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Ch 1: Business Communication

Ch 1: Business Communication






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  • Chapter 1. Business communication, management, and success
  • Business depends on communication. In every organization, communication is the way people get their points across and get work done. Communication takes many forms: face-to-face or phone conversations, informal meetings, presentations, e-mail messages, letters, memos, reports, blogs, text messaging, and Web sites. All of these methods are forms of verbal communication, or communication that uses words. Nonverbal communication does not use words. Pictures, computer graphics, and company logos are nonverbal. Interpersonal nonverbal signals include smiles, who sits where at a meeting, the size of an office, and how long someone keeps a visitor waiting.
  • Business communication has three basic purposes: to inform, to request or persuade, and to build goodwill. When you inform, you explain something or tell an audience something. When you request or persuade, you want the audience to act. The word request suggests that the action will be easy or routine; persuade suggests that you will have to motivate and convince the audience to act. When you build goodwill, you create a good image of yourself and of your organization—the kind of image that makes people want to do business with you. Most messages have multiple purposes. For example, when you write an e-mail to co-workers asking a question, you inform them about your situation, persuade them to help you, and try to build a good image of yourself as someone who wants to resolve an issue.
  • Communication—oral, nonverbal, and written—goes to both internal and external audiences. Internal audiences are other people in the same organization such as subordinates, superiors, and peers. External audiences are people outside the organization such as customers, suppliers, unions, stockholders, potential employees, government agencies, the press, and the general public.
  • Writing costs money. Besides the cost of computers, software, printers, paper, and sometimes postage, there is the major expense of employees’ time. Effective writing helps to save time, increase productivity among workers, communicates ideas more clearly, and builds goodwill. On the other hand, poor communication can cost billions of dollars. Poor writing wastes time because it takes longer to read. It also wastes efforts because ineffective messages don’t get results. Finally, poor writing also loses goodwill.
  • Use these five criteria for effective business and administrative communication. Clear. The meaning the audience gets is the meaning the communicator intended. Complete. All of the audience’s questions are answered. Correct. All of the information in the message is accurate. Saves the receiver’s time. The style, organization, and visual or aural impact of the message help the receivers read, understand, and act on the information as quickly as possible. Builds goodwill. The message presents a positive image of the communicator and his or her organization. Whether a message meets these five criteria depends on the interactions among the communicator, the audience, the purposes of the message, and the situation.
  • Business communication is constantly changing. Ten trends in business, government, and nonprofit organizations affect business and administrative communication. These include: technology changes, including information overload and data security versus privacy; a focus on quality and customers’ needs; entrepreneurship; teamwork; diversity; globalization and outsourcing; legal and ethical concerns; balancing work and family; job flexibility; and the rapid rate of change.
  • Business and administrative communication rely on conventions. Conventions are widely accepted practices you routinely encounter. For example, a traditional classroom convention is for instructors to distribute a course syllabus near the beginning of the semester. The document wouldn’t make sense if distributed during the final week because the appropriate context would have passed. Moreover, the document would not function correctly if it did not include conventional elements such as due dates or required readings. Organizational settings also have unique conventions. These help people recognize, produce, and interpret different kinds of communications. The key to using conventions effectively is to remember that they always need to fit the audience, context, and purpose.
  • The best communicators are conscious of the context in which they communicate. To analyze your communication situation, ask the following questions: What’s at stake—to whom? Think about the concerns your boss and your audience will have. Should you send a message? Sometimes silence is the most tactful response. What channel should you use? Paper documents and presentations are formal. E-mail, phone calls, and stopping by someone’s office are less formal. What should you say? How detailed should you be? The answers will depend on the kind of message, your purposes, audiences, and the corporate culture. How should you say it? How you arrange your ideas and the words you use shape the audience’s response to what you say.
  • When you’re faced with a business communication problem, you need to develop a solution that will both solve the organizational problem and meet the psychological needs of the people involved. Some strategies to help you solve business communication problems include gathering knowledge, answering six analysis questions, brainstorming solutions, organizing information to fit rhetorical situation, and making documents look inviting.
  • Additional strategies to help you solve business communication problems include revising drafts for tone, editing drafts for standard English, and using replies to plan future messages.
  • In order to effectively communicate, you should have an understanding of the audience, purpose, and the organizational context. You can gain this understanding by answering the six analysis questions. 1. Who is your audience? What characteristics are relevant to this particular message? If you are writing or speaking to more than one person, how do the people in your audience differ? 2. What are your purposes in communicating? 3. What information must your message include? 4. How can you build support for your position? What reasons or audience benefits will your audience find convincing? 5. What objections can you expect your audience to have? What negative elements of your message must you de-emphasize or overcome? 6. What aspects of the total situation may affect audience response? The economy? The time of year? Morale in the organization? The relationship between the audience and communication? Any special circumstances?
  • You’ll learn several different psychological patterns of organization this semester. For now, remember these three basic principles: 1. Put good news first. 2. In general, put the main point or question first. In the subject line or first paragraph, make it clear that you’re writing about something that is important to the reader. 3. When you must persuade a reluctant audience, disregard point 2 and approach the subject indirectly
  • A well-designed document is easier to read and builds goodwill. To make a document visually attractive: use subject lines to orient the reader quickly, use headings to group related ideas, use lists and indented sections to emphasize sub-points and examples, number points that must be followed in sequence, and use short paragraphs—usually six typed lines or fewer. If you plan these design elements before you begin composing, you’ll save time and the final document will probably be better.
  • To create positive style, read your message as if you were in your audience’s shoes. How would you feel if you received it? Remember, good business and administrative writing is both friendly and businesslike. You can emphasize the positive when you put positive information first, give it more space, or set it off visually in an indented list; eliminate negative words if you can; and focus on what is possible, not what is impossible.
  • Business people care about correctness in spelling, grammar, and punctuation. If your grasp of mechanics is fuzzy or if English is not your native language, you’ll need to memorize rules and perhaps find a good book or a tutor to help you. If you know how to write correctly but rarely take the time to do so, now is the time to begin to edit and proofread to eliminate careless errors. Always proofread your document before you send it out. Double-check the reader’s name, any numbers, and the first and last paragraphs.
  • Use responses of previous messages to plan future ones. For instance, evaluate the feedback you get. The real test of any message is “Did you get what you wanted, when you wanted it?” If the answer is no, then the message has failed—even if the grammar is perfect, the words elegant, the approach creative, and the document stunningly attractive. If the message fails, you need to find out why. Analyze your successes, too. You know you’ve succeeded when you get the results you want, both in terms of objective, concrete actions, and in terms of image and goodwill. You want to know why your message worked.

Ch 1: Business Communication Ch 1: Business Communication Presentation Transcript

  • Chapter 1 Business Communication, Management & Success
  • Types of Communication
    • Verbal
      • Face-to-face
      • Phone conversations
      • Informal meetings
      • Presentations
      • E-mail messages
      • Letters
    • Nonverbal
      • Computer graphics
      • Company logos
      • Smiles
      • Size of an office
      • Location of people at meetings
  • Communication Purposes
    • All business communication has three basic purposes
      • To inform (explain)
      • To request or persuade (urge action)
      • To build goodwill (make good image)
    • Most messages have more than one purpose
  • Audiences
    • Internal
      • Go to people inside organization
      • Memo to subordinates, superiors, peers
    • External
      • Go to people outside organization
      • Letter to customers, suppliers, others
  • Benefits & Costs
    • Effective writing
      • Saves time
      • Increases one’s productivity
      • Communicates points more clearly
      • Builds goodwill
    • Poor writing
      • Wastes time
      • Wastes effort
      • Loses goodwill
    Stiff , legal language Selfish tone Buried main point Vague requests Misused words
  • Criteria for Effective Messages
    • Clear
    • Complete
    • Correct
    • Saves receiver’s time
    • Builds goodwill
  • 10 Business Trends
    • Technology
    • Focus on quality, customers’ needs
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Teamwork
    • Diversity
    • Globalization and outsourcing
    • Legal and ethical concerns
    • Balancing work and family
    • Job Flexibility
    • Rapid rate of change
  • Conventions
    • Conventions —widely accepted practices you routinely encounter
    • Vary by organizational setting
    • Help people recognize, produce, and interpret communications
    • Need to fit rhetorical situation: audience, context, and purpose
  • Analyze Situations: Ask Questions
    • What’s at stake—to whom?
    • Should you send a message?
    • What channel should you use?
    • What should you say?
    • How should you say it?
  • Solving Business Communication Problems
    • Gather knowledge
    • Answer six analysis questions
    • Brainstorm solutions
    • Organize information to fit
      • Audiences
      • Purposes
      • Situation
    • Make document look inviting
  • Solving Business Communication Problems, continued…
    • Revise draft for tone
      • Friendly
      • Businesslike
      • Positive
    • Edit draft for standard English
      •  Names  Numbers
    • Use replies to plan future messages
  • Six Analysis Questions
    • Who are your audiences?
    • What are your purposes?
    • What information must you include?
    • How can you support your position?
    • What audience objections do you expect?
    • What part of context may affect audience reaction?
  • Organize to Fit Audience, Purpose, Situation
    • Put good news first
    • Put the main point/question first
    • Persuade a reluctant audience by delaying the main point/question
  • Make Message Look Inviting
    • Use subject line to orient reader
    • Use headings to group related ideas
    • Use lists for emphasis
    • Number items if order matters
    • Use short paragraphs—six lines max.
  • Create Positive Style
    • Emphasize positive information
      • Give it more space
      • Use indented list to set it off
    • Omit negative words, if you can
    • Focus on possibilities, not limitations
  • Edit Your Draft
    • Double-check these details  
      • Reader’s name
      • Any numbers
      • First and last ¶
    •  Spelling, grammar, punctuation
    • Always proofread before sending
  • Use Response to Plan Next Message
    • Evaluate feedback you get
      • If message fails, find out why
      • If message succeeds, find out why
    • Success = results you want, when you want them