To succeed in business today, you need the ability to communicate with people both inside and outside your organization. Whether you are competing to get the job you want or to win the customers your company needs, your success or failure depends to a large degree on your ability to communicate. Communication is the process of sending and receiving messages, whether you are exchanging e-mail, giving a formal presentation, or chatting with co-workers around the espresso machine. However, communication is considered effective only when others understand your message correctly and respond to it the way you want them to.
Your ability to communicate effectively increases productivity, both yours and your organization’s. With good communication skills, you can anticipate problems, make decisions, and coordinate work flow.
With good communication skills, you can develop stronger business relationships and promote products and services. You can shape the impressions you and your company make on colleagues, employees, supervisors, investors, and customers. Moreover, you can perceive and respond to the needs of these stakeholders (the various groups you interact with). Without successful communication, people misunderstand each other and misinterpret information. Ideas misfire or fail to gain attention, and people and companies flounder. At every stage of your career, communication is the way you’ll succeed, and the higher you rise in your organization, the more important it becomes. In fact, top managers spend as much as 85 percent of their time communicating with others
No matter how good you are at accounting, law, science, or whatever professional specialty you pursue, most companies expect you to be competent at a wide range of communication tasks. Fortunately, the specific skills that employers expect from you are the very skills that will help you advance in your career: Organizing and expressing ideas and information coherently and completely Listening to others effectively Communicating effectively with people from diverse backgrounds and experiences Using communication technologies effectively and efficiently Communicating in a civilized manner that reflects contemporary expectations of business etiquette Communicating ethically, even when choices aren't crystal clear You'll have the opportunity to practice all these skills throughout this course—but don’t stop there. Successful professionals continue to hone communication skills throughout their careers.
Effective business messages have a number of common characteristics: Provide practical information. Business messages usually describe how to do something, explain why a procedure was changed, highlight the cause of a problem or a possible solution, discuss the status of a project, or explain why a new piece of equipment should be purchased. Give facts rather than impressions. Business messages use concrete language and specific details. Information must be clear, convincing, accurate, and ethical. You must present hard evidence (not just opinion) and present all sides of an argument before you commit to a conclusion. Clarify and condense information. Business messages frequently use tables, charts, photos, or diagrams to clarify or condense information, to explain a process, or to emphasize important information. State precise responsibilities. Business messages are directed to a specific audience. Therefore, you must clearly state what is expected of, or what you can do for, that particular audience. Persuade others and offer recommendations. Business messages frequently persuade employers, customers, or clients to purchase a product or service or adopt a plan of action. To be effective, persuasive messages must show readers just how a product, service, or idea will benefit them.
Internal communication refers to the exchange of information and ideas within an organization. Internal communication helps employees do their jobs, develop a clear sense of the organization’s mission, and identify and react quickly to potential problems. The official structure (formal communication network) is typically shown as an organization chart that summarizes the lines of authority; each box represents a link in the chain of command; each line represents a formal channel for the transmission of official messages. Information can flow in three directions. Downward flow. Organizational decisions are usually made at the top and then flow down to the people who will carry them out. Upward flow. To solve problems and make intelligent decisions, managers must learn what’s going on in the organization. Horizontal flow. Communication also flows from one department to another, either laterally or diagonally. The grapevine (informal communication network) supplements official channels. People have casual conversations at work. Most deal with personal matters, but about 80 percent of the information on the grapevine pertains to business. Some executives are wary of the grapevine, possibly because it threatens their power to control the flow of information. Savvy managers tap into the grapevine, using it to spread and receive informal messages.
External communication carries information into and out of the organization. Good communication is the first step in creating a favorable impression. Carefully constructed letters, reports, memos, oral presentations, and websites convey an important message about the quality of your organization. Messages such as statements to the press, letters to investors, advertisements, price increase announcements, and litigation updates require special care because of their delicate nature. Such documents are often drafted by a marketing or public relations team—a group of individuals whose sole job is creating and managing the flow of formal messages to outsiders. The public relations team also helps management plan for and respond to crises—which can range from environmental accidents or sabotage situations to strikes, massive product failure, major litigation, or even an abrupt change in management. Informal contacts with outsiders are important for learning about customer needs. As a member of an organization, you are an important informal conduit for communicating with the outside world. Many outsiders may form their impression of your organization on the basis of the subtle clues you transmit through your tone of voice, facial expression, and general appearance. Top managers rely heavily on informal contacts with outsiders to gather information that might be useful to their companies, either by networking with fellow executives or talking with customers and frontline employees.
Communication is a dynamic, transactional (two-way) process that can be broken into six phases . The communication process is repeated until both parties have finished expressing themselves The sender has an idea. You conceive an idea and want to share it. The sender encodes the idea. When you put your idea into a message that your receiver will understand, you are encoding it: that is, deciding on the form, length, organization, tone, and style—all of which depend on your idea, your audience, and your personal style or mood. The sender transmits the message. To physically transmit your message to your receiver, you select a communication channel (verbal or nonverbal, spoken or written) and a medium (telephone, letter, memo, e-mail, report, face-to-face exchange). The receiver gets the message. For communication to occur, your receiver must first get the message. The receiver decodes the message. Your receiver must decode (absorb and understand) your message. The receiver sends feedback. After decoding your message, the receiver responds in some way and signals that response to you.
Business communication is far more demanding than the communication you typically engage in with family, friends, and school associates. Expectations are higher on the job, and the business environment is so complex that your messages can fail for reasons you've never even heard of before. Business communication is affected by factors such as the globalization of business and the increase in workforce diversity, the increasing value of information, the pervasiveness of technology, the growing reliance on teamwork, the evolution of organizational structures, and numerous barriers to successful communication.
As competition for jobs, customers, and resources continues to grow, the importance of information continues to escalate as well. An organization’s information is now every bit as important as its people, money, raw materials and other resources. Even companies often not associated with the so-called Information Age, such as manufacturers, often rely on knowledge workers at all levels of the organization, employees who specialize in acquiring, processing, and communicating information. The valuable information you'll be expected to communicate addresses such key areas as competitive insights, customer needs, and regulations and guidelines.
Technology affects virtually every aspect of business communication. However, even those technological developments intended to enhance communication can actually impede it if they are not used intelligently. Moreover, staying on top of technology requires time, energy, and constant improvement of skills. Voice systems. The human voice will always be central to business communication, and it's being supplemented by a variety of new technologies. Voice synthesis regenerates a human speaking voice from computer files that represent words or parts of words. Voice recognition converts human speech to computer-compatible data. Both technologies continue to improve every year, gaining richer vocabularies and more human-sounding voices. Virtual agents are a limited form of machine intelligence, also known as bots (derived from robot ), verbots, and V-reps . These virtual operators are used in customer service departments and other areas where people tend to ask similar questions over and over. Through a combination of voice recognition, voice synthesis, and basic problem-solving skills, these virtual operators are some 40 percent faster than menu-based touch-tone calls, and they cost about half as much as a call handled by a human. Mobile communication. If you're accustomed to studying on the go, moving from dorm room to coffee shop to library, you'll fit right in with today's work environments. In many cases, mobile workers don't even have traditional offices, using temporary cubicles at work, home offices, cars, airports, and even new Internet-equipped airplanes for office space. Networking advances. Instant messaging lets two or more people connect virtually and exchange text instantaneously, without the delays of going through central e-mail servers. Peer-to-peer (P2P) computing extends this concept by letting multiple PCs communicate directly so that they can share files or work on large problems simultaneously. Wireless networking, commonly know as Wi-Fi , extends the reach of the Internet with wireless access points that connect to PCs and handheld devices via radio signals. Short messaging service (SMS) is a text communication feature that has been common on mobile phones in other parts of the world for several years and has recently gained a presence in North America. Instead of interrupting people with a voice call, you simply key in a text message and send it to another phone.
Throughout your career, you’ll find that perfectly effective messages can fail for a variety of reasons. Your attempts to transmit and receive messages can be disrupted, distorted, even blocked by communication barriers such as these: Business messages can be interrupted or distorted by a wide variety of distractions . Physical distractions range from bad connections and poor acoustics to illegible printing and uncomfortable meeting rooms. Emotional distractions can affect the way you prepare and deliver messages and the way your audiences interpret those messages. The sheer number of messages that people receive on the job can be distracting. Too many messages can result in information overload , which makes it difficult to discriminate between useful and useless information. Our minds organize incoming sensations into a mental map that represents our individual perception of reality. As a sender, you choose the details that seem important to you. As a receiver, you try to fit new details into your existing pattern; however, if a detail doesn't quite fit, you are inclined to distort the information rather than rearrange your pattern—a process known as selective perception . The very language we use to communicate can turn into a barrier if two people define a given word or phrase differently. When a boss asks for something &quot;as soon as possible,&quot; does that mean within ten seconds, ten minutes, ten days? Companies that restrict the flow of information, either intentionally or unintentionally, limit their competitive potential. With their many levels between top and bottom, tall hierarchies often result in significant loss of message quality in both directions. Given the difficulty of communication in the best of circumstances, deceptive communication is regrettably easy. Unscrupulous communicators can present opinions as facts, omit crucial information, exaggerate benefits, or downplay risks.
A careful combination of strategies can improve your ability to communicate effectively. For example, you can minimize distractions, adopt an audience-centered approach, improve your basic communication skills, and make your feedback constructive. Everyone in the organization can help overcome distractions . Start by reducing as much noise, visual clutter, and interruption as possible. Don't let e-mail, instant messaging, or telephones interrupt you every minute of the day. You never want to under-communicate, but sending unnecessary messages or sending the right message to the wrong people is almost as bad. Try to overcome emotional distractions by recognizing your own feelings and anticipating responses from others. Adopting an audience-centered approach means focusing on and caring about your audience, making every effort to get your message across in a way that is meaningful to them. Learn as much as possible about the biases, education, age, status, and style of your audience to create an effective message. Your own skills as a communicator will be as much a factor in your business success as anything else. No matter what your skill level, opportunities to improve are numerous and usually easy to find. As mentioned earlier, many employers provide communication training in both general skills and specific scenarios, but don't wait. Use this course to begin mastering your skills now. Whether giving or receiving criticism, be sure you do so in a constructive way. Constructive feedback , sometimes called constructive criticism , focuses on the process and outcomes of communication, not on the people involved. In contrast, destructive feedback delivers criticism with no effort to stimulate improvement. In today's hectic, competitive world, the notion of etiquette (the expected norms of behavior in a particular situation) can seem outdated and unimportant. However, the way you conduct yourself can have a profound influence on your company's success and your career. When executives hire and promote you, they expect your behavior to protect the company's reputation. The more you understand such expectations, the better chance you have of avoiding career-damaging mistakes. Respect, courtesy, and common sense are three principles that will get you through just about anything; moreover, these principles will encourage forgiveness if you do happen to make a mistake.
Technology is an aid to interpersonal communication, not a replacement for it. This fact may seem obvious, but you can easily lose sight of it. Technology can't think for you or communicate for you, and if you lack some essential skills, technology probably can't fill in the gaps. Technology is not always the answer to your communication needs. The sheer number of possibilities in many technological tools can get in the way of successful communication. Moreover, if technological systems aren’t adapted to a user’s (or an organization's) needs, people won't adapt to the technology—they won’t use it effectively, or worse, they won’t use it at all. You don't have to become an expert to use most communication technologies effectively, but you will need to be familiar with the basic features and functions of the tools your employer expects you to use. Technology will always require some new skill to be learned. Whatever the tool, if you learn the basics, your work will be less frustrating and far more productive. Computers and other technologies used in business communication are often promoted as time savers and efficiency boosters, but such benefits don't always materialize. You have a responsibility to invest your time—and your company's money—wisely. To do so, you may often need to make tough decisions, because you won't always have enough time to make everything perfect. As with many of the tasks that you'll face on the job, you'll need to strike a balance between the importance of the communication activity and the time and money you invest in it. In spite of technology’s efficiency and speed, it may not be the best choice for every communication situation. For one thing, even in the best circumstances, technology can't match the rich experience of person-to-person contact. For another thing, most human beings need to connect with other people. You can create amazing documents and presentations without ever leaving your desk or meeting anyone in person. But if you stay hidden behind technology, people won't get to know you nearly as well.
Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication BY:- PANKAJ SOLANKI PGPSE PARTICIPENT AFTERSCHOOOL.
Achieving Success Today Communication Sending Acting Receiving Understanding
Effective Communication Productivity Issues Problem Solving Overall Work Flow Decision Making
Effective Communication Professional Image Business Relationships Stakeholder Response Promotional Materials
What Employers Expect <ul><li>Organizing and presenting ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Listening effectively </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating across cultures </li></ul><ul><li>Using communication technologies </li></ul><ul><li>Practicing business etiquette </li></ul><ul><li>Communicating ethically </li></ul>
Characteristics of Effective Messages Practicality Clarity and Conciseness Persuasion Factual Basis Precision Recommendations
Internal Communication Official Structure The Grapevine Chain of Command Formal Lines of Power Informal Networking Unofficial Lines of Power
External Communication Formal Contacts Informal Contacts Marketing Public Relations Employees Managers
The Communication Process Channel and Medium Six-Phase Process Phase 1 Sender Has an Idea Phase 3 Sender Transmits Message Phase 2 Sender Encodes Idea Phase 6 Receiver Sends Feedback Phase 4 Receiver Gets Message Phase 5 Receiver Decodes Message Situation
Why Is Business Communication Unique? Globalization and Diversity Information Value Reliance on Teamwork New Corporate Structures Pervasiveness of Technology Communication Barriers
Increasing Value of Business Information Knowledge Workers Competitive Insights Regulations and Guidelines Customer Needs
Pervasive Technology Voice Systems Virtual Agents Networking Advances Mobile Communication
Communication Barriers Distractions Information Overload Perceptual Differences Language Differences Restrictive Environments Deceptive Tactics
Effective Communication Improve Your Skills Give and Get Feedback Apply Business Etiquette Minimize Distractions Consider the Audience
Using Business Communication Technology Maintaining Perspective Improving Productivity Reconnecting With People Investing Wisely