Topic outline

    • Assignment icon
      A1 - Written request (10%) - team assignment, due May 11 (peer review)/May 18, 21:00 (final)
      Not available unless: You belong to any group

      A1 - Written request (10%) - team assignment due May 11 (peer review)/May 18, 21:00 (final)

      Note: Assignment A1 is done in a team of 3-5 students. Teams will be formed at the beginning of the course.

      Learning outcomes

      • analyse an audience and define objectives to create a targeted business message
      • write a coherent and convincing, reader-friendly business message (request)
      • critically assess other business messages


      You are an active member of Aalto Management Consulting Association (AMCA). Together with some other active students, you have decided to organize a case competition next semester that is open for all Aalto University School of Business students. You have already identified 10 teams of four students that would like to participate.

      The reason for the competition is to help you and others to apply the knowledge you have learnt at university and develop the skills needed in working life, e.g. analytical, presentation and team-working skills.

      For the case competition, you need to find a case company. During the case competition day, you would want the company to present a real-life problem that they are facing at the moment. After the company and case problem introduction, participating teams would first have 4 hours to develop possible solutions to the problem and then 20 minutes to present their solutions to the judges. At the end of the day, two teams would be selected as the winning teams (one from each parallel session, see below).

      You would like to get the case company to commit to providing the following:

        • real-life problem that the company is facing and would like to get ideas for
        • one person to present the problem during the case competition day in a 1-hour session that would include a Q&A during which competitors could ask further questions
        • 3+3 employees to act as judges during the presentations that would be held in two parallel sessions. Each presentation would be 20 minutes + 10 minutes for Q&A.
        • light lunch and afternoon coffee for the 40 participants
        • some kind of a prize for the two winning teams


      Your task is to write an email to a real company of your choice to ask them to be the case company for the competition.

      Approach your task through these four steps:

      1. Analyze your communication situation and context.
      2. Plan how you can best persuade your audience to accept your arguments and take the requested action.
      3. Decide how you can use e.g. structure and style to make you message reader-friendly, appropriate and appealing.
      4. Write your email request.

      In planning and crafting your message, you should use both the lecture content (Cornerstones of Strategic and Persuasive Communication) and the course Inputs 1-3 (Communicating Strategically, Persuasive techniques and Reader-focused business writing).


      1.    Submit your A1 first version for peer review by May 11, 15:00. This will be peer reviewed during our session. Please note that this needs to be what you would consider a final version; this way, you'll be able to get useful feedback on the assignment. For this step, use the separate workshop under the section Peer Feedback Workshops/A1 Written Request – Peer Review

      2.    Write a final version based on the peer feedback. Upload this final version to this submission box by May 18, 21:00. PLEASE SUBMIT as a Word document (not a pdf)

      Evaluation criteria

      Please check the evaluation rubric available in this submission box or in the Materials/Rubrics folder before starting to work on the assignment and again before you submit.

    • Assignment icon
      A2a individual presentation strategy outline (15%) - due May 18, 9:00 Assignment
      Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

      A2a individual presentation strategy outline (15%) - due May 18, 9:00

      The assignment is divided into 2 parts: (1) presentation strategy outline and (2) presentation itself. Both are due on the same day, the outline submitted to this submission box before class and the presentation held in class.

      Assignment Details
      Your main task is to prepare a 5-minute individual
      persuasive (sell) presentation that you will deliver in class in week 3 of the course. The presentations will be given in small groups, and you will get feedback on your presentation from your group.

      You are advised to speak as yourself to your real audience. This means that you should not come up with imaginary scenarios (you speaking as somebody else and/or to some imaginary audience). Choose a topic that interests you or you are passionate about and come up with arguments that will sell the idea also to your fellow students.

      Before the actual presentation (= Assignment 2b), you will need to analyze the situation and plan properly to ensure that your presentation will be effective. As an outcome of your analysis and planning, you will need to present your plan as a written outline (2a). 

      Please note that also Assignment 5 is related to this assignment, as it is an evaluation paper on the two presentations, A2 and A4, that you give during the course. Please start working on A5 already after the individual presentation to make sure you have the presentation and the feedback you receive fresh in your mind.

      2a Presentation strategy outline (15%) instructions
      Write a strategy outline which (a) covers at least the points listed below (cornerstones of strategic and persuasive communication) and (b) links your analysis to the theory presented both in class and in Inputs 1 and 2.

      Please note that although your paper should cover the points listed on the next page, it should not just consist of these bullet points but rather be a proper outline with full sentences and explanations of your choices as well as with a good message and document design.

      Make sure your outline gives the reader (the instructor) a concrete idea of your plan, that is, what you will deliver to the presentation audience. Rather than writing, for example, "I will offer several reasons and evidences to back up my claim”, which is vague and doesn't tell the reader what these reasons are, you can write e.g. "My three reasons (or evidences etc.) are X, Y and Z. These reasons (or evidences etc.) will help address the two main concerns, namely A and B, that I expect that the presentation audience will have.”

      Length: 2 pages, single-spaced

      Evaluation criteria:

      Please take a look at the grading rubric for this assignment (in the submission box or in the Materials/Rubrics folder) before writing and submitting the outline

      Presentation Situation in a Nutshell

      Presentation Topic

        • What is the presentation about? Why did you choose this topic?

      Presentation Title

        • What would be a catchy title for your presentation?

      Communicator Design

      Communicator Goal

        • What do you want your audience to think, feel or do as a result of your message?
        • Describe your (1) communication goal, (2) action goal and (3) general goal. Defining these goals will help you make sure you are really planning a persuasive presentation (about “why”) and not an informative one (about “how”).

      Communicator Credibility

        • What is your initial credibility as a communicator in this situation? How will you try to enhance your credibility? (ETHOS)

      Audience Design

      Audience Analysis

        • Who is your audience? What do they know and expect? What don't they know? How do you think they feel about your topic?

      Audience Benefits 

        • How can you try to persuade your audience through audience benefits? What kind of audience benefits and appeals can you make? (PATHOS)

      Audience Focus 

        • How can you persuade your audience through you-attitude, positivity and politeness? (PATHOS)

      Message Design
      Argumentation Structure

        • How do you persuade your audience through strong argumentation? Define your claim – reason(s) – evidence(s) – warrant(s). (LOGOS)

      Message Approach

        • How can you persuade your audience/overcome possible resistance through structure? Can you use a direct approach, or would an indirect approach work better? Explain your choice. Can you employ a persuasive pattern (AIDA etc.)?

      Message Techniques

        • Could you increase persuasion and perhaps avoid resistance by using message techniques, such as foot-in-the-door, ask for more (than you need) or two-sided arguments? If yes, how would you use them?

      Delivery Design (modified from Document Design)

      Opening/introduction & Closing

        • How should you open the presentation to raise interest and make your purpose clear? How could you end so that you activate and convince your audience?

    • A2b: Individual persuasive presentation (5-min) - due in class May 18

      You can freely choose the topic, as long as it is persuasive, business-related and appropriate. See more detailed instructions under the Assignment A2a - the presentation outline.

      Visual support material: PowerPoint slides, Prezi-visuals or the like should NOT be used for this presentation.

      Procedure in breakout rooms in small groups


      • 15 min per speaker = 5 min presentation + 10 min feedback


      • ·Give your 5-minute presentation (make sure it is 5vmin and not 3 min or 7 min)
      • Practice your presentation in advance so that you do not have to read everything on your notes. If possible stand up for your presentation.
      • Record your presentation on your computer by pressing the rec button in the Zoom toolbar when you start. If you need the host’s permission, contact me though Ask for help – button.
      • Receive feedback from your peers:
      1. Write down the oral feedback you get from the audience
      2. Note also the possible written comments given via the chat function
      3. Make sure you catch all the feedback and also the video recording so that you can use them for A5.

      • Study in advance and have available during the feedback session the following document: A2 Peer Feedback Individual Presentation
      • Use that document to guide you in giving feedback to the speaker. Talk about both the good points of the presentation and the points to consider. It is important that the presenter gets comprehensive feedback in order to know what her/his strong and weaker points are.
      • Give oral feedback, but also write chat comments.

      Timekeepers (announced before the session):

      • Make sure the presentation does not exceed 7 minutes (cut off -time)
      • Make sure everybody in the audience contributes.
      • Make sure the 15 min time limit per speaker is not exceeded.
    • Assignment icon
      A3: In-class test written part (20%) - due May 25, 19:25 Assignment
      Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

      A3 In-class test May 25

      The in-class timed test has two separate parts: (1) a 45-min-quiz on the reading inputs to be found on MyCourses under a separate section: A3 in-class test: quiz on the readings and (2) a 1h 45min-written part, which lets you demonstrate how you are able to apply in practice the knowledge you have acquired, both at lectures and through readings.

      Please note that both parts are closed-book assignments, which means that you are NOT allowed to refer to notes, books or the internet. The test must be completed individually, without assistance or discussion.

      The tests will take place during a Zoom session, where you will be assigned to an individual breakout room. Your instructor has the option to join your breakout room and ask you to share your screen.

      You will receive the assignment for this written part when the assignment starts.

      You have 1 hour 45 minutes to complete the assignment.

      Submit your finished work in the MyCourses submission box for the task by May 25, 19:25

      Evaluation criteria: please check the evaluation rubric in the submission box or under Materials/Rubrics before writing and submitting the assignment.

    • A4: Persuasive Team Presentation (15%)

      The presentation will be given in the same teams you had in A1.

      Note that the assignment has several steps with different deadlines and submission boxes. These are explained below.

      With your team, do the following:

      1.     Choose any business-related topic

        • Business-related can be understood here rather broadly as being related to business world or business student world. 
        • Submit the topic and the preliminary title to MyCourses (into this task’s own submission box) by May 11, 21:00.

      2.     Plan a 10-minute persuasive team presentation.

        • Think carefully about your goals, your argumentation structure and your storyline to make sure your presentation is persuasive (why) and NOT informational (how).
        • Remember to act as yourselves to your real audience. Do not come up with imaginary roles for your team or your audience.

      3.     Design creative visuals that enhance your oral message. 

        • Submit your draft visuals to MC by Jun 1, 9:00 in TWO places:
          • Assignments; A4: Team Presentation Draft Slides
          • Peer Feedback Workshops: A4: Team Presentation Draft Slides - Peer review – NOTE: everyone needs to submit this individually as the submission type here does not consider groups.

      4.     Give feedback to 2 other teams’ visuals.

        • Do this through the peer review workshop by Jun 2, 9:00
        • The feedback session opens Jun 1, 10:30. This is individual work, and I will evaluate the quality of the feedback given.
        • You will get time to work on this also during the class but don’t count on that time too much! Start reviewing already before the class, if at all possible.

      5.     Rework and modify your presentation message and visuals based on the feedback.

      6.     Prepare a video of your presentation.

        • The video needs to be about 10 minutes long (not 7 or not 13 min).
        • It must include sections in which each team member speaks to the audience (= the camera is on the face, no slides shown)
        • It also must include sections in which your slides are in focus (= the camera is on the visuals, using share screen function, the face is shown in a small window)
        • You need to focus on making the presentation appealing through interesting and simple visuals, rich use of your voice (not being monotonous) and gripping content with very clear arguments and audience benefits.
        • Since you cannot (should not) meet each other, you can make the sections separately and then edit the clips so that you get a coherent and seamless presentation. Remember introductions and transitions between the team members!
        • You can use e.g. Zoom or Panopto to make your videos. Video editing tools can also be found easily.

        • You can look for inspiration and guidelines, e.g. here:

        • Upload your final slides and your presentation video in MyCourses by Jun 8, 12:00 in separate boxes:
          • Slides to A4: Team Presentation Final Slides
          • Video to A4: Team Presentation VIDEO – Note: submit the video but also copy the video link to the text box open. Or in case you have problems uploading the video, just copy the link in the text box

      7.     Join our final Zoom session on Jun 8 to watch all the videos together and give feedback both via the chat function and orally.

      A4 presentation grading criteria: 

      Please see the evaluation rubric in the A4 final version submission box or under Materials/Rubrics.


    • Assignment icon
      A4 team presentation: Topic and preliminary title - due May 11, 21:00 Assignment
      Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

      A4 team presentation: Topic and preliminary title - due May 11, 21:00

      No separate document submission but just type in here:

      • the topic (NOTE: this cannot be later changed)
      • the preliminary title (NOTE: this can be later changed) 
      of your presentation.

    • A4: Team Presentation Final Slides (15%) - due Jun 8, 12:00 

      Upload your team's final presentation visuals to this submission box before coming to class on the final presentation day (due Jun 8, 12:00). Also remember to upload the video and its link to a separate submission box with the same deadline.

      A4 presentation grading criteria: 

      Please see the evaluation rubric in the A4 final version submission box or under Materials/Rubrics.

    • Assignment icon
      A4: Team Presentation VIDEO (15%) - due Jun 8, 12:00 Assignment
      Not available unless: You are a(n) Student

      A4: Team Presentation VIDEO (15%) - due Jun 8, 12:00 

      Upload your team's presentation video to this submission box before coming to class on the final presentation day (due Apr 6 at 14:00).  

      Also copy the link to the video in the text box. If you are unable to upload the video, just provide the link

      A4 presentation grading criteria: 

      Please see the evaluation rubric in the A4 final version submission box or under Materials/Rubrics.

    • A5: Individual evaluation of presentation performance (20%) - due Jun 14, 23:00

      For this assignment you are asked to write a critical evaluation of the two persuasive presentations you have given on this course – individual A2 and team A4 – and to assess your overall presentation performance. The optimum length is 2-3 pages.

      The assignment has 3 parts:

      1.    Critical evaluation of your individual A2 presentation

      2.    Critical evaluation of your team A4 presentation

      3.    An overall evaluation of yourself as a presenter based on your BCS presentation performance

      Use the feedback you received from the instructor and fellow classmates and the video recordings as well as the theories of communication taken up during this course (both at the lectures and in readings) to help you carry out a rigorous analysis.

      In your evaluation, you should discuss all the listed points and take all the listed areas into account, but you should not just use bullet points and mechanically answer the questions, but write a structured, well-rounded and thought-out essay.

      Part 1: Critical evaluation of your individual A2 presentation

      • To what extent and through which factors/techniques etc. was your presentation persuasive? Discuss 3-5 points.
      • In what areas could you have done better in terms of persuasion? Discuss 3-5 points.
      • What do you intend to do differently in the next persuasive presentation assignment (be concrete)?

      Part 2: Critical evaluation of your team A4 presentation

      • What aspects of your team’s presentation made the presentation persuasive? Discuss 3-5 points.
      • In what ways could it have been more persuasive? Discuss 3-5 points.
      • How did what you learnt in the first presentation affect the way you approached the second presentation in terms of preparation and delivery?

      Part 3: An overall evaluation of yourself as a presenter based on your BCS presentation performance

      • What seem to be your strengths as a presenter?
      • What areas do you feel you still need to develop?
      • How was your overall experience about presenting during this course? What were the main takeaways or the biggest eureka moments?

      All three parts (A,B & C) of the evaluation should cover:

      Communication strategy

      • Definition of goals
      • Audience analysis
      • Choice of content and structure
      • Argumentation structure: claim, reason(s), evidence, warrant
      • Audience benefits and appeals  

      Presentation delivery

      • Introduction/opening and conclusion/closing
      • Slide design
      • Nonverbal communication
      • Language

      Evaluation criteria: please check the evaluation rubric in the submission box or under Materials/Rubrics before writing and submitting the assignment.