Have you ever considered the effect communication has on your company?
In the competitive, fast-paced world we live in, consumers and employees alike are bombarded with information. In today’s always-on world, you are only a click away from your next conversation with access to numerous technologies, enhancing the way we interact.
What sets you apart? What makes your business stand out from the crowd?
The bottom line is you want your business to be productive and make more money. Good communication is an excellent tool to have in your arsenal.
Effective Communication in the Business Sector
You go through the day, performing your daily tasks, rarely giving much thought to the way you communicate with others. If you have employees who are connected and engaged, it can lead to a productivity increase of 25%. How would that impact your profits? Where do you begin if you want to achieve this goal?
The answer might surprise you. You need to change the way you think about professional communication. It is the foundation of a successful business.
The Different Types of Communication
Excellent communication is much more than merely talking. You can divide it into the following four groups:
- Verbal communication: expressing yourself using words in sounds, language
- Written communication: when you are writing, typing or using letters and numbers to express meaning
- Non-verbal communication: expressing yourself through actions, such as body language, gestures, and facial expressions
- Visual communication: expressing yourself with the help of visual aids;, for example, advertising, videos, photography, and branding
Business Communication: A Definition
Business communication is the sharing of information. It takes place both internally (your employees and stakeholders) and externally (your customers). Communication is vital if you want your business to be successful.
You communicate with your customers in various ways: face-to-face, by telephone, in writing, with advertising and promotions.
Internal communication involves tasks such as meetings, presentations, branding, policies and procedures, and feedback to employees or business partners within the organization.
Business communication is useful when the message sent is clear and immediately understood. Such understanding is only possible when you use common and familiar words you already use in your everyday interactions.
The Importance of Business Communication
You can’t ignore the importance of effective organizational communication. Without it, no company can be successful. Excellent communication creates opportunities, opens doors, and facilitates understanding through four main ways:.
- It increases your company’s productivity.
- It helps to grow your customer base and create new business.
- It improves relationships with your business partners.
- It helps to facilitate innovation within your business.
Poor Communication Can Harm Your Business
The internet and social media have changed the way companies need to approach communication.
Here are a couple of examples:
- One disgruntled customer uploads a video to a social media platform ranting about the service they received. This video is then seen and shared by hundreds, if not thousands of people, and goes viral.
- When you send an email, do you think about what and how you’ve written something? Your poorly written email, littered with spelling errors, is forwarded to others, creating a snowball effect.
Either of these scenarios could cause considerable damage to your reputation and profitability, regardless of the types of business you run. Damage control could take hours of valuable time and productivity away from your actual goal of making money.
One way of avoiding these types of scenarios is a focused and dedicated approach to effective communication within your business. Create a communication center responsible for the creation and development of a communication style and communication process that would benefit everyone.
A company is only as good as the people running it. Management should never underestimate the power of positive communication and should not only practice it, but also encourage it within the business environment.
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Poor Business Communication Can Cost You Money
The use of effective business communication makes instructions, tasks, and expectations easier to understand.
In companies with 100 employees or less, up to 17 hours per week is spent clarifying previous communications. When you translate that into a cost, it works out to be approximately $525,000.
Such a cost is preventable and should encourage all businesses to be more focused on improving communication within the organization.
Some might argue that doing so would cost money; however, the reality is, not doing so is already costing you money. The money you spend improving organizational communication benefits your business, which has to be better than losses due to inactivity.
The Different Types of Business Communication
Every business is different. Each one has a unique style and approach to the way they communicate.
There are three main groups:
With more and more people having access to the internet, electronic communication has become the leading way in which companies connect. It is fast, cost-effective, and does not depend on your geographical location. You have access to a wealth of information and communication channels with the press of a single button.
There are various tools and platforms available. Tools like ezTalks Meetings bring your team together, regardless of where they are. Such tools cut out the need to organize meetings around geographic locations, therefore improving productivity.
You can also store video conferencing and information in the cloud. This method makes access to information more manageable. It also allows you to share and communicate documents, presentations, and recordings of your meetings.
The traditional way of oral communication includes things like live meetings, face-to-face interactions, telephone services, and the like. Because of the human interaction that takes place, many consider this to be the most effective form of communication. It helps with the generation of instant ideas and facilitates an open flow of thoughts.
It allows people to observe each other so they can pick up on non-verbal cues, such as tone of voice and body language. Such signals help people gain a better understanding. However, the other side of the coin is also important to consider, as people could easily misinterpret someone’s intent, leading to arguments and misunderstanding.
Written communication is more concise and includes things like formal letters, emails, print advertising, memos, and posters. It is a way of exchanging clear instructions, both internally and to your customers. Additionally, it creates a paper trail that helps you keep track of the decisions and actions you need to make. It also helps to guide future strategies.
A Practical Approach to Business Communication
You spend a great deal of time engaging in some form of communication on a daily basis. You write emails, participate in meetings, create reports, design presentations, and discuss strategies with fellow employees.
You can boost productivity by communicating clearly and effectively. MindTools developed a concept called the seven Cs of communication. It’s a checklist that serves as a beneficial tool to help you streamline your business communication.
Your message has more credibility with your customers and colleagues when you communicate better.
Communication needs to be:
Let’s look at each of these elements in more detail.
When you write to someone,, or you engage someone verbally, be clear about your goal or the message you want to deliver. Ask yourself what you want to convey. If you’re not sure, your audience won’t know either.
Minimize the number of ideas per sentence. Sentences need to be easy for your target audience to understand. They shouldn’t be expected to “read between the lines” and make assumptions.
What you want to say, and what action you want them to take must be explicit.
Keep it brief and stick to the point. If you can communicate something simply in two sentences, why use four?
Delete adverbs such as basically or literally, for instance, you see, and kind of.
If you’ve repeated the same point several times, remove the repetitive sentences.
Avoid long sentences with too many unnecessary words. For an average sentence to be effective in the business environment, it should be between 14 and 20 words.
For your message to have the necessary impact and give your audience a clear picture of what you are telling them, it needs to be concrete.
There should be details, but not too many, and a direct focus on actions they need to take.
The use of concrete words,, instead of abstract, words, forms a clear and sharp image in people’s minds.
Correct communication is communication that has no errors.
Use technical terms that fit the audience’s level of knowledge. Avoid words that are difficult to understand and are not grand to avoid any possible misunderstanding.
Make sure your work is free of grammatical errors, and that you spell names and titles correctly.
Is your communication logical? All points should be connected and relevant to what you are discussing. There should be a consistent flow in the tone of your text.
Using active verbs makes your writing direct, clear, informative, and thus easier to understand.
When your audience has everything they need to be informed and to take action, your message is complete.
Does what you say call them to action?. There should be no doubt.
Did you provide all the relevant information they need to complete the task?
Your communication should be friendly, open, and honest. There must be no undertone of aggression or hidden insults. Always keep the viewpoint of your audience in mind and be empathic to their needs.
Beyond the Written Word
Besides what you put on paper, there are other aspects to consider if you want to make your communication more effective.
You need to be more conscious of the non-verbal cues you communicate, such as your gestures, facial expressions, and body language. What you say and do matters, and by paying closer attention to your non-verbal cues, it makes it easier for others to understand you.
“How” we communicate with others is just as important as “what” we are trying to say.
Alan Greenspan summed it up perfectly in the following quote:
“I know you think you understand what you thought I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
Gaining Business Communication Skills
A Bachelor of Arts degree program in business communication, which is offered from various colleges and universities, gives students the skills to master the art of communication. Communication training and assignments help students to learn the skills needed to help them communicate more constructively. It also helps them become master communicators.
The core courses available for both certificate and graduate students help them in their professional development.
The key skills covered in these courses are:
- Interpersonal communication
- Reading and writing comprehension
- Business conflict management/problem solving and decision making
- Business writing
- Effective argumentation skills.
Students wishing to study at a college of business can research the schools that offer a bachelor’s degree in business communication.
A variety of pathways in business administration and communication careers are available to students to choose from, including advertising sales agents, public relations specialists, and marketing managers. However, it is prudent to mention that gaining practical business communication skills will benefit you in any career you choose to follow.
Never Underestimate the Importance of Good Communication
Communication skills are a critical factor in the success of any business, no matter what level you occupy within the organization.
It is up to management to nurture this skill and create opportunities for personal development and growth. Employees need to take these opportunities, as they will aid them in their career path. A nurtured employee is a productive staff member.
When people communicate well, the foundations of that business are solid. Your customers will be happy and impressed with the level of service they receive. Shareholders will also be satisfied with their return on investment. Productivity and profits will be up, and your company will thrive.
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Have there been some good examples of effective communication in your business? How do you keep your employees motivated and engaged? We’d appreciate it if you took some time to leave your comments.