Friday, June 21, 2013

Business communication

Communication is the mutual exchange of understanding between two or more parties. Communication is very important for the effective management of a business (Watkins, 2012). Business communication therefore involves constant flow of information within an organization. Organizations have grown in size leading to various levels of hierarchy involving a great number of people. Management duties are complicated by the number of people involved hence there is need for constant communication at all a level of the organization (Trainor, 2012).

Communication plays a very important role in controlling and directing people in the organization and enables managers to obtain feedback. Any misunderstandings within the organization can be identified and corrected through proper communication. There should be constant and effective communication between managers and subordinates within an organization, as well as, between the organization and the society at large. Effectual communication is essential for successful growth of any organization. This essay analyzes effective business communication and its importance to the organization.

Business communication can involve using channels, such as, the internet, radio, print media, television, word of mouth or ambient media. It can also be internal communication where the communication director crafts messages and sends them to individual employees. It is important to manage internal communication effectively to avoid hostility from employees. The main types of business communication include verbal, non-verbal, written, employment communication, electronic communication and team B communication (Bonnye et al, 2007).

Verbal communication involves the use of words for communicating while non-verbal communication is the use of body language or other physical gestures to pass the message. Both verbal and non-verbal communications are important for ensuring that the message is understood. Written forms of communication are also commonly used by companies to pass information within or outside the organization. The latest technology has led to increased use of electronic media such as emails, teleconferencing and satellite communication (Carol & Debbie, 2008). Team B communication is a form of communication that involves a cyber classroom where collaboration and teamwork results excellent performance. Employment communication refers to modes that are used for accepting job application.

Communication can be either structured or unstructured. Company newsletters, weekly meetings and annual general meetings are examples of structured forms of communication. Structured communications are usually recorded either online or in printed form, such as, newsletters, minutes or agendas for the meetings (Scot & Amy, 2009). They are also more fixed in nature and they are less likely to change as compared to unstructured communication. Structured communications are also widely known and easily accessible to many people hence open for scrutiny.

On the other hand, unstructured communication includes grapevine in which rumors are spread through the workers, water-cooler conversations and a chat between the employees. These forms of communication are less fixed in terms of time and place (Jones, 2011). They are dependant on personal emotional factors and they are more personalized. The conversations in this form tend to express feelings and attitude and raise questions than providing answers.

Communication within an organization can either be upward, down ward or lateral. Upward communication allows top managers to get information on the progress and problems within the organization (Bennie, 2009). It also gives lower level employees an opportunity to participate in the process of decision-making. However, upward communication can cut into managers’ time when many people need to express their views and it can also involve top managers in petty decisions at lower-level of the organization. Downward communication comes naturally since in most cases communication has to be made to the less-empowered individuals within the organization (Alshare et al, 2011).

This builds team spirit and creates mutual dependence on shared knowledge. Downward communication may lead to resentfulness among lower-level employees who always expect to be informed by their leaders of all matters within the organization. Lateral communication helps to establish social bonds among employees thus preventing disruptive behavior (Jones, 2011). This method builds credibility for messages as they are passed from equal level employees rather than upper-level managers. However, lateral communication may lead to formation of mutinous groups among the employees and isolation of individuals that are excluded from communication by their peers.

In all forms of communication, listening is very important for career success, worker satisfaction and organization effectiveness. Good listeners usually make good managers and they advance rapidly in their respective organizations (Pinfan, 2012). Employees spent most of their time listening hence making it the most important aspect of effective communication in business. Poor listening habits hinder understanding of the message which leads to ineffective communication. Poor listening may be caused by the lack of training, slowness of speech, competing sound and daydreaming. There are many types of listening in the workplace. The main types of listening include listening to customers, listening to superiors and listening to team members or fellow colleagues. New employees in most cases listen to superiors as they develop skills of listening to team members and colleagues.

Managers have to listen to subordinates and the entire organization has to listen to customers at all times. For effective listening, one needs to control both internal and external distractions. A person should move to a place where he or she can hear without any conflicting conversations and focus on the speaker totally (Alshare et al, 2011). In face to face communication, one should get involved in the conversation actively by leaning forward and maintaining eye contact. The listener should not try to handle another task in the course of listening but should watch out for nonverbal cues. It is important to separate facts from opinions.

Opinions are personal preferences or judgments and they should not be taken as facts. An effective listener should not interrupt others when they are speaking by either quick replies or opinions. Nonverbal disagreements, such as, shaking the head, audible sighs, rolling eyes or sarcastic snorting should not be shown by the listener (Jerman & Završnik, 2012). The listener should wait for appropriate moments and ask good questions that do not attack the speaker. The message should be rephrased and summarized in the listener`s own words to enhance understanding. Lag time should be used to review what the speaker has been saying. Notes should be taken for future reference and gender differences should be considered.

Proper understanding of information involves more than just listening to spoken messages. Nonverbal cues are also very important for effective communication. Nonverbal communication refers to all forms of unspoken and unwritten messages that may be either intentional or unintentional (Gayathri, 2012). Some of the common forms of nonverbal communication are eye contact, body movements, facial expression, time, space, appearance and distance. All these cues determine how the message is interpreted by the receiver. Most of the nonverbal messages are used intentionally by people to accompany their spoken words. However, people may also communicate nonverbally without intending to do so and not all nonverbal communications accompany spoken words.

The main barriers to effective business communication include the use of complex terms. Using technical terms can hinder understanding of the message resulting lack of communication (Tuleja et al, 2008). It is import to stick to the message and use concise and clear words that can be easily understood by everybody. Withholding information also hinders effective communication. Information that is needed should be readily available and easily accessible at all times. Management should also keep their subordinates informed and encourage them to give feedback. Ineffective communication processes can also hinder communication. Hierarchical levels should be reduced and departmental interactions increased to facilitate communication. Employees at all levels should interact freely and share important information. Competition can sometimes lead to lack of trust among employees which hinders communication.

Employees should be encouraged to communicate openly and honestly, share information and involve others in their decisions (Kankaanranta & Planken, 2010). Language barriers should be eliminated by the use of a common language that is understood by all people. This ensures that the message is understood by all people hence effective communication. Business communication promotes products, services or the organization and functions as an official statement from the company (Asha, 2006). It also relays information across various hierarchical levels in the company. Business communication should always be goal oriented. Company rules, regulations and policies should be communicated to people both within and outside the organization. The two main forms of communication are oral communication and written communication (Meredith, 2012).

Oral communication involves meetings, group discussions, interviews, speeches among others. Written communication on the other hand involves reports, memos, agendas and manuals. Technological advancement has led to adoption of various forms of communication including cell phones, emails, video conferencing and satellite communication among others. Effective business communication is essential for developing a positive reputation of the company and building goodwill.


Alshare, Khaled A.; Lane, Peggy L.; Miller, Donald, 2011. Journal of Education for Business. Vol. 86 Issue 3, p186-194. 9p. Asha Kaul, 2006. Effective Business Communication. Prentice-Hall Ltd. New Delhi Bennie, Michael, 2009. In: Mastering Business English. Edition: 5th ed. How To Books. eBook. 177p. Bonnye E. Stuart, Marilyn S. Sarow, Laurence Stuart, 2007. Integrated Business Communication: In a Global Marketplace. John Wiley and Sons Ltd. West Sussex Carol M. Lehman, Debbie D. Dufrene, 2008. Business Communication. 16th Edition. South Western, Cengage Learning. Gayathri, S., 2012. IUP Journal of Soft Skills. p47-50. 4p. Jerman, Damjana; Završnik, Bruno, 2012. Journal of Business Economics & Management. Vol. 13 Issue 4, p705-723. 19p Jones, Christopher G., 2011. Business Communication Quarterly. Vol. 74 Issue 3, p247-271 Kankaanranta, Anne; Planken, Brigitte, 2010. Journal of Business Communication. Vol. 47 Issue 4, p380-407. 28p. Meredith, Michael J., 2012. Business Communication Quarterly. Vol. 75 Issue 1, p89-95. 7p. Pinfan Zhu, 2012. Journal for Global Business Education. Vol. 12, p11-24. 14p. Scot Ober, Amy Newman, 2009. Business Communication: In Person, in Print, Online. 8th Edition. Erin Joyner, USA Trainor, Kevin J., 2012. Journal of Personal Selling & Sales Management. Vol. 32 Issue 2, p317 331. 15p Tuleja, Elizabeth A.; Greenhalgh, Anne M., 2008. Business Communication Quarterly. Vol. 71 Issue 1, p27-43. 17p Watkins, Michael D., 2012. Harvard Business Review. Vol. 90 Issue 6, p64-72. 9p.