Business Communication is the ability of a group of individuals to speak the same language internally and externally towards business promotion. Business communication is one of the most important tool for an organization to succeed in a professional manner. Communication that takes place in an organization between its employees and management team is crucial to business growth and must reflect a common goal towards which every member of the organization is working. This common goal gets permeated into every Employee’s role through set of communication like vision, mission, business objectives, financial Goals etc. Thus, it is of paramount importance to comprehend the real contribution of Business Communication to organizational growth. This understanding will pave way to groom oneself on the various aspects of communication making it an effective one in the longer run.
What is Communication?
The word communication comes from a Latin word ‘communicare’ which means to ‘share’ or ‘participate’.
Communication is the process by which we exchange meanings, facts, ideas, opinions or emotions with other people. It is the art of exchanging opinions, thoughts, facts and ideas in an emphatic manner so that the person at the other end receives and understands the subject matter involved clearly and perceives it in the same way it was intended by the sender.
According to Peter Little, “Communication is the process by which information is transmitted between individuals and/or organizations, so that it results in an understanding response.”
Business Communication has become an absolute requirement for all organizations for various reasons, such as:
- It acts as the basis of organizational growth in terms of human and public relations
- It widens the outlook of people making them understand the business scenario from a broader perspective
- Business Communication enhances the overall relationship maintenance capabilities of the organization
- It empowers the organization to handle public relations in an effective manner
- It increases personal productivity and confidence of all in the organization by multi-fold levels
Objectives of Business Communication
- To provide the right information to the right person at the right time so business processes are on track at all points of time
- To seek as well as offer advice to the needy at the right time in the right manner so business processes continue in a hassle free manner
- To counsel people on issues that will enable smooth flow of activities through positive relationships
- To issue the right kind of instructions to appropriate levels of management
- To emphasize discipline and systematic approach across all levels in the organization
- To foster upward communication which contributes in improving the morale levels of Employees, across all levels in the organization.
- To keep all concerned parties well informed about the organizational policies and principles. This will motivate every employee to participate in the developmental activities aimed towards achieving business objectives
Importance of Business Communication
- Business Communication is an indispensable component of all management functions. Motivating, supervising, directing and planning all require effective communication.
- It links superiors to subordinates and fosters mutual understanding among them
- It is a two way communication system that stimulates initiative and creativity among subordinates
- Effective business communication eliminates the possibility of misunderstanding, thereby leading to job satisfaction and increased morale of employees and results in sound human relations within an organization
- Effective communication is necessary to build meaningful relationships between management and workers that aids in growth of manpower and trade unions
- Business Communication helps in maintaining public relations by creating and projecting a positive image of the organization to the customers, government, suppliers etc.
- It aids in motivating the employees and boosting their morale by fostering a positive attitude and inspiring people in an organization
- Business Communication is imperative for effective decision making
Communication is a systematic and continuous process of telling, listening and understanding. It involves a sender, the transmission of a message through a selected channel/medium and a receiver. It is a two way communication process concerned with sharing and understanding information in an effective manner.
(1) Source/Sender – The Sender/Source is the origin of the idea or message. It may be an individual or a group. The sender conceives the idea, prepares the message, selects the channel and transmits the message to the receiver.
(2) Message – It is any signal that triggers a response from the receiver. It may be a verbal (written or spoken) or nonverbal (body language, silence, appearance, sound, sign etc.).
(3) Encoding – Translation of an idea into a message appropriate for transmission by the source/sender is called encoding. While encoding a message, one must consider –
- What contents to include?
- How will the receiver interpret it?
- How it may affect one`s relationship?
(4) Channel – Channel refers to the means through which the message travels from the sender to the receiver. The channel maybe mass media such as T.V., newspaper, radio or interpersonal channel such as telephone, email, correspondence etc. Selection of a channel depends upon:
- The message to be communicated
- Importance of the message
- Number of receivers
- Availability of channel
- Cost and effectiveness of channel
(5) Receiver – It may be an individual or a group of individuals for whom the message is intended.
(6) Decoding – It refers to the process through which a receiver translates the encoded message, symbols etc. understands it and interprets it to from certain meaning.
(7) Feedback – It is the reaction or response of the receiver to the message sent by the sender. The response can be based upon a clear interpretation of the message or on a misunderstood or misinterpreted message.
Features of Communication
(1) Communication is a Science
Communication is basically more of a science than just a mere skill set. Effective communication skills involve use of:
- Psychology – Deals with personality, attitudes and temperament, perception levels and persuasion skills
- Anthropology – This aspect deals with Body language which plays a crucial role in effective communication
- Sociology – Deals with larger number of diversified population and their opinions
(2) Communication is a give and take Process
Any communication is effective only when it is understood in the appropriate manner by the receiver as intended by the sender. It can be referred as a two way process in which both the ways namely conveying and receiving is perfect.
(3) Common goal makes communication successful
Communications become highly effective when goals and targets to be achieved are clearly understood by both the communicator and the receiver. Thus communication is termed as a goal oriented process when it comes to organization management.
(4) Communication is a continuous process
Effective communication is an ongoing process of telling, listening and understanding.
(5) Communication is an active process
Communication is an active process that changes with the changing environment and mindset of people.
(6) Communication has no boundaries
In a typical business scenario, Communication does not have any boundaries or limits. Communication prevails at the lower levels in the organizations as much as it is spread across middle and top management levels.
(7) Communication is incomplete without a receiver
Communication requires at least two human beings. The two people involved in communication are the communicator and the receiver. Without a receiver, nothing gets communicated by the communicator.
(8) Communication elicits reactions and responses
Effective communication is one that elicits appropriate reactions and responses in people at the receiving end. When the communicator has effective persuasion skills the receiver gets influenced, eliciting a desired response. A good communicator is one who is able to deliver information sought by the receivers.
(9) Communication has multiple purposes
Different types of communication are carried out for achieving various kinds of purposes. While some communication aim at solving problems, some are carried out to enable uninterrupted workflow. Communication is used as a tool to share information as well as for the purpose of socializing.
(10) Communication happens in multi-fold ways
Communication is that aspect of sharing information which does not depend on any single medium. For instance, communication does not solely depend on expressions through words in oral or written form alone. The gestures we make, the symbols we use to communicate certain ideas and facts and the sign language used to show emotions, all are part of communication. Many a times, signs, symbols and gestures communicate the intended message more clearly than words.
Contribution of Effective Business Communication to Organizational growth
(1) Boosts morale and acts as a Motivator
Strong communication skills act as a morale booster in a typical business environment. Organizations with people who have good communication skills foster the best climate for business achieving business prosperity in every possible manner.
(2) Rapid advancements in terms of technology
Effective communication skills act as direct pointers to technological advancements in organizations. Be it the understanding of the technology or introducing the same for business development, effective communication skills is of paramount importance.
(3) Handling the labour force in an effective manner
When it comes to typical Industrial scenario, handling the laborers in a satisfying manner and conflict management through effective communication skills becomes mandatory. Effective communications skills act as the basis of negotiation skills, convincing skills which in turn help an organization to handle Trade Union demands and conflicts in a professional manner
(4) Handling relationships in a matured manner
Effective communication skills helps in managing relationships in a friendly and successful manner. Be it peer to peer communication or top to bottom interactions, appropriate skill sets related to communication help in fostering relationships in organizations.
(5) Understanding the behavioral and psychological aspects of humans
Effective communication skills help employees as well as the Management teams to understand each other. When people are handled based on their behavioral capabilities and psychological aspects, the interactions and outputs from the same are developmental.
(6) Customer handling and branding activities
In today’s competitive business environment, organization development depends mainly on the effectiveness of Branding and Marketing activities. All organizations with astounding communication skills succeed in reaching to their customers through their marketing communication skills.
(7) Maintaining effective Public Relations
Communication plays a crucial role in maintaining Public relations that encompasses interactions with vendors, Government Agencies, Suppliers and many other groups that are involved in business activities.
Modes of Communication
Communication between people can take place through different means. The basic means of communication are Verbal and Non-verbal.
Verbal Communication can be divided in to two categories:
Non-Verbal Communication can be divided in to two categories:
Sign Language under non-verbal communication can be further divided into Audio Signs and Visual Signs.
The term Verbal Communication refers to all communication that uses words to express what people want to express. Verbal Communication can be either in spoken or in written form.
While Non-verbal communication refers to communication that takes place through use of body language, audio and visual signals.
Channels of Communication
Irrespective of the mode, communication happens through different channels. There are usually formal channel and informal channel of communication.
Formal communication, as the very name represents, takes place between superiors and their reporting staff in organizations or the organization and its customers in a formal manner. Formal communication involves fixed standards and guidelines which have to followed in order to communicate a message.
Informal Communication has no fixed standards or guidelines but happens in a haphazard manner in organizations. Informal Communication prevails more in the middle and lower rings of the organizations.
Based on the nature and flow of Communication, it can be divided into three types namely Upward Communication, Downward Communication and Horizontal Communication.
Upward Communication is the concept of new age Management and is also termed as Upstream Communication. When the employees down below are able communicate about their grievances and complaints to their higher ups, it is termed as Upward Communication.
Horizontal Communication can said to be the backbone of organizations. Also termed as Lateral Communication, this type of communication happens between heads of the Department who are in decision making capacities.
Downward Communication happens from the top level to the bottom level employees. Announcing policy changes from time to time, modifications in strategies and other employee related communication falls in this category.