The world is intensely connected and effective business communication skills are more important than ever. From the moment we wake up until we turn over our phones for bed, we are bombarded with text messages, notifications, emails, phone calls, appointments and meetings. With the amount of time that we spend communicating, it is important for business that we do it effectively.
Business communication takes place through multiple mediums, often around the clock. But that doesn’t mean that effective business communication through email is any less important than face-to-face meetings or telephone calls. Communication should be clear, concise, and understandable to the receiver.
Management and Human Resources
Management leverages communication skills and decision making to keep production and service in effect. An effective leader will be able to make critical decisions to communicate instructions, inspire motivation, and increase morale. Managers need excellent communication skills to delegate effectively.
Clear, concise instructions given the first time are worth the extra preparation. It prevents days, weeks, or even months of miscommunication and possible business failure. Making sure that the message is phrased in a way that is easily understood by employees is extremely important. Focus on making every sentence earn its way onto the memo, keep information relevant and brief.
Don’t be afraid to be personal. It’s important to be professional but not robotic. You are communicating with human beings, after all. The styles and methods of communication shape the culture at your company and if business communication is only in times of correction or criticism, the company culture and morale will suffer.
Business to Consumer
Business to consumer communications includes marketing, public relations, advertising, and reputation management. It’s important that you clearly communicate the value of your products and services to consumers so that they can make an informed decision. This communication can take a variety of forms, through online content, social media, newsletters, direct mailing, radio, TV, or print.
The other half of business to consumer communications is service and reputation management. Marketing can create opportunities for sales but service is where loyalty is won and lost. Consumers are increasingly doing research before making purchases and third-party review sites can leave a permanent mark on your reputation. It’s important to address customer service failures and reach out to consumers in order to build trust, as well as establish authority.
Business to Business
Business to business communication is extremely important. Whether you are interacting with clients or talking with vendors, healthy relationships with those you work with are paramount to success. If you are communicating with a client, make sure you put them at ease and communicate using words and phrases that they are familiar with. If you are communicating with a vendor, setting realistic expectations up front can save hours of lost productivity down the road. As always, business to business communication is still with people, and treating people with respect and regard outside of business needs is important.
A large volume of communication is digital, and services such as email, text messaging, VOIP, teleconferencing, are becoming increasingly common as businesses scale and adopt new technology. Digital communication can differ from in-person communication, because nonverbal signals are omitted, and clarifying dialogue can take the form of long email exchanges back and forth over days.
It’s important to remember that tone of voice, posture, and other nonverbal signals are missing from many forms of digital communication. Careful phrasing and word choice can save face, save time, and save energy. Taking an extra moment to review an email can give you a chance to clarify any instructions and make sure that your message does not convey anything unintentionally.
Diversity and Multiculturalism
It’s important to remember that people from different cultures and backgrounds may have a different understanding of communication. This means that communication should refrain from off-colour references or generalizations, promote respect and tolerance for everyone inside the organization, as well as outside. Celebrate diversity and address any cultural miscommunication with honesty and friendliness.
So Why is Effective Business Communication a Big Deal?
Effective communication is important for managers, employees, business relationships, and customers. It encourages honest feedback, growth, builds loyalty and a positive company culture. It is the preventative medicine to inefficiency and uses transparency to build trust. Although the style and medium may change, communication will always remain a core priority for any successful business.