Business Communication (FBLA)

Category: Objective Test
Type: Individual


60-minute test administered during the NLC.

Objective Test Competencies: Nonverbal and Verbal Communication; Communication Concepts; Report Application; Grammar; Reading Comprehension; Editing and Proofreading; Word Definition and Usage; Capitalization and Punctuation; Spelling; Digital Communication

Skills: Learning to communicate in a manner that is clearly understood by the receiver of the message is a major task of all businesspeople. This event provides recognition for FBLA members who work toward improving their business communication skills of writing, speaking, and listening.


Objective Test

Objective Test Guidelines

  • No materials may be brought to the testing site.
  • Electronic devices must be turned off and out of sight.
  • No calculators may be brought into the testing site; calculators will be provided.
  • Bring a writing instrument.

The general event guidelines below are applicable to all national competitive events. Please review and follow these guidelines when competing at the national level. When competing at the state level, check the state guidelines since they may differ.


  • Dues: Competitors must have paid FBLA national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on April 1 of the current school year.
  • NLC Registration: Participants must be registered for the NLC and pay the national conference registration fee in order to participate in competitive events.
  • Deadlines: The state chair, or designee, must register each state competitor on the official online entry forms by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • Each state may submit four (4) entries in all events except LifeSmarts, Virtual Business Finance Challenge, and Virtual Business Management Challenge.
  • Each competitor can only compete in one (1) individual/ team event and one (1) chapter event.
  • Each competitor must compete in all parts of an event for award eligibility.
  • A team shall consist of two or three members. Exceptions are Parliamentary Procedure which must be a team of four or five members, and LifeSmarts which must be a team of two members.
  • All members of a team must consist of individuals from the same chapter.

Repeat Competitors

Competitors are not permitted to compete in an event more than once at the national level unless one of the following circumstances applies:

  • Modified Events: A competitor may compete in the same event when the event is modified. Note, if the only modification is a name change, competitors may not compete in the renamed event.
  • Team Events: One (1) competitor of the team may have competed in the same event at one (1) previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice in the event at the national level.
  • Chapter Events: Competitors may compete in a chapter event more than once (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, and Partnership with Business Project).
  • Individual Entry: A competitor who competed as an individual entry in a team event at the national level may compete in the same event a second time as part of a team, but not a second time as an individual.
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Two (2) competitors of the team may have competed in this event at a previous NLC; however, they may not compete more than twice at the national level.
  • Pilot Event: Competition in a pilot event does not disqualify a competitor from competing in the same event if it becomes an official competitive event. The participant may compete in another event as well as a pilot event.

Breaking Ties

  • Objective Tests: Ties are broken by comparing the correct number of answers to the last 10 questions on the exam. If a tie remains, the competitor who completed the test in a shorter amount of time will place higher. If this does not break the tie, answers to the last 20 questions will be reviewed and determine the winner.
  • Objective and Production Tests: The production test scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Objective Tests and Performances: The objective test score will be used to break a tie based on the tie-breaking criteria of objective tests.
  • Reports/Projects and Performances: The report/project scores will be used to break a tie.
  • Performances: Judges must break ties and all judges’ decisions are final.

National Deadlines

  • State chair/adviser must register all competitors for NLC competitive events online by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All prejudged components (report PDFs, resume/letter of application PDFs, and project URLs) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the second Friday in May.
  • All URLs and PDFs for prejudged projects and reports will be submitted by the state adviser via the competitive events registration form.
  • All production tests must be received at FBLA-PBL by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the third Friday in May.
  • All production tests must be uploaded online.
  • State chair/adviser may make name changes only (no additional entries) by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the first Friday in June. Competitor drops are the only changes allowed after this date and onsite.

National Awards

The number of competitors will determine the number of winners. The maximum number of winners for each competitive event is 10. Only one (1) award is given to the schools competing in chapter events (American Enterprise Project, Community Service Project, Local Chapter Annual Business Report, and Partnership with Business Project).

Additional Materials

Certain events may allow the use of additional materials. Please refer to event guidelines.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

FBLA‑PBL meets the criteria specified in the Americans with Disabilities Act for all participants who submit a special needs form.

Recording of Presentations

No unauthorized audio or video recording devices will be allowed in any competitive event. Participants in the performance events should be aware the national association reserves the right to record any performance for use in study or training materials.


General Competitive Events Tips
Event Tips
Sample Practice Materials

Format Guide

Website Resources
Nonverbal and Verbal Communication
1. Demonstrate effective active listening techniques and identify major barriers to listening.
2. Listen objectively and record major points of a speaker’s message.
3. Explain the differences between verbal and nonverbal communication.
4. List examples of how nonverbal messages have different meanings in various cultures.
5. Identify and interpret the major types of verbal and nonverbal communication.
6. Describe and demonstrate basic speaking skills and their implications in the communication process.
7. Discuss various methods of presentation delivery including oral, written, multimedia, teleconferencing, and interactive.
8. Design effective presentations to include multimedia components of presentation software packages.
9. Identify and evaluate different types of presentations to include information, persuasive, and debate.
10. Use proper techniques to make an oral presentation.
11. Ask questions to clarify information.
12. Describe and analyze problems and barriers with differences in languages and customs on business operations.
13. Provide a clear description of a simple system or process or give clear, concise directions.
14. Express opinions and discuss issues positively and tactfully.
Communication Concepts
1. Describe the forms of communication.
2. Identify the five C’s of communication.
3. Discuss the role of letters, memos, and reports in business.
4. Manage telephone communications and use appropriate techniques to gather and record information.
5. Discuss communication techniques as they apply to internal and external customers.
6. Describe and analyze the impact of cultural diversity on the communication process.
7. Employ appropriate communication strategies for dealing with dissatisfied customers (e.g., face-to-face discussions, electronic correspondence, and writing).
8. Discuss the positive and negative aspects of the office “grapevine” and office politics.
9. Discuss discrimination and sexual harassment and its implications in the workplace.
10. Use bias-free language (e.g., gender, race, religion, physical challenges, and sexual orientation).
11. Plan a meeting to achieve an identified purpose (e.g., schedule the facilities, arrange for a speaker, and notify the participants).
12. Demonstrate effective negotiation and consensus-building techniques to provide or obtain appropriate feedback and resolve conflicts.
13. Evaluate appropriate and inappropriate methods of interacting with others in the workplace, including team-based workgroups.
14. Define and differentiate workplace relationships including supervisor, employee, client, and team member.
15. Define and interpret upward, downward, and horizontal communication and organizational structures.
16. Investigate and define the characteristics and advantages/disadvantages of team-based workgroups including members, roles, and expectations.
Report Application
1. Produce organized, coherent, and developed paragraphs with a clear topic sentence, effective transitions, and a relevant conclusion.
2. Describe and demonstrate the stages of the writing process to include planning, writing, editing, proofreading, and revising.
3. Write and design a document (e.g., memo, letter, report) using the correct style, format and content (e.g., letter, memorandum, report, e-mail) that is appropriate for the type of correspondence (e.g., persuasive, positive, negative).
4. Plan, compose, and produce instructions/directions, and descriptions.
5. Conduct research using the five basic steps: planning the search, locating sources of information, organizing the information, evaluating the sources, and using the information to prepare a short report on a business topic.
6. Identify and utilize traditional and electronic research sources such as encyclopedias, reference manuals, periodicals, Internet, etc.
7. Interpret, analyze, and evaluate information for relevance, purpose, timeliness, and authenticity.
8. Document all sources (e.g., print and electronic) using current standards.
9. Distinguish between paraphrasing, documentation, and plagiarism
10. Comprehend copyright laws and their applications to text, visual art, design, music, and photography.
11. Use scanning hardware and layout, design, and graphics software to enhance documents.
12. Compose and evaluate common types of business reports including informational reports, news releases, proposals, and policy statements.
13. Prepare presentation documents to include publicity, agenda, handouts, follow-up report, etc.
1. Describe and identify the eight parts of speech in context sentences.
2. Identify the difference between adverbs and adjectives.
3. Identify the categories of pronouns and uses of reflexive pronouns.
4. Identify features of prepositions and uses of prepositional phrases.
5. Identify types of conjunctions.
6. Use a verb that correctly agrees with the subject of a sentence.
7. Describe the types of verbs and demonstrate the six tenses.
8. Use irregular verbs and their different forms properly and distinguish transitive and intransitive verbs.
9. Identify subjects, predicates, verbs, adverbs, pronouns, direct and indirect objects, and prepositional and infinitive phrases in sentences.
10. Select pronouns properly and use them correctly in a sentence.
11. Correctly use a possessive noun in a sentence.
12. Create the plural form of a noun.
13. Identify and correct misplaced and dangling modifiers.
14. Describe and write the four kinds of sentences—declarative, interrogative, imperative, and exclamatory.
15. Recognize types of sentence fragments, run-on sentences, and double negatives.
16. Recognize and correct problems in grammar and usage including, but not limited to, completeness, agreement, reference, and form.
17. Write clear, descriptive sentences in a variety of sentence patterns (e.g., simple, compound, complex, and compound complex).
18. Write logical, coherent phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. Incorporate correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.
Reading Comprehension
1. Read and follow directions.
2. Demonstrate reading comprehension by restating or summarizing.
3. Differentiate between fact and opinion.
4. Summarize the important points of a document.
5. Identify and explain enhancements such as graphs, charts, tables, and illustrations/photographs for visual impact.
6. Interpret information from articles, manuals, etc.
7. Select the appropriate reading method (e.g. skimming, scanning, speed-reading, and in-depth reading) for a particular situation.
8. Identify factors that affect readability of text (e.g., sentence length, word selection, and type size).
9. Investigate the need for various reading skills in the workplace such as reading for information, summarization, drawing conclusions, making judgments, and following directions.
10. Evaluate the quality and reliability of source information.
11. Analyze information presented in a variety of formats such as tables, lists, and figures.
12. Use note taking skills that incorporate critical listening and reading techniques.
Editing and Proofreading
1. Proofread a paragraph and identify spelling, grammatical, and punctuation errors.
2. Proofread written communications with errors, using proofreader’s marks.
3. Proofread and edit business documents to ensure they are clear, correct, concise, complete, consistent, and courteous.
4. Review and edit for the effectiveness of word choices and sentence structure.
Word Definition and Usage
1. Recognize how word selection and usage affects communication.
2. Recognize slang, jargon, clichés, and common errors in word usage.
3. Use proper sentence structure.
4. Illustrate the proper way to divide words.
5. Identify homophones, synonyms, and homonyms.
6. Illustrate the ability to use a dictionary and thesaurus as an aid to spelling, pronunciation, and meaning.
7. Use contextual clues to recognize word meaning.
Capitalization and Punctuation
1. Determine appropriate use of periods, question marks, and exclamation points.
2. Explain the use of commas, colons, and semicolons.
3. Recognize and correct problems in punctuation including, but not limited to, commas, semicolons, and apostrophes.
4. Use apostrophes to indicate contractions and possessive constructions.
5. Use quotation marks to set off the words of a speaker or writer and to set off titles of short works and use punctuation with quotation marks.
6. Define the grammatical rules that govern the use of special punctuation marks such as the dash, hyphen, and parentheses.
7. Use appropriately ellipsis, italics, and underlining.
8. Identify how to capitalize sentences, proper nouns, abbreviations, adjectives, and titles correctly.
9. Write and use numbers according to standard practice in a sentence.
1. Illustrate the ability to spell correctly the words regularly used in writing.
2. Illustrate the ability to use a dictionary and thesaurus as an aid to spelling, pronunciation, and meaning.
3. Identify prefixes and suffixes.
4. Apply spelling rules to homonyms and commonly confusing words such as effect and affect.
5. Demonstrate application of spelling rules such as i before e, silent e, words ending in y, etc.
Digital Communication
1. Identify various forms of electronic communication, including new and emerging communication technologies.
2. Demonstrate and select the appropriate use of electronic messaging technologies (e.g., fax, voice mail, conference calls, chat rooms, and e-mail).
3. Manage e-mail to include composing and sending a message; retrieving, reading, and printing a message; and sending an attachment by e-mail.
4. Operate an e-mail account while using folders and address books.
5. Examine proper use of e-mail and other appropriate Internet/intranet communication capabilities, including business related terminology and language.
6. Explain the concept of copyright laws and their applications to text, visual art, design, music, and photography.
7. Recognize the legal implications of violating federal and state laws in multimedia/digital publishing.
8. Apply the etiquette rules for electronic messaging (e.g., e-mail, cellular telephone, and voice mail).
9. Discuss ways to keep data secure from theft and destruction.
10. Identify and describe new and emerging communication technologies.


NBEA Standards
  • Communication
Career Clusters
  • Business Management & Administration
  • Human Services
  • Marketing, Sales, & Service


States may submit up to 4 entries.
Competitors must be registered for NLC and pay registration fee.
Competitors must pay dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern on April 1.


Test: 1 hour