Communication for Business Professionals: Theory Meets Practice

An In-class Course
Course Description


The ability to effectively communicate is a cornerstone to a successful professional career. Business professionals need to have a polished ability to communicate in both face-to-face and computer mediated communication. In addition to the traditional in-person meeting, today’s professionals are maneuvering through virtual meetings, going through complicated proposals via web conferencing and trying to improve their abilities to effectively communicate with their remote teams. To be successful, one needs the ability to articulate a clear message and connect well with people, no matter the modality of the communication.

This course provides business professionals with a solid understanding of how communication theory can be leveraged to drive organizational results. This class is geared to people who work in a corporate environment or want to build their corporate communication skills

Regular guest lecturers will bolster the classroom study, providing insight into how accomplished business leaders use communication to effectively execute business plans and strategies.

Participants will be better equipped to execute communication best practices within their organizations, as well as with external stakeholders. The curriculum’s pragmatic lens provides real-world application that will be valuable in any professional environment.


Course Schedule

 What You’ll Learn

  • Digital Communication: The best ways to leverage digital and virtual channels to communicate with clients and internal stakeholders.
  • Social Networks for Business: How to leverage your professional brand and build on the power of your individual network.
  • Communicating Change: Launching a new initiative that demands behavior change? Learn how communication best practices can help you drive change while maneuvering through challenges and roadblocks.
  • Scandal and Crisis: When you’re in it, you’ll be glad you had this class. How do you communicate when your brand is in the middle of a scandal or crisis?
  • Persuasion and Negotiation: When was the last time you had to convince someone to move forward? Whether it was a sales deal or sign-off on an initiative, effective communication can get you further, faster. Learn the tips and tricks of some of the most seasoned professionals.

Career and Industry Outlook

The ability to effectively communicate has never been more critical in business than it is right now. Research shows today’s professionals need to be skilled at communicating through a variety of channels (digital and non-digital) and to an array of stakeholders (both internal and external).

Technology is having a critical impact on how we communicate and strategize. PwC’s 2016 Global CEO survey revealed companies are strategizing to better align with a wider array of stakeholder expectations, including hiring leaders who are best able to adapt to the changing economy.

Adapting and meeting expectations demands effective communication. It’s no longer just the role of the corporate communication team. It’s an integral part of business strategy.

Research also shows those who are able to adapt to the digital marketplace are more successful. Salespeople, for example, who are able to leverage social networks are more likely to outsell their peers, exceed quota and can track digital engagement to revenue. (Source)

Call it sales techniques. Call it presentation effectiveness. Call it people skills. No matter what you call it, it’s important. And without it, it is almost impossible to be successful.

 “Even with all the new technology, people skills are actually more important now. Whether it’s providing day-to-day services in our bank branches or managing our data analytics: it’s all about people,” says Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan (as quoted in PwC Study)

Topical Course Outline

Session 1: The Impact of the Digital Business
Communicating and Building Your Digital Brand
The rise of the digital economy has increased the importance of professionals understanding how to communicate through new channels. This lecture leverages relational communication and organizational rhetoric theories to demonstrate best practices for communicating digitally and building your own professional brand.
Key Deliverable: Optimizing Your LinkedIn Profile – Tips for building your professional brand on LinkedIn, Key tools to manage your social activities in minutes a day

Session 2: Listening, Dialogue and Interpersonal Communication
There is great focus in career training on the business professional’s ability to speak and communicate. However, the success of one’s communication is often contingent upon how well one is able to listen and create a dialogue in meetings and presentations.
Key Deliverables: The Executive Message: How to “Coach” Hire Ups | Effective Listening

Session 3: Internal Communication and Presentation
Just as digital communication has become a standard in effective organizational strategy, internal communication can be strengthened by effectively leveraging these channels. Providing effective feedback, managing remote teams, and presenting ideas virtually to internal stakeholders all demand a solid understanding of communication best practices. Internal Communication Theory provides a base for effectively leveraging today’s tools to drive overall organizational effectiveness.
Key Deliverable: Meeting Best Practices, Presentation Tools (PowerPoint, Prezi), Giving Great Feedback

Session 4: Change Management
Communication Best Practices for Driving Organizational Change
In any change management initiative, communication is a critical step to success. Demonstrating the purpose and value of any change initiative requires a strategic communication plan. This lecture combines change management concepts with organizational communication theory to provide a solid understanding of how to communicate change and elicit action to a diverse organization.
Key Deliverable: Precise Mindset and Change Management Table

Session 5: Scandal and Crisis
External and Internal Strategies in Organizational Communication
When organizations are enveloped in scandal, their people need the ability communicate quickly, succinctly and successfully. Today’s digital channels make waiting for the press conference a dwindling strategy. Today’s organizations must be agile and arm the appropriate people with the targeted response. This session pulls from the most leveraged components of crisis communication research to provide an understanding of how effective communication manages and protects an organization’s brand and legitimacy.
Key Deliverable:  Persuasive Memo, Writing Tips, Email Best Practices, Grammar

Session 6: Negotiation Basics for Organizational Effectiveness
The ability to persuade through logical reasoning is a coveted skill in any business environment. There are few careers that don’t leverage the ability to lead others to a desired conclusion. Building on the persuasion theory and negotiation research, this class provides an understanding of negotiation basics for business professionals to leverage in their own communication.
Key Deliverables: Negotiation Table

Program Faculty


Rachel Clapp Miller, Lead Faculty.  Rachel is an experienced communication professional with an extensive background in media and digital communication. In addition to her adjunct work with Wake Forest University, she is currently the Director of Digital Engagement at GrowthPlay, a consulting firm. At GrowthPlay, she leads the organization’s digital communication strategy and works with clients to leverage social networks for sales. Prior to current role, she spent ten years as a television producer, which earned her two Emmy awards and six nominations for her producing work. She also won the prestigious National Headliner Award for investigative producing.

Miller completed her Masters in Communication at Wake Forest University. Her thesis focused on effective communication by organizations through digital channels. It was recognized by the University as a leading research project among graduate students. She is active in the Charlotte community and just completed a six-year term on the Board of Directors of the Dowd YMCA.

Program Prerequisites

Participants must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree or the equivalent. A TOEFL examination for non-native speakers of English is not required but students are expected to read, write and comprehend English at the graduate level to fully participate in and gain from the program. Any requests for exceptions to these requirements must be made in writing to the program director at


Tuition is $2,000.  Please email the program director at to learn more about potential scholarships and corporate partnership discounts.

Meeting Location

Wake Forest University Charlotte Center
200 North College Street, Suite 150
Charlotte, North Carolina  28202

Parking is available at no charge in the Wake Forest University Charlotte Center Parking Garage located on 5th Street and adjacent to the Wake Forest Charlotte Center.  (You may enter the garage from either 5th or 6th Street.)  Please bring your parking ticket in for validation.

Registration and Payment

This certificate is an open enrollment program. Application is not required. Course registration is complete when payment is processed and you receive a confirmation email. In order to register, you will need to render payment. Please begin registration when you are ready to render payment.

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Certificate Eligibility

Participants of this in-class course attending all 6 sessions and successfully completing the work within the given course time-frame will be eligible to receive a Certificate in Communication for Business Professionals from Wake Forest University.

Cancellation of Certificate Programs

This course is offered contingent upon sufficient enrollment. If a course must be cancelled, all registered students will be notified at least five (5) calendar days before the course’s start date. All registered students will receive a 100% tuition refund. No fees will be charged for cancelled courses.

Refund Policy

Refunds are computed based on the date and time that a student’s request to withdraw is received in writing to the program director. Prospective students who withdraw prior to the start of a course will receive a full refund of tuition paid.

For More Information

For more information or to speak with a program advisor, email or call 704-365-1717.