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Business communication a problem-solving approach

A book by Kathryn Rentz, Paula Lentz, ISBN 978-1259565878

"Business Communication: A Problem-Solving Approach" by Rentz, Lentz, and Das offers a unique perspective, blending clear communication fundamentals with visual rhetoric and critical thinking. Written by esteemed academics, the book equips readers with analytical tools to address diverse business communication challenges effectively. With a focus on the South Asian audience, it presents a holistic approach to communication in solving real-world business problems.

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Business communication a problem-solving approach by Kathryn Rentz, Paula Lentz

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"Business Communication: A Problem-Solving Approach" authored by Kathryn Rentz, Paula Lentz, and Anupam Das, published by McGraw Hill Education (India) Pvt. Ltd. in 2020, delves into the essential role communication plays in addressing business challenges. With a focus on catering to the South Asian audience, the book presents a unique approach to business communication.

The authors, distinguished academics in their respective fields, bring their expertise to the fore. Dr. Kathryn Rentz, a seasoned professor in English at the University of Cincinnati, has been teaching Business Writing for decades. Dr. Paula Lentz, an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, specializes in Business Writing and Communicating for Success courses. Dr. Anupam Das, an Associate Professor at IIM Kozhikode, contributes his insights into Organizational Communication, Impression Management, and Public Speaking.

Unlike traditional textbooks, this volume encourages readers to tackle communication challenges with both analytical and creative thinking. By integrating the fundamentals of clear communication with visual rhetoric and critical thought, the book equips readers with a comprehensive toolkit for addressing various business communication scenarios.

Business communication a problem-solving approach 2nd edition PDF free

Business Communication: A Problem Solving Approach combines the fundamentals of clear communication and visual rhetoric with critical thinking to help students gain a professional advantage in business communication. Its problem-solving approach directly addresses the heart of great business communications and helps students develop skills they can apply immediately in the workplace.

No product has ever escaped small or large problems in its life cycle. The occurrence of problems is normal. The main thing is to pay attention to them in time and take the right action. For this purpose there are a variety of methods of solving or team exercises. Practice shows that they have repeatedly bailed out teams and helped them find successful solutions.

Business Communication: A Problem Solving Approach - Summary

What Is Business Communication?

Business communications are the exchange of information between people working together towards common objectives. They can take place face-to-face, over email, phone, fax, or any other means. Communication is an essential part of business; without it, nothing would get done. A good communicator must be able to listen, ask questions, understand, empathize, and respond appropriately.

What is importance of business communication?

In business, communication is vital to convey clear, strong, messages about strategy, customer services and branding. A business that builds a brand reflects a consistent, tailored message to its audience. Internal communications build trust among employees and managers and encourage teamwork and collaboration.

What are business communication skills?

Business communication skills include qualities that enable professionals to effectively communicate information in the workplace. They cover primary forms of communication, such as active listening, and communication methods necessary to build professional relationships.

What is the 5 step problem-solving approach?

In order to define your root problem, break it down into its core components, prioritize solutions, conduct an analysis, and sell your recommendation internally, follow these steps. First, identify your root problem. Second, break it down into smaller problems. Third, prioritize solutions. Fourth, conduct an analysis. Finally, sell your recommendations internally.

Why are problem-solving skills important?

In today’s fast paced business world, where information is constantly changing, it is important to keep your staff up to date with what is happening in the company. Managers must ensure they are able to communicate effectively with their employees so they can work together to achieve common goals. Problem solving skills are vital to successful management. These skills enable managers to identify problems, analyse them and suggest solutions. They also allow managers to take control of situations and influence others.

Business Communication: A Problem Solving Approach - Reviews

This textbook was required for my business communications class and the cost difference between the campus bookstore and what I paid for it through Amazon was quite significant. When you have to buy books out of pocket, you really have to be careful about the costs involved and buy them at the right price.

I needed this textbook for my business communication course, and the difference between what I paid for it at my school's bookstore and what she paid for Amazon was quite large. If you need to buy a book out of your pocket, you should pay attention to the costs involved and buy it at an affordable price.

It would be even better if this textbook included a glossary of important terms. Missed the mark on the publisher there. My students are very frustrated.  

Business communication a problem-solving approach author: Kathryn Rentz

Dr. Kathryn Rentz is Professor of English at the University of Cincinnati. She first taught Business Her Process Her Writing course as a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana Her Champaign in the early 1980s, and she has been teaching Workplace Writing ever since. She helped establish the Professional Writing Program at the University of Cincinnati and served as its coordinator. She also won an award for the Department of English Teaching, directed the department's graduate program, and helped direct the writing program.Dr. Lenz's Business It dates back to her beginnings in . She has held many roles for ABC, including a member of the board of directors and chair of the publishing committee. He served two terms as associate editor of the Journal of Business Communication, and served as acting editor from 2000-2001, receiving the Francis W. Weeks Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2008, she won ABC's She Meada Gibbs Outstanding Teacher Award. In 2011, she was elected Vice President of the Association. From 2013 she served as chairman until 2014 and from 2014 she served as chairman until 2015. Received the 2018 Outstanding Membership Award. Rentz has published articles on business her communication pedagogy and research in journals such as Business Communication Quarterly, Journal of Business Communication, Technical Communication Quarterly, and Journal of Business and Technical Communication. She has attended many professional conferences and seminars over the years and is always learning from her peers and students.

Business communication a problem-solving approach author: Paula Lentz

Dr. Paula Lentz is Professor of Business Communication at the University of Wisconsin Eau Claire and Director of her Academic Her Program. She teaches Business Writing, Advanced Business Writing, and her MBA courses. She also heads the Business Writing and Presentation Studio at her College of Business and is the developer and coordinator of the undergraduate Business Writing Fundamentals program. Dr. Lentz has particular interests in qualitative research on narrative and organizational culture, genre theory, and writing education. She has contributed to journals such as Business and Professional Communication Quarterly, Wisconsin Business Education Association Journal, Equal Opportunities International, Journal of Health Administration Communication, Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management. Her book, Business Rhetoric Theory and Practice in Her Communication Classroom, Dr. Babson Her College Kristen Getchell, was awarded the Association for Business Communications 2019 Distinguished Book on Business Communication Award. She also serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Business Communications and chairs the Academic Environment Committee. She continues to work as a freelance editor and provides consulting and writing services. She earned her BA from Coe College, her MA from UWE Claire, and a PhD in Rhetoric and Science and Technology Communication from the University of Minnesota.

Business communication: summary

Negotiations, correspondence, meetings - a sore subject for many managers and professionals. We tell you about the basic principles and rules of business communication.

Business communication - all communication on business issues. A lot depends on how you master it: whether employees will understand the tasks correctly, whether the manager will approve the promotion, whether colleagues will fulfill the request.

What is business communication and what forms does it take?

Communication is an exchange of information between people. According to researchers, it accounts for 70% of working time: a person talks, reads, writes, listens, watches videos.

Business communication is an exchange of information between people for the solution of work tasks and achievement of professional aims. To put it simply, it is any communication on work issues. It doesn't matter if you're a freelancer or a company employee. It also doesn't matter if you communicate in writing or orally.

Business communication involves everyone - even those who don't work for hire and those who don't work at all - because in-store dialogue can also be seen as business communication. It has a purpose: the customer wants to buy a quality product, the seller wants to sell it and get a premium.

For forms of communication, researchers offer different classifications. The most common forms are as follows:

meetings; meetings; negotiations; presentations; business correspondence; business conversation.

Some of these forms can take on a genre flavor. For example, information can be exchanged in the form of an argument, dispute, debate, or bargaining.

Peculiarities of business communication that you need to be aware of

The main difference between business communication and personal communication is the goal. At work, you communicate in order to achieve some goal: to control the work, to find the contact of the person responsible for the task, or to find out when the project will be done. Personal communication may not have a clear goal.

There are also a few features of business communication that all managers and professionals should be aware of. They may seem intuitive, but not everyone takes them into account.

The narrow range of issues to be discussed. Business communication usually only discusses work issues. But there is a nuance.

Sometimes business negotiations take place in an informal setting. Then the conversation on the general themes, preceding discussion of working questions is appropriate. This culture of small talk - casual conversation about weather, sports, impressions.

In the European business environment small talk is a ritual and a sign of good tone. So, if you start a conversation on a general topic, support it. Do not bring up political, social and other issues that can cause polemics.

Less emotion. Business communication is aimed at transmitting and receiving information to solve professional problems. Personal communication is an exchange of emotions and feelings, an expression of sympathy or antipathy towards the interlocutor.

Therefore, when you communicate on business matters, it is better to keep your distance and not get emotionally involved. Adhere to the common principle: "Nothing personal - just business.

Interaction is mandatory. Communication is mandatory for participants, regardless of their wishes and attitudes toward each other. It's very difficult to refuse it.

But if you have unpleasant feelings towards a colleague or a client, you can formalize communication with him. For example, email rather than call. Discuss only the topics that are necessary for work. In a conflict situation this approach helps to defend your point of view and outline your area of responsibility.

Forms of communication are often regulated. In personal communication you can decide whether to call a friend or write in a messenger. In business communication there are regulations associated with corporate norms of etiquette and job hierarchy.

If you've recently begun a new job, or if you begin communicating with a person from another company, find out about the accepted practices. For example, find out where they communicate important news, and what tools are used for everyday communication - Slack, Zoho, Discord, Telegram or other.

Organized communication. Business communication is usually organized - thought out and planned. Participants formulate the purpose of communication, choose a convenient form, select the appropriate time and so on. When communicating with a colleague, supervisor or subordinate, you must understand why you are doing it and what results you want to achieve.

There is more freedom in personal communication. But it, too, can be organized - many people prefer to plan even friendly meetings in advance.

Business communication rules to follow

Business communication should be conducted by the rules. There are universal rules and rules for different forms and channels.

Here are general rules:

Express yourself clearly. For example, do not use unfamiliar slang to the interlocutor - this can lead to the fact that the recipient will not understand you. Consider the procedures of the organization in which the interlocutor works: working hours, preferred forms and channels of communication. Write and speak intelligently. This rule is often neglected in messengers and social networks. But literacy is important in all channels. Avoid uncomfortable forms of communication. For example, audio and video messages. The exception is if the interlocutor asked for it or it is necessary to correctly deliver the information. Communicate only on the matter at hand. You shouldn't go into unnecessary details and touch subjects that are not necessary to achieve the goal. Maintain a business style of communication. Don't get personal or use jargon. There are unspoken rules for each form and channel. For example, in any business correspondence, you need to follow the structure and layout of the text and not abuse emoji. This makes it easier for the interlocutor to read and perceive the information.

Reply in messengers must be quick. Within a day, or, better, within an hour.

In email correspondence you should fill in the Subject field, add a signature with your contacts, and reply to the interlocutor within one or two days. If you have several people in your email, it's better to use the "Reply to all" option.

Do not call the person you're calling - instead it's better to write to the email or messenger. If the call is necessary, it is better to write in advance and agree on a convenient time.

In conclusion: some tips on how to build business communication

These tips will help you in both business and personal communication.

Be polite. It does not matter with whom you are communicating - it is necessary to maintain goodwill without regard to the status of the interlocutor in the corporate hierarchy. Be tactful. Avoid personalities, flattery, and the rapid transition from formal to informal communication. This may be unacceptable to the interlocutor. Learn not only to talk, but also to listen. This is especially important for employees in sales, service, marketing, and service industries. Customers want their pain to be heard and their problem to be solved. But understanding what the pain and the problem are can only be understood by listening carefully to the person you are talking to. Learn to distinguish between constructive and nonconstructive criticism. Constructive criticism is aimed at solving the work problem, and nonconstructive criticism is directed at the person of the interlocutor. In the first case it is worth taking it into account, in the second - to give feedback and point out incorrect behavior. Get offended and react emotionally to criticism in both cases. Show empathy. More and more employees are of Generation Z: people born between 1997 and 2012. For them, expressions of caring and social "stroking" - praise, approval, likes on social networks - are especially important. These gestures will help motivate young professionals.

Work with feedback. If you're a manager, not only give feedback, but ask for it from your employees. That way they'll feel like they can influence the outcome of their work.

The essentials about business communication

Business communication is the exchange of information to solve work and professional problems. It differs from personal communication in that it has a purpose, it is obligatory for participants, regulated and better organized. The skill of business communication is necessary for everyone who wants to achieve something.

Noise can interfere with business communication. It is a distortion of the message due to poor communication or other reasons. Feedback can help you get rid of it - ask for it to make sure the person you are talking to understand you correctly.

Business communication has unspoken rules. It is necessary to express your thoughts accurately and competently, to keep the comfort of the interlocutor, to communicate on the case and, if possible, respond quickly. For effective communication you can follow simple tips - be polite, empathic, tactful, hear criticism and recognize unconstructive remarks. 

Problem Solving approach: how to effectively solve problems in a team?

Any problem-solving action on the part of a manager is, first of all, defining the problem and its causes, prioritizing and selecting alternatives for the best solution, and directly implementing that solution.

The ability to solve internal and external product and team problems in a timely manner and make responsible decisions is something that any aspiring product manager should learn at the start of his or her career.

Competent problem solving motivates team members to achieve far greater results than they can imagine.

By developing problem-solving skills, even the inexperienced product manager at the beginning of his or her career can improve team collaboration and the ability to deal with difficult situations. Working together will encourage team members to use different thinking styles and make decisions together.

Either way, teamwork to solve business problems is not a "check-the-box" activity, and you should take it seriously. It doesn't matter if you use a simple exercise, a fun game, or a scientific method to do it. What matters is that any problem solving activity is beneficial and removes obvious and hidden barriers.

Any problem solving method is designed to set the team's thinking in the right direction. But different methods are needed for each team. By learning new techniques and approaches, we expand our view of the problem and increase personal and team effectiveness.

No matter the size or nature of the problem, a systematic approach to problem solving will help you become a more effective product manager.

There are 5 basic steps in a systems approach to problem solving:

Identifying the problem Identification of the causes of the problem Generation of ideas Choosing the best solution Action

Identify the problem

Correctly defining the problem is the right step on the way to solving it. This is a very important step that will determine how you try to solve it.

For example, you have received a critical comment from one of your users/customers. The options for resolving the issue will vary depending on how you define the problem.

If you decide that the issue is due to the poor performance of a particular team member, you will develop different solutions to optimize his/her performance.

Identify the causes

Once the problem is identified, it's worth digging deeper and finding out what caused it. Ishikawa or fishbone diagrams are often used to determine cause and effect relationships.

If you see the problem as a gap between where you are now and where you want to be, the causes and problems are the obstacles that prevent you from immediately bridging that distance. 

This kind of analysis is quite effective because it helps to make sure that your solutions address the actual causes rather than the symptoms of the problem. If the solution you find fixes only the symptoms instead of the actual cause, the problem is likely to recur.

Generate ideas

Once the hard work of identifying the problem and figuring out the causes is complete, it's time to get creative and start "fountaining" ideas. Team meetings and brainstorming sessions are great for this.

Choosing the best solution

After your list of ideas that could solve the problem is long enough, you need to choose a single method of solution.

At this stage, you need to know how to work with priorities, which is so important to any product manager. A simple matrix used in the Lean Prioritization method will help you quickly and clearly put everything in its place. The best outcome for your problem will be the highest level solution on the matrix. You can draw such a matrix yourself on a piece of paper.

Or take advantage of available product management services that offer features and tools for prioritization. Such as Hygger, MindTools, or ProdPad.


When the perfect solution to a problem has been found, it's time to take action. If the solution involves multiple actions or requires additional actions from other team members, it is recommended that you create an action plan and treat it as a mini-project.

Using this simple five-step approach will certainly improve your problem-solving skills.

This approach (with varying degrees of modification) has been taken as the basis of many techniques to help solve team problems. Let's focus on some of them.

Techniques for analyzing causes and identifying solutions to problems

Root Cause Analysis

Root Cause Analysis or RCA is the process of looking for the root cause of a problem, analyzing it and creating a plan to solve it.

Often in reality it is difficult to distinguish the symptoms from the cause. The RCA model aims to identify the origin of the problem and consists of a specific set of steps:

Identifying what happened Identifying the causes of what happened Identifying the steps to make sure it doesn't happen again

The problem, more often than not, will include the following factors:

The physical factor - the problem is tangible and tangible. The human factor, involving a particular person's mistake. Organizational factor - when some process or system used to make decisions and perform tasks is faulty.

To analyze all facets of negative impact under RCA, all three factors must be addressed.

The principle of RCA is much the same as the other methods and consists of 5 sequential steps:

Identify the problem Gather the necessary information Identify possible causative factors Identify Root Causes Propose and implement a solution

It's important to be able to calculate what effect the solution can have.


The CATWOE method, as you can see, has nothing to do with cats. The abbreviation and the method itself is useful in gathering information about a problem.

The main principle of the technique is to decompose the problem into different zones of influence. Each initial letter in the abbreviation defines zones of influence: people, environments and processes.

Customers - who and what are they, how does the problem affect them? Actors - who is involved in the problem? Who should be involved in solving the problem? Transformation process - what processes are affected by the problem? World view - what is the overall picture of what is happening? Are there going to be global consequences? Owner - who owns the process/situation and what role will play in the solution? Environmental constraints - are there constraints that could affect the end result?

All six of these elements provide new perspectives and help you delve deeper into the problem. The CATWOE method provides more comprehensive data on the problem and helps determine the severity of the problem before actively involving other team members in the solution. 

Technique "5 Why"

This model is one of the simplest and most frequently used techniques for determining the causes of a problem. It is quick and easy to apply and is used for simple to moderately complex problems.

5 Why uses a 6-step flow:

Team Building. The discussion should bring together those who are directly related to the problem. Defining the problem if it is not defined. All team members should be in agreement with the definition. The main "Why?" Ask the question why the problem arose. When answering, use only facts without speculation. The rest of the "Why?" For the answer you get, ask the "Why?" question again. Continue this way until the main problem is found. There may be more or fewer questions like this, not five. Action Plan. When the team has identified the root cause, it's time to discuss a list of measures and actions to avoid repeating the problem in the future. Analysis. Analysis is also very important to avoid repeating the problem in the future. Discuss how effective the measures were, whether they helped to get rid of the problem or reduce its impact. If the goal was not achieved, the process must be repeated.

Here it is important to move quickly from the answer to the next question, which will allow the big picture to be determined before the mind makes a judgment about the problem.

While known methods and techniques require study, the simplest exercises and games for team problem solving can be applied without much preparation and without taking much time.

Business Problem-Solving Games

Business team games are a more informal version of problem solving. Most often, such activities are aimed at developing team communication, teamwork, delegation, adaptation, and other team-useful qualities and skills.

Such activities are not suitable for every team because they require a sufficient level of sensitivity from team members, flexible thinking, and creativity.

It is important for a manager organizing such activities to understand that there can be no winners or losers. Here are five examples of such activities:

Egg Drop

The activity develops teamwork skills and collective decision making. The game requires a dozen eggs (more or fewer depending on the size of the team) and any materials at hand (paper, newspapers, scotch tape, boxes, pencils, cocktail straws, clingfilm, tape, balloons, plastic dishes, etc.), as well as an activity area where you can temporarily litter.

Participants can be divided into several teams. Each gets an egg and chooses their "building materials." Everyone will have 15-20 minutes to build a protective "casket" for the egg that will keep it from breaking. Then participants drop their "caskets" from a predetermined height (table, floor of a building, stairs). The container with the egg will not break at a strong and cohesive team. If a few eggs survive - you can increase the height for the experiment until the best team is determined.

Sinking Ship

Activity develops the ability to adapt as part of a team. You'll need rope or duct tape to conduct the game.

Mark a limited area on the floor with rope or tape. The team should fit into the marked area. Now gradually reduce the limited space over a period of time. Participants must find a way to keep each other inside and not fall over the side of the "ship". The activity usually lasts up to 10 minutes.


Develops teamwork skills. All that is needed is a key, a locked room and 5-10 clue-tasks.

Once in the locked room, the team must find the key with the help of clues. Get out of the locked room must be in the allotted time. Usually for such an activity is enough for 30-45 minutes. To be successful in the game, the team must be able to act together and make common decisions.


The game develops communication skills. It requires an empty room or hallway, blindfolds and a set of common office supplies.

Scatter the supplies on the floor in a random order so that they represent an obstacle to get from one end of the room to the other.

Divide participants into pairs, with one partner blindfolded. The second partner should guide and guide the partner from one end of the room to the other without hitting any of the objects in the "minefield". Directing can only be done with words. If you run several pairs on the field at the same time, the task becomes more difficult.

"Blind" figure

The activity is also useful for developing communication skills. A rope and blindfolds will be needed for the activity.

Activity participants should put the blindfolds on and stand in a circle. The rope is tied together and placed in front of the participants also in the shape of a circle. The leader of the game calls the geometric figure that the participants should represent with the rope. Players can talk over, but the bandages can not be removed. The team that builds the necessary figure faster wins.



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