SPÅ 2902 Business Communication in English - Effective Negotiations and Presentations (Oral)


SPÅ 2902 Business Communication in English - Effective Negotiations and Presentations (Oral)

Responsible for the course
Charles Cooper

Department of Communication and Culture

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

The course is relevant for students who believe that their bachelor programme selection may be preparing them for a future in an international business environment. It will enable them to strengthen their skills in two important areas of business communication that must often be carried out in English: (1) negotiations and (2) presentations.

Learning outcome
The overall objective of this course, in common with the other English course (see SPÅ 2901), is that students develop skills which will enable them to communicate effectively in an international business environment. By the end of the course students will first have developed their competence as negotiators and will be able to reason and reflect orally in English on both the theoretical aspects of negotiation strategy and on their experience from negotiation practice. Second, they will also have developed their skill in preparing and making an effective business presentation in English.

Acquired knowledge
Students will acquire a thorough theoretical knowledge of the two major approaches to negotiation theory: principled negotiating and distributive negotiating, and be able to explain them in their own words. Students will also acquire an appreciation of business presentations as a communicative exchange.

Acquired skills
Students will develop the formal language skills necessary for negotiating in English. In addition, they will test their acquired theoretical knowledge of negotiation strategies by trying to apply it in the practice of several negotiation cases. Students will acquire the skills necessary for preparing and delivering a persuasive business presentation in English.

Students should be able to reflect over the appropriateness of particular negotiation strategies in specific negotiating situations and to evaluate their usefulness so that they can discuss the strengths and weaknesses of them. They should also be able to reflect over the communicative context in which a particular business presentation is delivered and how that ought to affect the content of the presentation they deliver.

English from upper secondary school or equivalent.

Compulsory reading
Brown, Mark and Peter Cleaverley. 2010. Business cases for negotiation : student handbook : SPÅ 2902. 4th ed. BI Forlag
Fisher, Roger and William Ury, with Bruce Patton, eds. 2011. Getting to yes : negotiating an agreement without giving in. 3rd rev. ed. Penguin Books
Levin, Peter & Graham Topping. 2006. Perfect presentations!. Open University Press

Collection of articles:
Groth, Brian and Gilly Warner-Søderholm. 2010. Compendium of Articles for Negotiations. Handelshøyskolen BI

Obligatory lecture notes that are published on Itslearning

Recommended reading
English - English dictionary, for example: Collins Cobuild, Longman, Webster's or Oxford.
Hansen, Einar. 2007. Bedre engelsk forretningsspråk : spesialordbok i økonomisk administrativt fagspråk. 5. utg. Cappelen akademisk forlag

Magazines: The Economist, Newsweek or Time.

Course outline

  1. Business cases and negotiation techniques.
    • Introduction to negotiating
    • Distributive bargaining
    • Principled negotiating
    • Criticism of the negotiating theories
    • Four business cases requiring students to negotiate. Each process concluded with discussion/reflection over the negotiation process.
  2. Presentation
    • Introduction to presentations.
    • What makes a presentation effective?
    • All students develop their own presentation with advice and guidance.
    • ‘Dress rehearsal’ presentation in front of teacher and other students.

Computer-based tools
Students are encouraged to use the Internet during the course, as well as participate in discussion groups and assigned tasks on It’s learning.

Learning process and workload
Students should start the course by learning what will be required of them in the oral exam. They can do this by reading carefully the document which describes the procedure for the oral exam. They can test how well they have understood its contents by taking a multiple choice test on It’s Learning. The questions for the test will be generated randomly from a larger list of questions all of which are based on the procedure for the SPÅ 2902 exam.

1. Business cases and negotiation techniques. Students must be active from the start in acquiring knowledge of two alternative negotiation strategies provided in the compulsory literature. Time is also allotted for classroom teaching to help in this process. The course provides students with four business cases in which they can try to implement these theoretical negotiating ideas in practice. One of the negotiations may be carried out on It’s Learning. This process requires students to reflect over both their own negotiating experience as well as providing a peer-review of another student team’s negotiating. It is completed with a review session with the class teacher in which students must reflect over how well they managed to apply a negotiation strategy to the particular case.

2. Presentation
Students are themselves responsible for identifying a suitable topic for their presentation, constructing a suitable context within which their presentation could be delivered and then developing it, practicing it and, ultimately delivering it at the oral exam. Class teachers provide advice and guidance to students during this process.

Workload for the students. According to ECTS norms a student should work 200 hours including lectures and exams to obtain 7.5 credits. The following allocation of time is provided for students as a guide.
Activity Use of hours
Reading the document which describes the procedure for the oral exam and learning its content.
Presentation – reading the course literature and classroom teaching
Presentation – development of presentation
Presentation – rehearsals
Negotiating - reading the course literature thoroughly/carefully
Classroom participation on negotiation theories
Preparation for three classroom negotiations
Classroom negotiation of three business cases
Post-negotiation evaluation of the three cases
Net-based negotiation of case two with follow-up evaluation. (Students who also negotiate this case in the classroom, will spend these 24 hours there instead.)
SPÅ 2902 oral exam (20 minutes)
Total recommended use of hours

    The oral exam consists of two sections which are weighted two to one (2:1). Candidates must achieve a passing grade in both sections to pass the exam. The course grading guidelines provide a comprehensive description of what is expected of the presentations and the ‘negotiations’ discussion. All candidates are required to acquaint themselves thoroughly with these guidelines and are therefore, expected to follow them in the exam. The two parts of the exam are, in chronological order:

    1) A 6 to 7 minute presentation in a business/professional/organizational context which occupies one third of the examination time and counts for one third of the overall grade. The student, in his/her role of presenter, must make an explicit attempt to persuade the audience that they should either do something or think something which they otherwise would not.

    2) A 12-13 minute ‘negotiations’ discussion, which, occupying two thirds of the available examination time, counts for two thirds of the overall grade. The business case selected for discussion is chosen at random. No second choice is permitted. The discussion is led by the examiner and is based on the negotiation theory which is studied during the course and the experience of the candidate in attempting to use the theory in the negotiation of the business cases that they attempt to solve during the course

    NB. The exam can either be taken individually or with one other course participant. For those opting for a pair evaluation the times indicated above should be doubled. Candidates receive an individual grade.

    Examination code(s)
    SPÅ 29021 - Oral exam accounts for 100% of the final grade in the course SPÅ 2902 Business Communication in English - Effective Negotiations and Presentations (Oral), 7,5 credits.

    Examination support materials
    Powerpoint slides for the business presentation. You may take notes into the exam room to help you with your presentation. They must be in the form of bullet points with a maximum of three words per bullet point. You must NOT have any full English sentences in your notes.
    For the second half of the exam in which you discuss one of the negotiations, notes are NOT permitted.

    Re-sit examination
    A re-sit examination is held in every term.

    Additional information