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Business communication as a courseDocument Transcript
TABLE OF CONTENT
1. Facing today‟s Communication Challenges……………………………..5
a. Elements of Communication………………………………………………9
2. Business Communication…………………………………………………12
a. Internal Communication……………………………………………………12
b. External Communication…………………………………………………...15
3. Writing for Business Audience…………………………………………….18
a. The Writing Process…………………………………………………………20
4. Ways To Correspond At Work…………………………………………….22
c. Routine Letters and Goodwill Messages…………………………………25
d. Persuasive Messages……………………………………………………...26
e. Negative Message………………………………………………………….27
f. Business Reports And Proposal…………………………………………28
a. Informal report………………………………………………………….28
b. Informal proposal………………………………………………………28
Business Communication is an important element in the life of businesses that
aim to achieve greater result in the overall set out objective in an organization.
Communication has been thoroughly investigated and expatiated in this essay to
underscore the need for its relevance in the contemporary business set ups.
Effective communication is a rock upon which every structure in the organization
must endeavour to employ to pave way to proper human relations, team work
and overall management of essential information among the various strata in the
The challenges that face today‟s communication in our organization and the
significant relevance in the need to pay heed to it becomes a point of attention
around the economic world. This space shall explore the various challenges and
how they characterized our increasing quest to promote good interpersonal
relations by acknowledging and appreciating the myriad culture that is found
within multicultural/multinational organizations.
The various appropriate media available in the dissemination of information
among people either internally or externally have been dealt with and the core
alibi in the choice of the appropriate medium is vividly discussed. The public is
the eye of businesses and the important role they play in the organizational circle
is imperative in the development of sustainable system that relate with them
successfully using the innovative communication skill.
This topic shall also expound appropriate oral and writing skills for audience
consumption and how special attention needs to be paid in the use of words that
attract intended feedback.
Further to this, the focus shall be to uncover the correct business messages and
how they are structured through proof reading and proper revision before it is
extended for public/associate‟s consumption to receive the intended result.
The reader shall also be taken through email etiquette and memorandum writing
that suits the business operations.
It‟s also important to add that comprehensive approach to a general
communication and codes that help translate good understanding between
various people from different background in an organization would be explained
to cover the verbal, non verbal, written and other important forms that can aid a
speaker to convey his or her intended message effectively.
1. FACING TODAY’S COMMUNICATION CHALLENGES
Communication is an effective tool in a business organization that ensures
coherent and harmonious cooperation among both the employees and the
employer and all other stakeholders.
A bad communication can cause antagonism and rancor among people if not
handle properly in an organization. Chaos, disloyalty, misunderstanding, rumor
could also be the order of the day if communication is not handled properly
among the various workers in the business environment and every part of our
Various definitions evolved among experts of the communication relating their
background to different issues in the world of life (Business, politics, economics,
social etc) and ideas are still evolving as to what constitute communication.
There is some school of thought that argues communication is one way,
stemming from a sender of information whilst another school of thought disagree
and based the argument on two-way end.
The first school of thought shares certain basic elements in communication with
the latter but extrinsically argues that, the processing of the information by the
receiver should not form part of the definition of communication since the sender
sends the information, the receiver decides to decode that information based on
his or her acquaintance on that subject.
In as much as I agree with the first school of thought to some point I believe, the
second idea is much appreciable and elaborate enough to inculcate features
necessary to score both academic and intellectual point.
Before I expand the idea of communication to suit the business context let me
quickly acknowledge what „Wikipedia-The free Encyclopedia) has to say about
Communication (from Latin commūnicāre, meaning "to share") is the activity of
conveying information through the exchange of thoughts, messages, or
information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior with microwaves.
It is the meaningful exchange of information between two groups of living
creatures. Pragmatics defines communication as any sign-mediated interaction
that follows combinatorial, context-specific and content-coherent rules.
Communicative competence designates the capability to install inter-subjective
interactions, which means that communication is an inherent social interaction.
One definition of communication is “any act by which one person gives to or
receives from another person information about that person's needs, desires,
perceptions, knowledge, or affective states. Communication may be intentional or
unintentional, may involve conventional or unconventional signals, may take
linguistic or non-linguistic forms, and may occur through spoken or other modes.”
From the above definition we can come into a conclusion that communication is
beyond one person‟s persuasion of information but rather a social interaction that
enable responsibility from another to act on the shared idea, information, thought
Communication process is hence complete if the recipient understood what the
sender intends or meant. In this process of understanding the intention of the
sender on the encoded message, the receiver comes into numerous state of
discretion based on his or her culture, intelligence, capacity, religious, social and
economic interpretations; these factors affect his/her ability to comprehend the
information communicated to him or her.
A good communicator must be able to incorporate the cultural background during
the encoding stage of his message. Certain cultural factors impedes and
intentional understanding of messages that are put across by people basically
because of the unique understanding of some people perhaps based on their
attachment to certain cultural settings. The moral upbringing of people could
affect the way they understand issues.
A typical instance is when an American makes a statement like ‘it would be
stupid on our side to ignore this project’ this remarks may be due to the
understanding of the word „stupid‟ and how it is used most time in our social
settings. An American who may just be looking at the real meaning of the word
stupid as „unintelligent‟ may have offended a lot of Africans present during the
pronouncement since such word is used only in a heated circumstances as
invective. Whilst the prime reason which ought to persuade the listeners to
accept the idea of pursuing the project, the original intention may be lost inviting
different understanding due to the commonality of the word as an insult among
The cultural background of people impact on their understanding of spoken
languages hence making the process of communication distorted. Most often, the
process is incomplete for an unimaginable period of time and when this happens,
the message refuses to cure or cause the change it is supposed to cause.
Religious/Moral/ and Economic background can also affect the cycle of
communication to be incomplete hence the choice of word of the sender must be
determined by the receivers background in the aforementioned areas to enable
consensus building among people.
Like any other discipline, communication is considered effective upon various
reasons subject to the responds from the recipient.
Effective communication occurs when the desired result of the intended/ encoded
message is achieved. There are various reasons why people communicate.
Among the numerous reasons are
a. To exchange an idea acceptable enough to elicit change among people
b. To order or command a specific action
c. To motivate and encourage people
d. To persuade and generate action
e. To inform and educate
f. To sell and promote
g. To negotiate for better condition of service and remuneration
h. To embark on legal battle in court and other quasi judicial systems
To defend and protect self image against defamers etc
Until these effects takes place during or after a conversation, communication
cannot be said to be effective. This is the more reason why mastering
communication skills are imperative to our quest for survival as humans.
Developing communication skills is critical to job placement, career
advancement, job performance and the overall organizational success.
a. Elements of Communication
Communication has basic elements that must be completed to ensure it
effectiveness. This could also be referred to as communication cycles.
Below is the cycle:
The sender in the cycle is the instigator of the ideas and the source of
information needed to be transferred for a purpose. The sender has the authority
over the information he/she wishes to transmit to the receiver therefore decide
the method or channel or medium to use.
The encoding stage is a very important stage that the sender engages in the
organization of his or her thought to appropriately relay information at his or her
disposal. At this stage, the sender considers certain factors such as the right
medium, process and appropriate structures needed to control the message. It
involves converting thoughts into either written or spoken words; translating
thoughts into codes that could be understood by the recipient.
The message is the information the sender is willing to transfer to the receiver.
The composed thought into written or verbal form defines the message.
The channel to use for communicating a particular message is determined by
certain factors. The sender must consider the importance of the message and
how secure it is if disseminated using a specific channel. There are various
channels that information can be passed. There are written, oral or verbal, nonverbal.
Written – letters, emails, memo etc
Oral or Verbal - face to face conversation, telephone etc
Non- verbal - sign languages, facial expressions etc
The receiver is the person with whom the message finally settles. The one who
the message was intended for is the receiver.
Noise is simply anything that interferes with a message and hence prevents the
listener from understanding the message. This could either be physical,
physiological, psychology, semantic.
Physical noise is external to the speaker and listener. It includes things such as
the sounds of road construction outside your window that make it difficult to hear
what is being said.
Psychological noise is mental interference that prevents you from listening. If
your mind is wandering when someone is speaking to you, the noise in your
head is preventing communication.
Physiological noise is any physiological issue that interferes with communication.
If you encounter any severe illness in your body system especially your head, it
prevents you from concentrating on what people are saying since your attention
may shift from the speakers. For example, if you have a migraine, it may be
difficult to speak to others or listen to them when they speak to you.
Semantic noise occurs when there is no shared meaning in a communication.
This often occurs when someone is dealing with medical professionals, lawyers,
scientists or others who use terminology that lay people may not understand.
People of the same background in education, culture, and social understand
themselves than another person from different background.
Feedback is an important indication of the understandability of a message. The
recipient comment on the message depicts his knowledge being shared by the
sender in the communication process.
2. Business Communication
Having looked at how important communication is, every institution is left with no
option than to acknowledge the essential roles communication plays in the
service to mankind and having a better deal with it only improve the well being of
Businesses have unique strategies upon which communication strives and it is
only vital the ideals are modernized time by time to suit the current business
adventure by the use of ICT equipment.
Businesses communicate effectively by employing the tactics available under the
circumstance of modern technology to achieve the organizational objective.
There are various tools that are at the disposal of different organization to
process information, however, the choice depend upon the intention and the
Business Communication encompasses advertising, public relations, human
relations, brand management, marketing, customer relations, consumer behavior
etc. a good communication skills is able to inform the public about the existence
of business, hence its mission and vision sold to the public.
Communication is either internal or external in the business setup.
a. Internal Communication
Internal Communication operates within the organization among the employeremployee, manager-subordinate, staff-staff etc.
To instruct or direct or order
To induce explanation
To inspire and motivate
To re-communicate vision and mission
To share ideas
To propagate or distribute rumor or gossip
To report or submit
To suggest ideas or innovations
To request favors/improve remuneration/better working conditions
To supervise or administer through motivating
To assign responsibilities to staff
To correct wrong impressions
To reinforce shareholders policies
To share ideas
To propagate or distribute rumor or gossip
To report or submit
To suggest ideas or innovations
To encourage during hard business times
This illustrations have demonstrated the numerous impart of communication in
an organization. Most importantly, there cannot be progress without these many
core exchanges in the business, hence internal communication is the lifeblood of
every organization due to its capacity to drive home the demand of the overall
objective of the business.
b. External Communication
External Communication otherwise refers to the exchange of information
between an individual or group in organization with a person or group outside an
organization. These outsiders could the shareholders, investors, customers,
An effective External communication enables the organization to have proper
bargain with suppliers and other interest groups hence value for money.
Coming back to the topic „facing today‟s communication challenges‟ I resolve to
accept that, there are numerous factors that account to that.
Taking my own financial institution as a case study
The prime job my organization engages in is giving credit facilities to Government
workers in a form of loan.
Most people within the bracket accesses this facility to enable them pay their
wards school fees, medical bills, buy land or properties, and embark on building
projects and myriad of other vital essentials of life.
Over the years, we have tried possible measures to offer excellent and quick
service which the banks cannot offer due to the prerequisite for these facilities.
The national operations are always employing promotions that could encourage
our client to direct their entire quest for financial assistance to our office.
In spite of all our effort to ensure effective service delivery, there has been one or
more occasion which a lot of argument have arisen as a result of ineffective
communication strategy adopted by management. Rumour normally becomes
source of information giving way to fear and panic which most times deter a lot of
employees to give of their best and or constructively criticize certain policies
which the grassroots believe would endanger and scare off clients.
One among the numerous startling communication lapses that is worthy of note
is a promotion for our clients dubbed “FORTUNE 5000000” which basically
implies that, any clients within the period of August to September 10th, who would
access a credit facility of GH₡1000.00 and above would be given a bonus of
GH₡100.00 as bonus. The term and condition for this offer is for the client to
present a flier that was made purposely for this promotion.
When the message finally hit the mail for all the branch officials, many
understanding popped up with regard to this offer and the level of obscurity it has
created in the minds of the sales managers rendered the promotion partially in-
executable largely because of the fact that, the message lack clarity and created
a fall short of intellectual reasoning among the entire branches.
Some branches who had a good personal and unofficial relationship with the
Chairman of the promotion found out through oral communication (telephone)
and therefore were able to understand the intent and hence enjoy the promotion
by making their clients partake in such never-happen event.
The confusion that arose as a result of the mail with respect to the promotion is
that, it is largely known by all and sundry in the institution that, most promotions
goes to favor the field officers who have to walk under the sun all day to get to a
prospective client who may need cash to settle some bills. They need to be
rewarded and motivated in lieu of the client because the field officer is paid only
commission based on the number of people s/he is able to bring to the office for
This pragmatic illustration indicated and implied that the previous knowledge of
the sales managers and the field workers infused the interpretation of the mail
hence rendered the promotion otiose.
The national operations manager upon realizing the failure of the promotion
decided to take a tour in all the branches to ascertain the cause of the failure
realized it was largely as a result of miscommunication and provided the
managers and the field workers the intent of the promotion.
Relevance of effective communication in this respect:
Intent of the promotion:
To encourage clients to see our loan as the best in the market
To beat competition among the financial market
To encourage the benefitted clients to recommend the company as the
best credit worthy institution.
To promote value for customer service and relations
To introduce and provide efficient one stop shop for all financial needs to
With all these client- enhancing intention of the Chairman, the promotion was
rendered ineffective due to the lack of proper organization of thought, laxity in the
attempt to further enlighten and educate operators of the message, noise,
educational/ cultural background, semantic barrier as indicated earlier
3. WRITING FOR BUSINESS AUDIENCE
Writing for business audiences deserve a unique approach and specialization
that would include all required and relevant information necessary for the
consumption of the interested parties.
The audience in this sense could refer to the kind of business and it‟s public. A
manufacturing company that produces Baby‟s Diapers may have all mothers and
family homes in the world as audiences or public, hence tailored made the
message that would appealing to them. The appeal is to enable them patronize
Such a manufacturing company (aforementioned) first and foremost must
undergo feasibility studies to discover relevant needs of mothers in the quest to
handle the waste of their babies. This could be the kind of material that could
better soap the waste of babies.
As explained earlier, communication has both internal and external responsibility
to adequately inform parties interested in the business pertinent information that
would enable execute their task as expected of them.
Before I proceed to underscore the structure of these writings, let us quickly look
at some of the writing tools/channels appropriate for internal communication:
Face to face
Internet Chat or Social Media Chat viz Whatsapp, Yahoo Messenger,
Google Chat, Skype etc.
Before any of these channels are used, there must be a very important
considerations or factors related to the significance of the message. Below are
the factors to consider:
Availability: what channels either already exist within the organization or
can be introduced effectively? What formal tool is already created by the
MIS department of the organization? Is there any available business
ethics are policy rules regarding information dissemination?
Audience: who are they, where are they based, how do they prefer to
access information and how effective will the proposed channel be in
reaching them and engaging them? If it‟s your boss, how close and cordial
is your relationship with him, is he a tough kind of person who always read
meaning of degradation into everything when there is a fall short of formal
Objectives: what does the organization want people to learn, think, feel or
do as a result of the message? What is the purpose of the message? Is it
necessary to serve as evidence for future reference therefore needs to be
secured for posterity? How relevant is it to your specific job?
Content: what is the context and substance of the message? (For
example, sensitive messages may need to be communicated face-to-face,
rather than by, say, SMS text message.) The content of the message is
necessary to determine the tool that conveys it.
Timing: how urgent is the message? For example, communications in
times of crisis which require quick dissemination of important messages.
When there is fire outbreak at the fourth floor where sensitive equipment
of the company are kept, even though, emails maybe the formal
communication channels in the organization, it is not appropriate to use
but telephone and or voice scream may help salvage the situation.
a. The Writing Process
Analyze your audience
Research your information
Proofread for grammatical errors
Analyze your audience:
When writing for business audience, the message must be prepared with the
audience in mind, purposeful and economical.
The consumers of the message must be considered in the drafting of the
Research your information:
Having looked at the factors or considerations it becomes necessary to resort to
technical writing skills by gathering information through accessing data
electronically and the use of other research methods.
Proofread for grammatical errors:
Grammatical errors send a wrong signal to the reader and it is having the
capacity to create a wrong impression about the writer. The message itself could
be misunderstood or rubbished by the reader in any case of such errors and it‟s
imperative that it is avoided.
In order to win the day by getting the appropriate response from business
audiences, one must improve s/her writing skills by adopting formal research
methods. This includes searching manually for information, accessing data
electronically and using information that you find directly by interviewing your
sources. Better still, you can conduct scientific experiments that would unravel
the core needs of the audience and with this the write up would be appreciated
by the audience.
According to Mary Ellen Guffey
These grammatical measures must undertake to clear away any incidence of
Eliminate wordy prepositional phrases, long lead-ins, outdated
expressions and needless adverbs.
Eliminate fillers, repetitious words, and redundancies.
Revise for jargon use and avoid slang and clichés
Revise to include precise verbs, concrete nouns, and vivid adjectives.
4. WAYS TO CORRESPONDENCE AT WORK
Emails are types of written communication that the world over uses to inform,
share ideas and other internet transferable materials. Emails have made
businesses to correspond at work and created a large platform for both the
sender and the receiver to freely express themselves for intended result.
Emails have connected the world to engage in all forms of businesses and
schools are now possible on the internet as a result of the Information and
Email has come to transform manual letter writing to electronic writing (typing)
which the latter was regarded decades ago as the most secure and evidentsensitive method of writing to people regarded as high profile in society.
Certain etiquettes are observed when using emails at work and other field of
operations. To write an effective email, the message must be concise with a
single topic enabling the recipient to always refer when looking for the same
EmailTray rightly put some basic elements to look out for when encoding and
processing our thought to send business mail. This is referred to as Email
Make it easy to read and understand your message
As indicated earlier, a sender of a message and a receiver may vary in terms of
understanding based on their cultural, educational and social background, it is
important that emails that are sent recognizes the recipients ability in decoding
the message. Usual words common to both users should be used and
conciseness of the words and sentences should be enabled to render the reader
clearer on the purpose of the message.
Use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation
A message not properly organized in terms of grammar, spellings, and
punctuation could render it meaningless. Spelling words wrongly could take the
recipients so many minutes to fathom exactly the combining thought of the writer.
Its good if words are correctly checked before the punch key is pressed for the
message to be sent.
Messages typed in ALL CAP connotes shouting on the receiver of the message
and it is difficult to read whilst messages also typed in small letters could imply
the intellectual deficiency on the part of the sender.
Avoid using slang and other informal words which may not be at the disposal of
the receiver such as ain‟t, wanna, whats up, gonna etc.
Be careful with styling and formatting
Messages meant formal usage must abide by the standard format usually used
to enhance readability and understandability. The type of font and the font size
must be either Times New Roman or Arial and the 12 as size. In order to
emphasize and draw more attention to a particular part of the message, the font
size 14, underline or bold tools could be used.
The positioning of these formatting tools also enables the reader to match lines
to line with quick understanding.
Be thoughtful and polite
Every beginning of the mail must begin with appropriate salutation like Dear Sir,
Hello, etc and the end must also include a closing phrase like Best regards,
Sincerely, Thank you, to signify closing remarks.
The diction must always be sincerely polite and brief not to create wrong
Check it twice before you send
Check your email before sending to see if you wanted to send an attachment but
forgot to include it. Ask for permission before sending huge attachments.
Make sure the Subject field in not empty. The subject line should reflect the main
idea of the message.
Make sure the address or addresses in the To: field are those you wish to send
your message to.
Spell-check your message before sending: a message with typographical
mistakes can be treated as unserious or even be ignored.
Before clicking Send, reread your email to make sure it is not emotionally
charged or impolite.
Memo is the short pronunciation for memorandum.
It is usually created by oganisations to quickly and officially disseminate
information among the nook and cranny within an organization. Whereas Emails
and Letters may be sent to outsiders of an organization, memos are there to
serve the internal need to manage information among employees and the
Below is the general format for memos
The Company‟s Letterhead (Name of Company and Address)
Date of Memo
To: The recipient of the memo
From: Writer of the memo
Subject: Title of Memo
Attachment (if any)
Copy to any interested party (if the need be)
Initials of the sender
c. Routine Letters and Goodwill Messages
With the various exercises at workplaces, there are certain undertakings that
define the work done in various organizations. These activities are done on daily
basis for the organization to run and they are called routine works.
In the exercise of these activities, letters are written and some sort of
encouragement and pleasantries are exchanged by the staff and clients of the
organization. These day to day letters are referred to as routine letters and the
pleasantries that encourage the clients are the good will messages.
Some of these routine letters and goodwill messages include requesting
information and action, ordering merchandise, making claims, responding to
information requests, granting claims, letters of recommendations and other gifts
and cards with goodwill messages. The card with goodwill messages could be
the client‟s name and recognition of his or her birthday.
d. Persuasive messages
Persuasive messages are important in meeting certain demands for the
organization. It is usually applied when an organization wants to request for
favors or activate certain actions; carefully planned sales letters make claims and
There is specific duty line bestowed on the writer to persuade when appropriate
in order to:
Build interest with stakeholders
Obtain readers‟ attention and interest
Reduce resistance and motivate action
A Greek Sophist in the early century taught and encouraged humanity to adopt
persuasive skills in matters of mutual concern (in courts and public forum) that
transcend basic facts.
Aristotle acceded to this philosophy and argued that “We ought to in fairness
to fight our case with no help beyond the basic facts… other things affect
the result considerably owing to the defects of our hearers” he recognized
that there were three basic elements in the act of persuasion:
Ethos – establishment of sender credibility, or believability.
Aristotle recognized that, our appearances, stature and previous experiences in
standing and in relation to events creates good impression hence, attaching and
catching the conscience of people to believe in us. A sender who is able to
establish a good and credible image and reputation of his or herself is the
advantages of winning the game of believe of people.
Logos – appealing to reason.
Appealing to reason is based on making rational arguments that touch the
reasoning of people. This element is based on factual evidence that is capable of
drawing a conclusion in favor of the sender.
Persuasive argument in business writing usually consists of the following:
a. A clear presentation of facts and inferences
b. An objective analysis of this information
c. Reasoned conclusions from the analysis
d. And a proposed course of action based on these conclusions.
Pathos – appeal to emotions
Whereas business communication generally does not deal with emotive issues,
the client, customers, or the audience react emotionally to certain calls. It is
hence important to know the areas that are strongly influenced by emotions and
take advantage over it to the benefit of the organization.
In conclusion, persuasive letter must be properly set out and clear to draw the
heart of the reader to understand and act in favor in order to benefit the
organization at large.
e. Negative Messages
Negative messages are used at a point when no option is at the disposal of the
sender to persuade the audience. It is usually used when refusing requests,
refusing claims, and announcing bad news to customers and employees.
However, this is done with some degree of mildness and down tone to forestall
further relationship with the customer.
5. BUSINESS REPORTS AND PROPOSAL
A report is a formal account of transactions that have taken place within an
organization presented for the consumption stakeholders. It can also be any
informational work made with the specific intention of relaying information or
recounting certain events in a presentable form.
Reports can be classified as formal and informal depending on the recipients,
situation and other factors.
Informal report as against a formal report derives the distinguishing features from
the length, formality, nature, recipient (as said earlier), format, style, coherence
My focus is on the informal classification which has specific need of the internal
organization and its progress.
a. Informal Reports:
This report defines the project, gather data, use appropriate writing style, and
compose effective headings and exhibit objectivity.
There are six kind of informal report. These include:
Information and progress Report
Minutes of Meetings
b. Informal Proposal:
This is also called letter proposals which are usually two-four pages and contain
six principal parts, which are listed as format.
Informal Proposal has the following format
The underlining fact is that, businesses operate properly based on the priority
place on their communication dexterity. Local, National and international
organization strive their survival on communication. They may varying
circumstances and hurdles the businesses over the world encounter but with the
right communication out such the public relations, they always survive all odds.
1. Joseph, A. D. (2008) Human Communication: The Basic Course";
Mary E. G. Essentials of Business Communication. 6th Edition. SouthWestern College Publishing.
Peter H. Clive G. B. (2002) Business Communication. Rutledge. London
5. Wikipaedia (Free Encyclopaedia)