Institute of Commercial Management | Qualification Subject

International Business Communications

ICM Professional Diploma Unit

The Process of Communication

  • The objectives of communication
  • The meaning of words
  • Non-verbal communication
  • The context or situation
  • Barriers to communication
  • Why? Who? Where? When?
  • What? How?
  • Planning the message
  • Summary – how to communicate

Speaking Effectively

  • Basic speaking skills
  • Qualities to aim for when speaking
  • Summary – good speaking


  • Listening – the neglected skill
  • Reasons for improving listening
  • Are you a good listener?
  • Ten aids to good listening
  • Summary – good listening

Human Interaction and Non-verbal Communication

  • Metacommunication and paralanguage
  • The language of silence
  • The language of time
  • Body language or kinesics
  • The underlying psychology: NLP, El and TA
  • Conflict between verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Summary – the importance of paralanguage in human interaction

Talking on the Telephone

  • Telephone problems
  • Basic telephone rules
  • Receptionists
  • Making a call
  • Gathering information by telephone
  • Answering the telephone
  • Voicemail
  • Mobile phone manners
  • Summary – good telephoning


  • Interviewing weaknesses
  • What is an interview?
  • The purposes of the interview
  • Types of interview information
  • How to plan an interview
  • Structuring the interview
  • How to question and probe
  • Summary – Interviewing

Being Interviewed for a Job

  • Preparing – the organisation
  • Preparing – know yourself
  • At the interview
  • Tips to remember
  • Summary – being interviewed for a job

Communicating in Groups

  • Advantages of groups
  • Disadvantages of groups
  • Factors affecting group effectiveness
  • Summary – making groups and committees work

Running, and Taking Part in, Meetings

  • Chairing meetings
  • Decision-making methods
  • Responsibilities of participants
  • Duties of officers and members
  • The agenda
  • The minutes
  • Video-conferencing and audio-conferencing
  • Formal procedure

Giving a Talk

  • Techniques of public speaking
  • Preparation
  • Developing the material
  • Opening the talk
  • Closing the talk
  • Visual aids
  • Use of notes
  • Practising the talk
  • Room and platform layout
  • Delivery of the talk
  • Summary – being a good speaker

Using Visual Aids

  • General principles
  • Whiteboards, electronic copy boards, interactive boards
  • Flip charts
  • Build-up visuals
  • Physical objects
  • Models and experiments
  • Overhead projector (OHP)
  • Data projector or multimedia projector
  • 35mm slide projector
  • Videos and DVDs
  • Closed circuit television and video
  • Points to remember about visual aids
  • Video and DVD hire and purchase
  • Summary – being in control of visual aids

Faster Reading

  • How do you read?
  • The physical process of reading
  • Ways of increasing your vocabulary
  • Summary – faster reading

Better Reading

  • Determine reading priorities
  • Scanning
  • Skimming
  • SQ3R method of reading
  • Summary – better reading

Writing Business letters

  • Why good letter-writing matters
  • Backing up the phone call or meeting
  • Planning a letter
  • Layout and style
  • The structure of a letter
  • Dictating
  • Standard letters
  • Summary – writing business letters

Applying for a Job

  • What sort of job do you want?
  • What is available and what are they looking for?
  • The application itself
  • Job-hunting on the Internet
  • Summary – applying for a job

Writing Reports

  • What is a report?
  • Types of report
  • Essentials of a good report
  • What is the purpose of the report?
  • Fundamental structure
  • Format, layout, headings and numbering
  • Long formal reports
  • House style
  • How to get started
  • Setting your objective
  • Researching and assembling the material
  • Organising the material and planning the report
  • Writing the first draft
  • Editing the report
  • Producing the report
  • Summary – report writing

Memos, Messages, Forms and Questionnaires

  • Memos
  • Email
  • Fax
  • Postcards and reply cards
  • Text messaging
  • Forms and questionnaires
  • Summary – other writing tasks

Visual Communication

  • When to use charts and graphs
  • Presentation of statistical data
  • Presenting continuous information
  • Presenting discrete or non-continuous information
  • Presenting non-statistical information effectively

Getting to Grips with Grammar

  • Why does grammar matter?
  • What is grammar?
  • How good is your English?
  • The parts of speech in brief
  • The framework of English
  • The architecture of the sentence

Common Problems with English

  • Subject – verb agreement
  • Problems with verbs
  • Problems with adjectives
  • Problems with adverbs
  • Problems with pronouns
  • Problems with prepositions and conjunctions
  • Problems with ellipsis
  • Problems with negatives
  • Revision of grammar


  • A Punctuation made easy
  • B Using capitals
  • C Using numbers
  • D Business cliches or ‘commercialese’
  • E Commonly misused and confused words
  • F Ten (simple?) rules of spelling
  • G Commonly misspelled words
  • H Tips on modern business style
  • I Differences between men and women communicating

Example Candidate Response Booklet

Example Candidate Response (ECR) Booklets are a source of crucial information for Centres and Candidates as they use real candidate responses. We ask Senior Examiners to comment on five or more responses in terms of why the mark was awarded with commentary about how to improve the answer (if necessary).

Recommended Reading

Main Text:

“Mastering Communication” by Nicky Stanton, published by Palgrave Macmillan, 5th Edition

Indicative Text:

Alternative Text and Further Reading:

Practical Communications – F W Bergin (Pitman)

People of Communication – D W Evans (Pitman)

Basic Business Communication – K Lesikar (McGraw Hill)