences but, overall, the text is primarily focused on producing written documents. If the description and title of the textbook were clearer on that focus, I could rate this more highly, as it does do a comprehensive job of tackling the complexity of writing in a business context.
The text does not contain an index or glossary.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

Content is accurate and well-curated.

Content Accuracy Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

The content is up-to-date. The modularization of the content would allow for easy updating.

Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The text is well-written. The language is easy to follow and understand and feels very friendly and supportive.

Clarity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Consistent terminology and frameworks were used throughout.

Consistency Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

The text is very modular with minimal internal referencing. Each part can be considered separate from each other part and could be provided in any order.
Some areas do mention things like “because this is a business writing class …” which does limit where and how the text could be used.

Modularity Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The higher-level Parts are presented in a clear order, but within the first part, there doesn’t seem to be a clear structure. For example, the book opens with 1.1 Learning to Write. This comes before 1.2 Elements of Communication. A foundational understanding of what communication is would be more helpful before diving into one specific form of communication. An introduction to the text would be helpful to provide the context to the reader about the intent and goal of the text.

Organization Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

The text has some formatting issues that reduce readability, like inconsistent paragraph spacing and overly long paragraphs. I noticed that in some tables the paragraph breaks were missing, leading to difficult-to-read parts (example – section 3.5). But overall, the usability is fine.

Interface Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

I didn’t notice any errors.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The author makes an attempt to use names from a variety of language and occasionally references Indigenous cultures and content, which is an important component in a text, particularly in a Canadian context. I see some areas for improvement but no more than any other current text.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

As a book on professional communication, no, I wouldn’t recommend it as it doesn’t have the appropriate breadth in it. However, as a professional writing text, or a business writing text, absolutely I would recommend it as a good reference text. The content is curated very well and is written in clear language that students would respond to.

Kevin Boon

Institution:Red River CollegeTitle/Position: InstructorCreative Commons License

Q: The text covers all areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and provides an effective index and/or glossary

The textbook covers most areas and ideas of the subject appropriately and includes a table of contents but it does not include an index or glossary.

Comprehensiveness Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: Content is accurate, error-free and unbiased

The context, including diagrams and other supplementary material is accurate and error-free; however, it is somewhat biased to the area of ‘business communication’ and the needs of a college or university program instead of communication beyond that context. This bias affects examples used (often exclusively for business students) and the focus which is mostly on writing. As a result, a teacher in any other program that business would have to extrapolate concepts or create their own more relevant ones. And key communication skills such as speaking, listening and reading are not prevalent in this textbook.

Content Accuracy Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: Content is up-to-date, but not in a way that will quickly make the text obsolete within a short period of time. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement

This textbook has done an adequate job of keeping up to date in a subject area that is changing quickly. It applies Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) topics and concepts to communication and communicative tasks. It could do more to include the fairly recent rise in applications such as MS Teams and Zoom as integral channels that have impacted communication in significant ways. The author’s last update was in 2020 and perhaps these additions are planned. The text is written and/or arranged in such a way that necessary updates will be relatively easy and straightforward to implement.

Relevance Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides adequate context for any jargon/technical terminology used

The text is written in lucid, accessible prose, and provides some context for any jargon/technical terminology used; however, the textbook does not have a glossary of key terms.

Clarity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The text is internally consistent in terms of terminology and framework

Because of its planned modularity (see next criteria), the broad nature of communication, and the numerous open textbooks it draws from, this textbook lacks internal consistency of terminology and framework. The text has a supportive tone throughout and a section called ‘Questions for Reflection’ appearing in blue on many of the pages. Many of the pages, such as 5.3 Emails and 5.11 Bad news messages, use business scenarios to illustrate a concept and practical approaches to it. Any teacher or student not in a business program may not find them relevant.

Consistency Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course (i.e., enormous blocks of text without subheadings should be avoided). The text should not be overly self-referential, and should be easily reorganized and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

This textbook includes a list of important topics and concepts under the broad umbrella of ‘communication’ with a strong focus on the typical college/university needs of writing, research, and employment. The text is easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course. The text is not overly self-referential, and could be easily reorganized, and realigned with various subunits of a course without presenting much disruption to the reader.

Modularity Rating: 4 out of 5

Q: The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion

The topics in the text are somewhat presented in a logical, clear fashion; however, its flow may originally be connected to an existing course that prioritizes writing and research. Its opening chapter, Part 1: Communication Foundations, begins with the page, 1.1 Learning to Write, so any key communication concepts follow from this starting point/focus.

Organization Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader

The text is free of significant interface issues, including navigation problems, distortion of images/charts, and any other display features that may distract or confuse the reader.

Interface Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text contains no grammatical errors

The textbook is well-written with clear and concise explanations, examples and integration of source material. There are no grammar and spelling errors.

Grammar Rating: 5 out of 5

Q: The text is not culturally insensitive or offensive in any way. It should make use of examples that are inclusive of a variety of races, ethnicities, and backgrounds

The examples to illustrate communication concepts are relatable and include diverse people and perspectives. However, while 4.3 Inclusive Language provides useful examples, it glosses over bias. And 8.1 Intercultural Communication is a text heavy and practical, applicable skills light. The textbook does not connect this important area to 3.2 Communication Models or to 3.7 Audience Demographics, 3.8 Audience Geographics or 3.9 Audience Psychographics. The storytelling section in 8.6 Oral presentations compares Euro-Western linear structures with Indigenous storytelling techniques and structure.

Cultural Relevance Rating: 3 out of 5

Q: Are there any other comments you would like to make about this book, for example, its appropriateness in a Canadian context or specific updates you think need to be made?

I recommend this book as a resource for a college or university writing course. It is a comprehensive take on a wide variety of communication topics and concepts. Since communication as a subject area is so broad, this textbook tends to be a little focused on the expectations of a college or university communication course with threads such as ‘critical thinking’, ‘research’ methods and ‘business communication’ at the forefront.

The theme and main objectives of this textbook are written communication. That said, specific sections and examples would aide anyone tasked with communication instruction. For example, 4.1 Style and Tone has useful examples of positive and negative language.

This textbook covers a lot and could use more practical activities. Some important pages, such as 3.1 Adapting Messages, have long written lists that could use examples to illustrate the advice given in them and support the students understanding and application.

Part 8 Interpersonal Communications includes half of what communication is (listening and speaking) and arguably some of the most foundational concepts (culture) and common tasks that a college/university student would be required to know and develop (team work, conflict, presentations). This section appears as an afterthought to a writing focused communication course.