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Business Education | Career Readiness | Communication Skills

What Is the Communication Skills for Business Certification?

April 6th, 2022 | 6 min. read

Mike Cescon

Mike Cescon

With past experience in teaching, a couple of degrees in writing, and an upbringing immersed in medical jargon, Mike is positioned well to hear out the most common questions teachers ask about the iCEV curriculum. His goal is to write content that quickly and effectively answers these questions so you can back to what matters - teaching your students.

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Many business education programs across the US are looking to expand their curriculum to include certification options for their students.

As a curriculum provider, teachers often ask us what certifications are available, and how our curriculum aligns with those certifications

While there are many technology-related certifications such as Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS)  and IC3 Digital Literacy, many teachers want their students to develop the soft skills needed in professional careers.

One certification that focuses on soft and career readiness skills is the Communication Skills for Business (CSB) Professional Communication Certification from Certiport. 

In this article, we’ll answer the two most common questions teachers ask us about the CSB Professional Communication certification:

  1. What do students need to know for the Communication Skills for Business certification?
  2. How do I prepare students for the Communication Skills for Business certification?

Understanding this will help you decide whether or not this certification will make a good addition to your program.

1. What Do Students Need to Know for the Communication Skills for Business Certification?

what do students need to know for the CSB exam

Note: Communication Skills for Business (CSB) has now been divided into two certifications: Professional Communication, and English for IT. For the purposes of this article, we'll focus on the Professional Communication certification, since it aligns more closely with the original CSB exam. 

In today’s workplace, 21st Century skills are crucial for success. And while there are twelve 21st Century skills in total, the four C’s are often considered to be the most important - critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.


The CSB Professional Communication certification primarily focuses on teaching communication skills, however it will help candidates develop critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity as well.

It provides proof that students understand the core principles of good communication, and have the skills required to be effective and efficient in their job. 

The CSB Professional Communication certification exam includes 35-50 questions covering six domains:

  1. Describe Basic Communication Principles
  2. Plan for Effective Communication
  3. Apply Best Practices for Creating
  4. Deliver Your Message
  5. Receive Communications
  6. Analyze Communication Scenarios

Each domain includes key objectives that indicate what knowledge and skills students need for exam success. Let’s dive into the details:

Domain 1. Describe Basic Communication Principles

basic communication principles

The first domain has two key objectives focused on basic communication skills.

1.1 Identify professional communication skills

  • Differentiating between professional and unprofessional behaviors
  • Recognizing a professional email address
  • Cultivating an appropriate social media presence
  • Exploring time-management skills

1.2 Identify effective verbal, nonverbal, and listening skills

  • Basic delivery standards such as making eye contact
  • Communicating via nonverbal methods
  • Moderating intonation, rate, tone, volume, and enunciation
  • Keeping your attention on the message
  • Deferring judgment

Domain 2. Plan for Effective Communication

plan for effective communication

The second domain of the CSB exam includes six key objectives centered around planning for effective communication.

2.1 Analyze the effect of the audience on a message

  • Identifying how to craft an effective message for your audience
  • Analyzing audience demographics and statistical factors by which population is measured
2.2 Analyze the effect of the environment on a message
  • Understanding the impact of in-person vs. remote, audience size, room size, and available equipment
2.3 Given a communication scenario, identify the specific purpose
  • Identifying the primary message you need to deliver
  • Distinguishing between informative, persuasive, and motivational messages
  • Differentiating between ethical, emotional, and logical persuasion
2.4 Given a communication scenario, address ethical and legal issues
  • Defining and identifying issues related to accessibility, attribution, bias free communication, confidentiality, copyright, trademark, and plagiarism
  • Responding to requests for data
  • Identifying biased communication terminology
  • Ensuring that presentations and documents comply with accessibility standards
  • Removing personal information from presentations and documents
2.5 Given a business scenario, select the most appropriate communication
  • Verbal messages such as face-to-face discussions and phone calls
  • Written messages such as emails, letters, job applications, and resumes
  • Visual messages such as presentations and videos
  • Business-related social media messages
2.6 Effectively outline and summarize your message
  • Developing a complete and concise outline
  • Outlining messages
  • Summarizing your planned message

Domain 3. Apply Best Practices for Creating Deliverables

best practices for creating communication deliverables

The third domain of the exam includes three key objectives focused on effectively creating deliverables.

3.1 Assemble accurate business communication deliverables
  • Creating business communications
  • Analyzing the effectiveness of different forms of business communications
  • Using spelling and grammar tools
3.2 Apply visual design standards to business communications
  • Identifying design principles of business communications
  • Distinguishing among effective and ineffective visual designs for common forms of business communications
3.3 Identify effective uses of data visualization to present complex information
  • Types of data visualization such as graphs, charts, plots, and infographics
  • Accurate visual representation of data
  • Interpreting the message of a data visualization graphic

Domain 4. Deliver Your Message

deliver a message

The fourth domain contains two key objectives focused on effectively delivering a message.

4.1 Describe the variables involved in delivering an effective message
  • Personal presentation, such as attire and hygiene
  • Environmental variables including location, physical space, and formality
  • Issues such as regional language variations, imprecise language, jargon, context, and perceptions
4.2 Identify methods of adapting a message based on audience feedback
  • Direct feedback
  • Indirect feedback, such as body language

Domain 5. Receive Communications

receive communications

The fifth domain of the CSB certification exam has two key objectives related to receiving communications from others.

5.1 Given a business communication, restate the key points of the message
  • Identifying the primary goal of a specific communication
  • Summarizing verbal or written messages
5.2 Given a message, identify appropriate responses or clarifying questions
  • Responding to and clarifying messages

Domain 6. Analyze Communication Scenarios

analyze communication scenarios

The sixth domain on the exam includes four key objectives focused on analyzing different communication scenarios.

6.1 Analyze important factors of obtaining employment
  • Identifying common mistakes made by interviewers and applicants
  • Distinguishing between appropriate and inappropriate job application documents
6.2 Analyze expressions of and responses to feedback
  • Giving constructive criticism
  • Receiving constructive and destructive criticism
  • Seeking feedback
  • Setting and clarifying expectations
  • Modeling correct behavior
6.3 Analyze communication etiquette within a business hierarchy
  • Communications with supervisors, peers, and subordinates
  • Collaborating with a group
6.4 Given a customer service request, identify the problem, solution, and appropriate action
  • Identifying and restating the problem
  • Identifying the customer’s desired solution
  • Interfacing with team members and customers

2. How to Prepare Students for the Communication Skills for Business Certification Exam

communication skills certification prep

Now that you know what’s on this business certification exam, your next question is likely: How can I ensure my students have the knowledge and skills needed to earn this certification?

Certiport provides a 3-hour courseware through LearnKey specifically designed to help prepare students for the CSB certification. In addition, GMetrix provides practice tests to help students prepare for exam day.

However, while these test prep materials are a great way to prepare students for the certification, they won't help you teach the foundational business and career readiness skills your students need. 

That’s why so many teachers use a combination of test prep materials along with a more robust business and career curriculum, like Business&ITCenter21.

Business&ITCenter21 is used by thousands of teachers like you to save time with planning and grading while maximizing student understanding and engagement. 


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