accidental communication

when one person stimulates meaning in the mind of another without having any intention of doing so and without necessarily knowing that he or she has done so

action verbs

verbs found in job application materials that quickly identify a candidate's skills, achievements, and accomplishments

active listening

engaging with the speaker and the material you hear in an active way, such as by asking questions, paraphrasing ideas, and listening without judgement

active voice

a sentence structure where the subject carries out the action

Advertiser's Stance

a rhetorical corruption where the speaker or writer undervalues the subject and overvalues pure effect


the quality of being open to more than one interpretation

APA Style

the American Psychological Association (APA) Style is a style guide that provides guidance on how to format papers. For this course, we are using it only for rules on citing sources and creating reference entries.


the receiver or receivers of a message


preparing materials for a speech, report, or job package that a focus on the audience rather the speaker or the message

author-date citation system

a system for creating in-text citations that requires the inclusion of the author(s) last name, and the year the source was published. For RCM 200, we want you to also include the page number.


a universal principle or foundational truth that operates across cases or situations

back matter

the final part of your report, this is where your reader can find information that will help them learn more information about the topic. The elements are  the recommendations, the appendix and the references page


the personal history and personality traits of the speaker or writer

chronological résumé

a traditional résumé format whose main section is the "employment experience" section. Jobs are listed in reverse chronological order, with skills/achievements under each position


when a subject and verb are combined in a sentence. There are two types: independent clause and dependent clause.

comma splice

when two independent clauses are incorrectly joined by a comma


the process of one person stimulating meaning in the mind of another by means of a message


using the fewest words possible to achieve the goal of communication

connective statements

several types of statements or phrases that are designed to connect part of your speech to make it easier for audience members to follow


something that makes it difficult for your message to be received, such as beliefs, facts, interests, and motives. These can from both the rhetor and the audience

coordinating conjunctions

a word that joins two clauses. These include words like and, but, for, yet, nor, or, so

cover letter

also known as an "application letter," this document is your opportunity to establish a connection with the company you are applying to. You will pick a few significant qualifications that make you a good fit for the position and go into depth about each one.


a quality that allows others to trust and believe you

dependent clause

a clause that relies on another part of the sentence for meaning because it cannot stand on it's own

direct quote

a word-for-word copy of someone else's words and/or ideas.


a rhetorical appeal that addresses the values of an audience as well as establishes authorial credibility/character


a problem that needs to be solved. This "problem" isn't always negative though. It can be something that needs to be said or a task that needs to be completed

expressive communication

Communication that arises from the emotional, or motivational, state of the individual


a speech delivery method where the presentation is carefully planned and rehearsed, but spoken in a conversational manner using brief notes

extemporaneous speech

a type of speech delivery that is carefully planned and rehearsed, but uses minimal notes and is spoken in a conversational manner


our sense of self-worth in a given situation

face loss

the experience of feeling judged, or feeling that people do not recognize us as we perceive ourselves to be


information that a receiver sends back to the sender

focused topic

a specific topic for a written report or oral presentation that is neither too broad or too general.


the foundation upon which your credibility rests in a given interaction

front matter

the first group of elements that a reader will see of your report. These elements are the cover page, the transmittal document, the title page, the table of contents, the list of tables and figures, and the summary.

full block format

a standard letter format that has seven elements: (1) letterhead/logo, (2) the heading, (3) salutation, (4) the introduction, (5) the body, (6) the conclusion, (7) the signature line

functional (skills) résumé

a résumé format whose main section is the "Skills and Achievements" section. Skills are organized into categories. There is still an "Employment Experience" section, but it only include basic information about each position.

fused sentence

when two independent clauses are combined without any punctuation


a word ending in -ing that serves as a noun or adjective in a sentence, not a verb

gerund fragment

a type of sentence fragment where the issue is a gerund (an -ing word serving as a noun or adjective) being used incorrectly in a sentence


an image file that is usually animated in some way

header block

the section of a memo that contains detailed information on its recipient, sender, and purpose


a speech delivery method where a short message is presented without advanced preparation

in-text citation

also called a "citation," in-text citations are a mechanical way that a writer acknowledges the work of others. An in-text citation can take two forms: a parenthetical citation or a narrative citation.

independent clause

a clause that can stand on it's own because it conveys a complete idea.

informative report

a report where you establish your credibility so the audience will accept the facts you present


the phase of the job search process where you go from being an applicant on paper to a real, three dimensional person.


the phase of the job search process where you are evaluated on your verbal communication skills through face-to-face (or phone) interaction


an iterative process is a process for calculating a desired result by means of a repeated cycle of operations. An iterative process should be convergent, i.e., it should come closer to the desired result as the number of iterations increases.


certain words that are used by a profession or group that are difficult for others to understand

job package

a collection of documents that are used to apply for a position such as a cover letter and résumé


words in a job posting that highlight skills, qualities, and values that are important to a company


long strings of words that don't add much to the overall meaning of the message


a brief message to recipients that are often outside the organization


a rhetorical appeal that requires the use of logic, careful structure, and objective evidence to appeal to the audience


a speech delivery method where a message is read word-for-word off a written page or autocue device


a speech delivery method where a message is presented after being committed to memory by the speaker


full name "memoranda," these are documents sent within an organization to pass along or request information, outline policies, present short reports, or propose ideas

modes of appeal

Aristotle's means for persuading an audience. The modes are ethos, pathos, and logos

narrative citation

a type of citation where the source information is embedded into the text.  The author's name is in the text and is then followed by the year in parenthesis. The year is then followed by a signal verb. Include the page number at the end of the sentence in parenthesis. For example: MacLennan (2009) argues....(p. 10).


etiquette for using the internet, or more specifically, communicating in online spaces. This includes (1) knowing your context, (2) remembering the human, (3) recognizing that text is permanent, (4) avoiding flaming, and (5) respecting privacy and original ideas


information that is added unintentionally to a message during a transmission


an issue where the main action (a verb) is turned into a noun which overcomplicates the writing

non-verbal communication

the transfer of information through the use of body language including eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and more

non-verbal feedback

a type of feedback where you use your whole body to provide information to a speaker. Some examples include leaning your body in, using eye contact, and nodding affirmatively

oral report

a type of report where a person is using their voice to relay information


a visual structure where you can compile information into a well-organized document


a way to use your own words to present information. This method is more detailed and specific than a summary and retains the length of the original source.

parenthetical citation

a type of citation that comes at the end of a sentence where an outside source is used. The author, date, and page number go inside the parenthesis. For example: (MacLennan, 2009, p. 10)

passive voice

a sentence structure where the subject of a sentence receives an action instead of doing it


a rhetorical appeal that tries to tap into the audience's emotions to get them to agree with a claim

persuasive report

a report where you want the audience to accept the facts and you want them to change their thinking and actions


a group of words that are missing a subject, a verb, or both


when a person represents the ideas of another as their own original work

plain words

words that are more common and easier for readers to understand

popular sources

sources that are good for background information and ideas, but not for including in actual research


the first phase of the writing process where you gather information and content from sources to help generate materials in the drafting phase


the verb that conveys the action or state of being in a clause or sentence

preparation outline

a comprehensive form of outline that includes all of the information in your speech


words that show relationships between other words. Some examples include in, on, at, of, and under

preposition fragment

a type of sentence fragment where an issue with a preposition makes the sentence an incomplete idea

primary research

research that is often made up of first-person accounts and can be useful for issues where there is little research available


a technique for making your voice loud and clear that is more than just speaking loudly or shouting


how quickly or slowly you speak during a presentation


a person who receives a message from a sender

reference entry

detailed information about your source that a reader can use to find the information on their own. A reference entry should include, at minimum, the author(s) who generated the source, the date the source was published, the title of the source, and information on where the source can be found.

references page

a section of your report that will have reference entries for all of the sources you cite in your paper. All reference entries should be organized in alphabetical order by author last name or organization name, and, if the reference runs on to multiple lines, each successive line should be indented.


an account of your investigation into a subject, presented in a written document or oral presentation that has conventional formatting

report body

the main portion of the report that has all the content of your findings. The elements are the introduction, the discussion, and the conclusion.

research question

a question that a research project sets out to answer


a document that summarizes your education, skills, talents, employment history, and experiences in a clear and concise format for potential employers

reverse chronological order

a way of organizing your job experiences so that you are starting with the most recent job and working backwards toward your first job


a person who uses rhetoric to accomplish a task through communication


a practical, purposeful communication that attempts to create change in the world by enabling a rhetor to persuade people to change their beliefs or solve problems.

rhetorical audience

an audience that can take action to solve a problem and can be persuaded by the rhetor to take action

rhetorical balance

a way to construct a persuasive message that keeps a balance between three rhetorical elements: logos, pathos, and ethos.

rhetorical communication

the process of a source stimulating a source-selected meaning in the mind of a receiver by means of verbal and non-verbal messages

rhetorical corruptions/perversions

any issue that arises when one of the modes of appeal is out of balance. These corruptions/perversions are the pedant's stance, the advertiser's stance, and the entertainer's stance

rhetorical exigence

a "problem" that can be affected by human activity

rhetorical situation

also known as a "communication context," this is a complex of persons, events, objects, and relations presenting an actual or potential exigence which can be completely or partially removed if discourse, introduced into the situation, can so constrain human decision or action as to bring about the significant modification of the exigence.

run-on sentence

a writing error where two or more independent clauses are connected without proper punctuation

scholarly sources

sources that are typically peer-reviewed by experts, more technical in nature, and cite references


elements you must consider that can impact the message you create and how it will be received. For example, the audience, the purpose of your message, and constraints you must work within

secondary research

research the requires searching libraries and other locations for other peoples' published studies and research


the process of brainstorming your past accomplishments, skills, and achievements


a person who sends a message

sentence fragment

a writing error where a sentence is missing a subject or verb

Shannon-Weaver Model

also known as the transmission model, this communication model shows communication as a linear process where a sender encodes information and sends it to a receiver who decodes it


an acronym that stands for the six parts of a report: (1) summary, (2) introduction, (3) discussion, (4) conclusion, (5) recommendations, (6) appendix

signal verb

a special verb that show the reader how an author is expressing their ideas

simple future

a verb tense that is used to talk about things that haven't happened yet

simple past

a verb tense that is used to talk about things that happened or existed before now

simple present

a verb tense that is used show an action is happening right now or that it happens regularly


a person sending a message through their voice

speaking outline

a keyword outline used to deliver an extemporaneous speech


the topic being discussed in a clause or sentence

subordinate conjunction

a word that connects a dependent clause to an independent clause. It shows a cause-and-effect relationship or a shift in time and place between the two clauses

subordinate conjunction fragment

a type of sentence fragment that is caused by an issue with a subordinate conjunction


a way to use your own words to present your own information. This method is used for describing an entire source. This means that you will focus only on main ideas and not go into details.

targeted (hybrid) résumé

a résumé format that includes, both, a well-developed "Skills and Achievements" section that highlights a candidates most relevant skills and includes bullet points under each job in the "Employment Experience" section

team chat applications

a program, such as Slack or Microsoft Teams, that companies use to promote efficient communication across their workforce

technical communication

any communication on a specialized, technical topic

thank you note

a brief note that thanks the interviewers for meeting with you. It should also express your continued interest in the position, reference something specific from the conversation, and remind them of your qualifications

the advertiser's stance

a rhetorical corruption that occurs when the speaker or writer undervalues the subject of the message and focuses more on the effect of the message

the entertainer's stance

a rhetorical corruption that occurs when the speaker or writer undervalues establishing their credibility to an audience

the pedant's stance

a rhetorical corruption that occurs when the speaker or writer underplays the relationship of the speaker to the audience

the rhetorical triangle

a communication model that states the elements of communication—the speaker, audience, and message—are related to each of the others, showing that communication is a complex, dynamic system


the attitude of a communicator toward the message being delivered and/or the audience receiving the message


types of communication that are highly designed to create a purposeful exchange between the sender and receiver of a message

transition words

words that are used to connect words, phrases, or sentences. Examples include: as a matter of fact, moreover, in other words, and as a result


a word that conveys the action or state of being in a sentence

verb tenses

grammatical ways of altering verbs to show when a person does something, or when something existed or happened

verbal delivery

using your voice to communicate a message through projection, vocal enunciation and punctuation, pace and rate, and vocal pauses

verbal feedback

a type of feedback where you ask specifics types of questions to help guide the speaker. These include open-ended questions, clarifying questions, and questions that confirm understanding

visual delivery

the way you use elements of nonverbal communication—eye contact, facial expressions, attire, and movement—to communicate your message

Vocal enunciation

a speaking technique where words are pronounced correctly and expressed in such a way that it draws in the audience

vocal pauses

a strategic pause during a presentation that gives your audience a chance to fully understand what has been said

written report

a type of report where a person uses writing to relay information


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Effective Professional Communication: A Rhetorical Approach Copyright © 2021 by Rebekah Bennetch; Corey Owen; and Zachary Keesey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book