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Best Practices in Business Communication


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Best Practices in Business Communication

  1. 1. Best Practices in Business Communication
  2. 2. 1. Effective and ethical business communication 2. Professionalism in the workplace 3. Intercultural business communication 4. Writing tips for the business professional 5. The use of electronic messages and digital media for business communication 6. Positive and negative messages 7. Business presentations 8. Business reports, plans and proposals Topics Covered
  3. 3. Be Honest •Make sure what you are communicating aligns with your companies core values (ERC, 2014). Show sensitivity to cultural differences •Avoid cultural stereotyping, derogatory or inflammatory remarks. Be Respectful •Is what you are saying, writing, or presenting respectful and considerate? Best Practices in Effective and Ethical Business Communication Your organization should have a Code of Conduct book with specific ethical guidelines (ERC, 2014).
  4. 4. Best Practices in Effective and Ethical Business Communication The Ethics Resource Center (2014) is devoted to benchmarking best practice in ethical business communication and behavior. Below is an easy to remember acronym that will help guide you to making consistent ethical choices in business communication. P = Policy L=Legal U=Universal S=Self PLUS Ethical Decision Making Filters
  5. 5. E - Empathy - understanding the thoughts and needs of others P - Patience - taking the time to understand before we act I - Integrity - honesty and truth in all situations C - Courage - doing what is right even when it is difficult (ERC, 2014)
  6. 6. Professionalism in the workplace Best Practices According to a recent study by the Polk-Lepson Research Group (2013) for York University in Pennsylvania, professionalism is steadily decreasing in the work place. Understanding the best practices for being professional in the workplace will give you an strong competitive advantage over the vast majority of professionals who lack professionalism.
  7. 7. Do this •Control your use of on the job technology •Do not demonstrate a sense of entitlement •Dress appropriately, be on time, have a positive attitude •Be focused, get your work done on time •Practice honesty and own your mistakes •Use proper grammar in both speaking and writing •Treat others with respect •Maintain your commitments and strive to live by high ethical standards Not this •Texting during meetings,job interviews, using Facebook, Twitter, browsing internet •Carry a sense of entitlement or acting uninterested in the work you are doing. •Poor: grammar, personal hygiene and general appearance •Too much multi tasking resulting in poor quality work or unfinished tasks •Gossip about anything Professionalism Do’s and Dont’s ERP (2014) McKay (2014)
  8. 8. Professionalism in the workplace Best Practices Using positive language to frame statements instead of negative can soften the blow of statements and change a passive aggressive statement into a logical and unemotional request (Gonzaga, 2014). Negative Wording Positive Wording We will not be able to approve the budget until the analysis is complete. We will be able to approve the new budget once the analysis is complete. Gonzaga (2014)
  9. 9. Intercultural Business Communication Best Practices Knowledge and preparation about the cultures your colleagues or clients are from is one of the first and most crucial steps in Intercultural communication (Karim, 2012).
  10. 10. T Intercultural Business Communication Best Practices  Begin conversations with a warm and engaging welcome. If you can learn the greeting in the local language, this immediately breaks the ice and leaves a good impression.  When speaking English, speak slowly and use simple words.  Limit professional jargon and unfamiliar terms until you are sure they are understood.  Ask questions and politely request the other party to share their understanding. Karim, 2012
  11. 11. T  Never show frustration at having to explain something more than once.  Insist on an opinion or clarification if one is required.  Listen to everyone's opinion. It may be the person who is not speaking or is not the most articulate has the most valuable input.  Be patient and tolerant in accommodating others' styles of making a point. Karim, 2012 Intercultural Business Communication Best Practices
  12. 12. T  Follow up meetings with appropriate written communications to confirm times, dates, costs, and any other agreements or actions. Insist on a reply confirmation.  Ask, request and check for constant feedback  Smiling, relaxing and showing personality helps build relationships faster.  Deliver on your commitments. This builds trust and respect. It sets a standard and makes it easier to hold others accountable. Karim, 2012 Intercultural Business Communication Best Practices
  13. 13. Employ multilingual people who can advise on cultural norms. Spend time building communication networks. Consider cultural training, guidebooks or manuals for all team members working on cross-cultural projects. Karim, 2012 Intercultural Business Communication Best Practices
  14. 14. Written business communication has evolved from memos and type written letters and proposals to emails, tweets, texts and business Facebook pages. Using best practices in business writing will help you create a more professionally polished representation of yourself. Writing Tips for the Business Professional Best Practices
  15. 15. Tips for writing emails •Be descriptive in your subject line. •Avoid using abbreviations such as “LOL” or ALL CAPS. •Think before you reply and proof read several times before sending. •Keep it simple, clear and avoid use of trendy buzz words or jargon. •Be courteous •Use spell check and scan for appropriate grammar (Nordquist, 2014) Tips for general business writing •Use the “you” view instead of the I view so that your writing is reader focused •Focus on a conversational writing style •Keep things gender neutral •Write in the active voice •Keep the wording positive based even if the message is not (Gonzaga, 2014). Writing Tips for the Business Professional Best Practices Including Electronic Media
  16. 16. Positive & Negative Messages Best Practices 1. Purpose 2. Planning your Medium 3. Direct vs. Indirect The best practice for a negative message is to know how to reframe it positively or soften the blow. According to Learn and Debate (2014) there are 3 steps to Delivering a negative message Successfully:
  17. 17. Positive & Negative Messages Best Practices Direct Approach Start with clear statement of bad news Explain reasons End with positive note How you handle negative news with others will determine whether they can trust and respect you. Indirect Approach Start with neutral statement/buffer Explain Reasoning Clear statement End with positive note (Learn and Debate, 2014).
  18. 18. Positive & Negative Messages Best Practices Sometimes negative messages should be delivered face to face. This depends on: The context of the messages The audience Any cultural norms that should be respected Time and location (Learn and Debate, 2014).
  19. 19. Business Presentations Best Practices Allow time to prepare and practice your presentation. Include a brief introduction about yourself and who you are especially if you are speaking and presenting in front of a group that are not familiar with you. Keep it simple. Less is more.
  20. 20. Color and Large font can be used to emphasize key points in the presentation Professional graphics can also be used to promote key points. Follow the 10/20/30 Rule Limit your presentation to 10 slides maximum, limit your speech to 20 minutes and use a minimum 30pt font size Plan * Prepare * Practice Avoid the use of too many bullets, spinning texts or transitions to introduce subject matter Business Presentations Best Practices
  21. 21. Business Reports, Plans and Proposals Best Practices Professional business reports are an important way to share important information across the organization (iStart, 2014). Publicly traded companies need to provide valuable reporting to shareholders, board members and the general public. Business proposals are important tools for securing clients and winning business in general. They can also be used Business plans are necessary for getting funding and laying out the framework for
  22. 22. Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 •Conduct research on your target company. Understand what their needs are. •Make sure the first section contains the most important information and is compelling •Keep sections simple and avoid being overly wordy •Avoid being too proud or focused on your company’s ideals or successes •Proof read the proposal and share it with a trusted advisor •Know your proposal and consider even imaging presenting it smoothly •Include an Executive summary of your team. •If the proposal is a bid, make sure to include several pricing options •Images are good way to engage the prospect and create trust. •Keep your focus on the client, their needs and how you can fill those needs •Continue to weave the client in various ways throughout the proposal •Practice delivering the proposal until it feels right •Format a table of contents. •The proposal should feel unique and customized to the client. •Make sure photos are sized for both web and PDF viewing Avoid information that has nothing to do with what the client wants. •Present the proposal in person if possible. Business Proposals Best Practices •Make the customer feel like a VIP
  23. 23. •Utilize Key Performance indicators or KPI’s set by your department. •Temper the use of numbers and data with a human feel. •Make sure to connect with your audience Strategy •Do research on the topic and your audience. Gather as much information as you can before starting the report •. Schedule or conduct any meetings needed to gather information before you begin. Planning •Allow ample time to finish your report. Waiting until the last minute will show in your delivery and possible reporting errors. •Make sure to be considerate and thank anyone who has helped give you information or time to compile data for your report. Process •Let a trusted advisor or your supervisor proof your report and give his or her input. •This demonstrates that you can take advice and work collaboratively and will help make your report better. Evaluation Business Reports Best Practices
  24. 24. Business Plan Executive Summary and Mission Statement SWOT analysis and Competitor Analysis Product description and operations plan. Financial Plan including Timeline Marketing Plan including Market penetration Strategy Business Plans Best Practices
  25. 25. Follow the Best Practices tips and tools in this presentation and you will be on your way to greater success in your communication skills. This will lead to more career opportunities and better relationships with your colleagues and clients.
  26. 26. References Anderson, C. (2013). How to give a killer presentation. Retrieved from Coster, H. (2010, May 3). 10 Tips for better business writing. Retrieved from leadership-careers-tips.html CPE (2013). 2013 National Professionalism Survey. York College, Pennsylvania. Retrieved from website/cpe/York-College-Professionalism-in-the-Workplace-Study-2013.pdf Desmarias, C. (2014). & quick tips for better business writing. Retrieved from writing.html Duggan T. (2014). Strategies for dealing with intercultural communication. Retrieved from intercultural-communication-11875.html Ethics Org (2014). Ethics toolkit. Retrieved from Ethics Org (2014). PLUS: the decision making process. Retrieved from Ethics Org (2014). The ethical decision making job aid. Retrieved from Fawcett, S. (2014). Write a business report. Retrieved from
  27. 27. References Feigenbaum, E. (2014). Electronic methods of communication in business. Retrieved from communication-business-2934.htm Gonzaga (2014). Achieving a professional writing style. Retrieved from Business-Administration/undergraduate/SBAWR/APWS.asp iStart (2014). Tips for best practice business reporting. Retrieved from Joseph, C. (2014). Common workplace ethics violations. Retrieved from 2736.html J Williams Staffing (2014). How to show professionalism in the workplace. Retrieved from tips/professionalism-in-the-workplace/ Karim, S. (2012, March 30). Best practices to engage with cross cultural teams. Retrieved from Learn Debate (2014). Communicating negative messages. Retrieved from McKay, D.R. (2014). Professionalism: How to conduct yourself at work. Retrieved from
  28. 28. Nordquist, R. (2014). 10 tips on how to write a professional email. Retrieved from Mitchell, O. (2010, July 22). 13 best practice tips for effective presentation handouts. Retrieved from Nordquist, R. (2014). 10 tips on how to write a professional email. Retrieved from Riggins, J. (2014). Lessons we learn from you: Business proposal best practices. Retrieved from Ross, D. (2009). The role of ethics and integrity in organizations. Retrieved from University of Richmond Writing Center (2014). Writing in the disciplines: Business. Retrieved from References