BUSINESS COMMUNICATION Steps to become a good business communicator/manager. The word “Communication” has come from the Latin word “communis”, which means common. Thus, communication signifies sharing communication is to convey or exchange information and share ideas.
It is a process through which two or more persons transmit or exchange thoughts and ideas among themselves. “Communication is an exchange of facts, ideas, opinions or emotions by two or more persons.”
Communication is the process of transmitting information and understanding from one person to another or from one unit to other unit with a view to getting the desired response from the receiver. Through this process two or more persons exchange
ideas and understanding among themselves to achieve the desired effect in the behavior of another person.
It is a two-way channel for transmitting ideas, feelings, plans, commands, instructions, reports and suggestions that influence the attitude towards an organization’s objectives. The communicator’s goal is to convey the meanings or ideas without distortion. Success of the leader and the enterprise depends upon adequacy of communication.
It is the responsibility of the managers to establish and maintain the channels
whereby they can convey their own thinking and policies to the subordinates, and
can receive their reactions and an account of their problems.
- Communications Process
Communications is a continuous process which mainly involves three elements viz. sender, message, and receiver. The elements involved in the communication process are explained below in detail:
The sender or the communicator generates the message and conveys it to the
receiver. He is the source and the one who starts the communication
It is the idea, information, view, fact, feeling, etc. that is generated by the sender and
is then intended to be communicated further.
The message generated by the sender is encoded symbolically such as in the form of
words, pictures, gestures, etc. before it is being conveyed.
It is the manner in which the encoded message is transmitted. The message may be
transmitted orally or in writing. The medium of communication includes telephone,
internet, post, fax, e-mail, etc. The choice of medium is decided by the sender.
It is the process of converting the symbols encoded by the sender. After decoding
the message is received by the receiver.
He is the person who is last in the chain and for whom the message was sent by the
sender. Once the receiver receives the message and understands it in proper
perspective and acts according to the message, only then the purpose of
communication is successful.
Once the receiver confirms to the sender that he has received the message and
understood it, the process of communication is complete.
Noise. It refers to any obstruction that is caused by the sender, message or receiver during
the process of communication. For example, bad telephone connection, faulty
encoding, faulty decoding, inattentive receiver, poor understanding of message due
to prejudice or inappropriate gestures, etc.
Types of Communication. Let us delve deep into the 5 types of communication observed between the group of people or a formal team.
1) Verbal Communication
Verbal communication can also be called as Oral communication. In very simple
terms, any communication that happens orally between people is known as verbal
communication. The objective of such communications is to ensure that people
understand whatever you want to convey. Because of its very nature, verbal
communications is more quick and precise than email communication.
In the era of messaging via WhatsApp or using email, people still prefer personal
meetings or phone calls (or face to face skype calls) because they are effective and
much more convenient in conveying the message.
Nowadays, Verbal communication is an important aspect and is looked as a key
strength in an individual.
The higher up an organization you go, the better should be the verbal skills that you
have. This is because you need to ensure that your speech is precise and to the point
and does not leave any scope for any misunderstanding.
2) Non-verbal / Interpersonal communication
How do you make people feel when you enter the room? Is your body language
strong and are you standing straight and erect or are you slouched and tired? Are you
clean shaven, looking your immaculate best for a team meeting or are you shabby
with shirts that are not ironed? When you shake hands, do you do so strongly or do
you just brush your hand against others?
The above were some examples of Non-verbal communications or interpersonal
communications. One of the Human Resource requirements for new joiners in an
organization is for them to have good interpersonal skills. This basically means that
the employees should brush up on their non-verbal skills.
Example of the Non-verbal type of communications
In Customer service, non-verbal and interpersonal skills play a huge role. Imagine
you were unhappy with a product and you went to the customer service department.
Instead of understanding your problem, the customer service executive gives a rude
reply. Repeatedly you visit them and even though the problem is not resolved, you
don’t get a satisfactory answer.
Compare that with a customer service department which smiles when you come in.
They reassure you that they are on top of your problem. They are proactive and
update you themselves on when to expect the problem to be resolved. Later on, they
follow up whether you were satisfied with the response and if there was anything
they could do further.
This smile, the body language of reassurance, the listening ability are all non-verbal
type of communications. A good customer service executive will pay special
attention to them and will ensure that you leave satisfied! Hiring good customer
service executives, who have great interpersonal skills, is the sign of a good
organization which is focused on customer satisfaction.
3) Written Communications
There are many ways that written communications can be used. The number of ways
is ever increasing with the penetration of smartphones and the internet. One of the
most common forms of written communications used till date is Email. But slowly,
written type of communications is becoming more informal with WhatsApp and
other online messaging apps being used regularly.
All different forms of written communication can be formal or informal. If today,
we visit a court of law, you will find that even WhatsApp messages are considered
to be legal in nature. In fact, there have been so many cases of celebrities brought
under the scanner because of wrong written communications on their social media
Thus, the above example is further proof that written communication needs to be
used safely and effectively. In fact, written communication between friends can be
informal but this type of communication between working professionals should
always be formal so that any misquoted words are not misused with ill intent.
The advantage of written communication is that it acts as the final word once a
decision has been taken. When you quote your prices to the customer, when you
rank a dealer on top, when you promote an employee or when you launch a new
product, you use written communication to communicate the update to your team
and your employees.
4) Formal &Informal
There are two types of communication when considering the formality of the
communication. One is the formal and official type of communication which can be
emails, letterheads, memos, reports and other such kinds of written material. These
are considered as documentary evidence and certain formality is associated with
them. You cannot submit such formal documents and later deny them.
Informal communication is one where there is nothing official about the
communication that is happening. It can be known as Grapevine communication.
There is no specific channel of informal communication because there is Social
media, WhatsApp, SMS which are all vehicles of informal communication which
can be used by people.
Advantages of formal communication
When you want to finalize policy and want to decide a course to adopt, then formal
communication is more effective
Formal communication can help in establishing procedures and ensuring that the
steps are followed.
Any promises or any official plans need to be formally documented so that they can
be referred to later.
Advantages of informal communication
Informal communication helps the “Open door policy” and makes people more
confident and forthcoming with their ideas and creativity.
Informal communication does not incite fear into people’s mind
Informal talks encourage people to share their problems.
The problem with formal communication is that it is not personal and a distance is
maintained if you use only formal communications. Whereas on the other hand,
informal conversations can get out of hand and there can be negative grapevine
5) Visual Communication
One of the industries which most prominently uses Visual communication is the
medical industry. New medicines which come into the market have to be shown to
doctors and the advantages have to be explained. At such times, the medical
representatives carry informative pamphlets which are shown to the doctors and
dropped with the doctors.
These informative pamphlets have all the information about the medicine so that
doctors can feel confident in suggesting the medicine to their patients. Similarly,
many different industries are using visual communication to help interaction with
their customers so that they can communicate their ideas better. Explainer videos as a concept is rising and is becoming as one of the best types of communication observed on websites.
- There are many elements in visual communication that can be used by marketers or companies.
- Colors (such as brand colors)
- Design (logo and brand design)
- Video resumes
In person to person communication through visual communication plays a role.
Consider the diagrams made by teachers on blackboards when explaining a concept
to a class of students. Or we can also take the example of graphs made in power
points by managers when doing a power point presentation to a team of executives or seniors.
- Qualities of a Good Communicator
Despite the many ways to communicate, good communicators share in common
important principles and techniques that enable them to communicate effectively.
The characteristics of good communicators cut across all languages and cultures.
Becoming a good communicator has many benefits and advantages in nearly all
careers, the home, and in commerce. Remember that becoming a good
communicator is a lifelong journey and not a destination.
Good communicators listen. Listening is an important component of communicating
effectively not only because it shows other people that you are sincere and interested
in what they are saying, but it also allows you to correctly respond to people.
Listening enables you to weigh and evaluate various issues before you formulate a
response. Listening also affords you a reciprocal response from your audience
because you showed that you were willing to patiently listen to them.
Good communicators communicate clearly whether it in writing, speaking or
gesturing. Ambiguous statements or questions amount to a lapse in communication
because the truth is unclear. In terms of speaking, good communicators project their
voices with an assertive and unwavering tone to ensure that people can literally
understand them. In terms of writing, good communicators use the appropriate
words to convey different senses of meaning. This limits the potential for ambiguity.
Good communicators must have a strong vocabulary
Good communicators organize their thoughts to ensure that what they communicate
comes out in an organized fashion. This allows them the ability to make assertions
and then substantiate those assertions with premises, examples and illustrations.
Good communicators also organize what they say into concise statements that are
easy to understand by the listeners. This way it is not too difficult for listeners to
follow what they say.
Good communicators are sincere. When a speaker shows that she is genuine about
what she says, listeners are likely to believe the speaker because of the sincerity with
which she speaks. You must be aware that this is not necessarily always the case
because speakers can be misguided despite fervent belief, but being wrong does not
necessarily exclude a person from being a good communicator. Sincere
communicators usually communicate convincingly because they are willing to put
their beliefs on the line for the sake of communicating the truth.
- Barriers to Communication
The communication barriers may prevent a communication or carry incorrect
meaning due to which misunderstandings may be created. Therefore, it is essential
for a manager to identify such barriers and take appropriate measures to overcome
them. The barriers to communication in the organizations can be broadly grouped as
- Semantic Barriers
These are concerned with the problems and obstructions in the process of encoding
and decoding of a message into words or impressions. Normally, such barriers result
due to use of wrong words, faulty translations, different interpretations etc.
For example, a manager has to communicate with workers who have no knowledge
of English language and on the other side, he is not well conversant with the Hindi
language. Here, language is a barrier to communication as the manager may not be
able to communicate properly with the workers
- Psychological Barriers
Emotional or psychological factors also act as barriers to communication. The state
of mind of both sender and receiver of communication reflects in the effective
communication. A worried person cannot communicate properly and an angry
recipient cannot understand the message properly.
Thus, at the time of communication, both the sender and the receiver need to be
psychologically sound. Also, they should trust each other. If they do not believe each
other, they cannot understand each other’s message in its original sense.
- Organizational Barriers
The factors related to organizational structure, rules and regulations authority
relationships, etc. may sometimes act as barriers to effective communication. In an
organization with the highly centralized pattern, people may not be encouraged to
have free communication. Also, rigid rules and regulations and cumbersome
procedures may also become a hurdle to communication.
- Personal Barriers
The personal factors of both sender and receiver may act as a barrier to effective
communication. If a superior thinks that a particular communication may adversely
affect his authority, he may suppress such communication.
Also, if the superiors do not have confidence in the competency of their subordinates,
they may not ask for their advice. The subordinates may not be willing to offer useful
suggestions in the absence of any reward or appreciation for a good suggestion.