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Business Communication and its Types

Any act by which one person gives to or receives from another person information about that persons needs, desires, perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Communication may be intentional or unintentional, it may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take linguistic or non-linguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes. Or in simple words; Communication is the exchange of ideas, opinions and information through written or spoken words, symbols or actions. Communication is a dialogue, not a monologue. In fact, communication is more concerned with a dual listening process. For communication to be effective, the message must mean the same thing to both the sender and the receiver.

Business Communication
Business Communication is any communication used to promote a product, service, or organization with the objective of making sale. In business communication, message is conveyed through various channels of communication including internet, print (publications), radio, television, outdoor, and word of mouth. In business, communication is considered core among business, interpersonal skills and etiquette. Historical Background Thousands years ago, people use to communicate orally. Greeks use a phonetic alphabet written from left to right. After that, many books appeared on written communication principles. In a result of this, Greek started her very first library.

When communism was ruling China, communication had become the biggest challenge within the vast government as well as between government and people. 1st in China and then in Rome postal service was launched. After that paper and printing press was invented in china that made communication easier. Hence, todays principles of communications are founded on a mixture of ancient oral and written traditions. Organization The arrangements between individuals and groups in human society that structure relationships and activities (Business, Political, Religious or social). In other words, A group of people identified by shared interests or purpose, for example, a Bank. Lifeblood of an Organization Communication is the lifeblood of an organization. If we could somehow remove communication flows from an organization, we would not have an organization. It is needed for:

Exchanging information Exchanging options Making plans and proposals Reaching agreement Executing decisions Sending and fulfilling orders Conducting sales

When communication stops, organized activity ceases to exist. Individual uncoordinated activity returns in an organization. So, Communication in an organization, is as vital as blood for life.

Types of Business Communication

There are two types of business communication in an organization:
1. Internal Communication 2. External Communication

1. Internal Communication
Communication within an organization is called Internal Communication. It includes all communication within an organization. It may be informal or a formal function or department providing communication in various forms to employees. Effective internal communication is a vital mean of addressing organizational concerns. Good communication may help to increase job satisfaction, safety, productivity, and profits and decrease grievances and turnover. Under Internal Business Communication types there come;

a) Upward Communication b) Downward Communication c) Horizontal/Literal communication a) Upward Communication Upward communication is the flow of information from subordinates to superiors, or from employees to management. Without upward communication, management works in a vacuum, not knowing if messages have been received properly, or if other problems exist in the organization. By definition, communication is a two-way affair. Yet for effective two-way organizational communication to occur, it must begin from the bottom. Upward Communication is a mean for staff to:
o o o o o

Exchange information Offer ideas Express enthusiasm Achieve job satisfaction Provide feedback

b) Downward Communication Information flowing from the top of the organizational management hierarchy and telling people in the organization what is important (mission) and what is valued (policies). Downward communication generally provides enabling information which allows a subordinate to do something. e.g.: Instructions on how to do a task. Downward communication comes after upward communications have been successfully established. This type of communication is needed in an organization to:
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Transmit vital information Give instructions Encourage 2-way discussion Announce decisions Seek cooperation Provide motivation Boost morale 3

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Increase efficiency Obtain feedback

Both Downward & Upward Communications are collectively called Vertical Communication

c) Horizontal/Literal communication Horizontal communication normally involves coordinating information, and allows people with the same or similar rank in an organization to cooperate or collaborate. Communication among employees at the same level is crucial for the accomplishment of work.Horizontal Communication is essential for:
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Solving problems Accomplishing tasks Improving teamwork Building goodwill Boosting efficiency

2. External Communication
Communication with people outside the company is called external communication. Supervisors communicate with sources outside the organization, such as vendors and customers. It leads to better;
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Sales volume Public credibility Operational efficiency Company profits 4

It should improve
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Overall performancee Public goodwill Corporate image

Ultimately, it helps to achieve

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Organizational goals Customer satisfaction

Barriers to Communication
Communication Communication is the exchange of ideas, opinions and information through written or spoken words, symbols or actions. Communication is an important part of our world today. The ability to communicate affectively is considered a prized quality. But people in the world are not alike. These differences, however, can cause problems in sending/receiving messages. Simply these are the hurdles in the way of communication and anything which blocks the meaning of a communication is a barrier to communication. Following are some common barriers to communication: 1. Conventions of meaning 2. Differences in perception of reality 3. Values, attitudes and opinions 1. Conventions of meaning There are a lot of meanings for a single word. So, it may mislead the reader from the real meaning. Miscommunication may occur due to the use of Denotations and Connotations.

Denotations Denotation is the dictionary definition of a word. It means name, object, people or events without indicating positive or negative qualities. These words dont have clear meanings. Such words are: Car, Desk, Book, House, etc. Connotations A word that separates the meanings of a word from its usual definition is called connotation. These have clear meanings. Such words are: BMW, BC book, mental house etc. So, use of denotations instead of connotations may mislead the reader. Choose connotations & denotations wisely. 2. Differences in perception of reality Because of changing world, everyone has its own concept of reality. Each persons mental filter is unique. In our daily interactions with others, we make various abstractions, inferences and evaluations of the world around that may cause problems in the way of communication. Abstraction It means selecting some detail and omitting others. It may cause problem in communication. One must always try to avoid Slanted statements. Thats why news reporters are said to quote the statement of a person as it is to show it a fact or true statement. Inferences It means conclusion on the basis of assumptions. But for some situations inferences proves fruitful but for some situations it is risky & sometimes dangerous. Evaluation It is a persons own perception or opinion towards a certain fact. So, difference in perception may become a hurdle in communication. 3. Values, attitudes and opinions Communication is also affected by the Values, attitudes and opinions of the communicators. People react favorably when they receive agreeable message. Occasionally people react according to their attitude towards a situation rather than to the facts. Closed Minds Some people hold rigid views on certain subjects. They dont consider facts and maintain their views. Such person is very hard to communicate with. Senders creditability Usually people react more favorably to that communicator who has creditability. So, Values, attitudes and opinions may also become hurdles in the way of communication.

Benefits of Effective Communication in your Career

Communicating effectively is a valuable asset for many activities in your personal life. Talking about your career, your way of written and oral communication is the base of your job type, promotion and professional reputation. A Valuable Job Requirement In careers requiring mental rather than labor, the only key to progress is through effective communication of knowledge, ideas and proposals, to others who need or should receive them.

If we read job opening advertisements in different newspapers, strong communication skills would be a must in most jobs description. If we talk about different job titles, communication requirements might be as follows:

Communication Skills Must be able to communicate clearly to clients and Finance Associates other finance professionals Fiscal Officer Superior writing and presentation skills Develop and communicate product objectives and Product Manager strategies Senior Sales Excellent communication and follow-up skills; ability to Representative write proposals and quotations. In careers like Contracts General knowledge of proposal preparation: Good internal/external customer relations, public relations, Administrator Oral/Written communication skills. marketing, HR, sales, etc. Almost in all sort of fields, producers, editors, researchers and writers are always needed. Communication is a major responsibility is many areas, including government and nonprofit organizations. In congressional and senatorial offices at state and national level, communication skills are a major plus as there works a number of people handling correspondence, preparing speeches, helping write Legislation, communicating with business. As we know Government is countrys biggest business, so needs a large no. of effective inter departmental communicators. Even as an accounting professional, if you dont know how to communicate your crafted reports to the targeted people then those reports would be a flop. A Must for Promotion Ability to communicate effectively is a prime requisite for promotion. Some people rate communication as one of the most important aspects of business leadership. Those who cannot communicate effectively either orally or in writing remains buried in lower, dead-end jobs. Top managements 60 to 90 percent of working days consists of communication Speaking, writing and listening. It is confirmed from many surveys and articles over the past decades that for promotion and success in any business, effective communication is essential. Surveys conducted on top level executives have proved from their responses that Business Communication, Business letter and Report writing, and written & Oral expressions are the subjects most valued in their career growth. Source: Effective Business Communications by: Herta A. Murphy.

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Four Types of Business Communication

Various forms of communication exist in the workplace; however, be aware that some are more effective than others. In Gareth R. Jones and Jennifer M. George's book, Contemporary Management, information richness is "the amount of information that a communication medium can carry and the extent to which the medium enables the sender and receiver to reach a common understanding." The four levels of information richness in business communication are as follows: face-to-face

communication, spoken communication electronically transmitted (telephone or voicemail), personally addressed written communication (personal messages), and impersonal written communication (impersonal messages). Related Searches:

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1. Face-To-Face Communication

Apply face-to-face communication if you want to get the most out of an employee-toemployee interaction. It reveals more information than any other form of communication; most importantly, nonverbal communication. Examples of nonverbal communication are facial expressions, body language, tone of voice and attire. Nonverbal communication can support or contradict verbal statements. Instant feedback, another advantage of face-to-face communication, can resolve confusion, ambiguity or misinterpretation. "The best way to communicate major change to the frontline workforce is face-to-face," write T.J. Larkin and Sandar Larkin in their article, "Reaching and Changing Frontline Employees." Video conferencing is another way for employees to benefit from face-to-face communication while saving time and money.

Telephone or Voicemail

Call or leave a message if you can't speak face-to-face with someone. Telephone communication or voice messaging over the Internet are examples of spoken communication electronically transmitted. This is the next level of information richness, a step below face-toface communication. An advantage of direct telephone communication is the tone of voice and immediate feedback. Unlike face-to-face communication, spoken communication lacks the benefits of body language or facial expression. Voicemail takes another step back, as feedback is not immediate. Despite that, though, it is a necessity for out-of-office employees.

Personal Written Messages


If you telecommute, you likely communicate through e-mails or online messaging. Personally addressed written communication, a level below electronically transmitted verbal communication, demands attention from the recipient. The message is written in the way the recipient understands. The downside? Personally addressed letters and e-mails lack immediate feedback and nonverbal communication. As chat rooms become more common in the workplace, written communication will have a forum for immediate feedback.

Impersonal Written Messages


Use impersonal written communication for various messages like rules, policies, regulations, news, procedural changes and the arrival of new employees. The lowest level of information richness, these are the mass e-mails or general memos sent to a large group. Because of the impersonal nature, employees may not feel accountable to respond. As a result, feedback is not assured. Impersonal written communication must be written clearly, so that every person understands the message.


Dealing with information overload is a problem. Jones and George define information overload as "the potential for important information to be ignored or overlooked while tangential information receives attention." The combination of information from managers, employees and customers can prove overwhelming for some. Managers can avoid this by communicating only necessary information in a minimal and efficient manner. An employee can also be distracted by improper use of communication, such as using personal e-mail or social networking sites.

Read more: Four Types of Business Communication |