Business Communication - The Essentials

business communication the essentials

Business communication is the infrastructure that supports and empowers an organization to operate effectively and reach its goals. It includes all of the processes, software, and techniques utilized to strengthen internal relationships and enhance customer service. It helps to standardize and enhance operational practices while minimizing errors that negatively impact employee productivity.

Effective communication is not always an entirely innate ability, though some individuals are naturally better at it than others. Even the most articulate communicators must practice and employ new strategies to make sure the audience derives the most benefit.

Giving a presentation, writing an email, or speaking with a few co-workers requires perfecting 7 essential skills. By using these communication skills, organizations can build an informed and productive workforce that delivers top of the line customer service.

  • Sender - A speaker giving the message
  • Receiver - The audience receiving the message
  • Medium - The method by which the message is conveyed
  • Contextual Factors - Body language, timing, and enviornment of the situation where a communication is taking place
  • Message - The object of communication
  • Feedback - Audience response to the message

7 Essential Elements of Business Communication

Good business communication is not just about teaching employees to use email or software systems to collaborate on business processes. It requires learning and applying several elements and skills that assist in cementing long-term relationships and strengthening a workforce.

Prioritizing one element of the essentials of business communication while minimizing the others will not allow an organization to optimize customer service and reach the goals it needs to achieve success. To optimize business communication, it's important to understand the seven essential elements that make it possible, including-

1. Structure

The way an employee structures communication is essential to how the information is received and comprehended by an audience. Similar to the writing skills taught in school, all forms of communication consist of an opening, body, and a close.

This structural rule is set in stone whether it is a presentation, a written document conveying HR policies, or an email sent to a customer.

The details of these three components include

  • Opening- This portion allows the audience to quickly know what the presentation will be about. An opening that is concise and to the point will lure the audience to pay close attention to the remainder of the message.
  • Body- This portion conveys all of the statistics and figures related to the actions the receiver should take after hearing the message. All body-related material should be relevant and easy to understand.
  • Close- This portion summarizes and reviews all of the key points so the audience understands what to do next.

2. Clarity

The speaker should be very clear and avoid using irrelevant details that might confuse the receiver. For example, he/she should probably not use 10 minutes to talk about an upcoming holiday party during an important meeting that reviews new HR policies.

The speaker should consider the audience and what they need to hear while focusing on the desired outcome of the meeting. Using simple and concise language, avoiding confusing jargon, and employing the proper medium to convey a particular message are all ways to ensure clarity when giving a presentation.

3. Consistency

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An audience does not respond well to an inconsistent message that contains conflicting information. This is particularly true for management presentations, correspondences, and relationships. It is also true when an employee is conveying important information to a customer.

Those who distrust a speaker will not feel confident to take the action the speaker is requesting they take. The audience will also not be willing to pay attention to an inconsistent speaker in the future, which can further damage the operational flow and harm customer relationships.

4. Medium

The speaker should consider the best method to deliver his/her message by considering the audience, the theme of the message, cost variances in methods, and the accuracy of the potential medium. Mediums can include memos, letters, presentations, in-person meetings, emails, digital media, press releases, commercials, or social media posts.

When advertising to customers, it's critical to ensure a return on investment by avoiding spending more money than necessary. For example, rather than paying for a television advertisement, a startup or small business should consider employing a relatively low-cost social media outreach campaign.

5. Relevancy

It is human nature for an audience to lose interest in an irrelevant and tedious presentation. Though most employees probably aren't particularly interested in work-related meeting presentations, management can make it enjoyable and interesting by using a few techniques.

For example, a manager that is covering new HR policies in an in-person meeting should consider using a PowerPoint presentation composed of interesting graphics and pictures. In contrast, spreadsheets composed of tedious data is probably not the best way to capture the audience's interest.

6. Recency

A message is only remembered when the opening and close are powerful. Often referred to as the Primacy Effect or the Recency Effect, an audience tends to only recollect the first few and last few points of a message, rather than the entire business communication.

Powerful openings typically include a quote, joke, or funny picture that lures in the audience. The speaker should remember that the opening technique must relate to the business communication theme or it serves no purpose. Similarly, a well-thought-out close should bear a strong resemblance to the body of the communication to ensure the audience remembers it.

7. Memorability

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Experts have discovered that an audience is typically only able to remember 5-9 pieces of data at any time. Therefore, a speaker that wants an audience to comprehend and hold on to a business communication that day should limit the message to 5-9 key points.

If the communicator wants the audience to remember the message 6 weeks later, he should make certain the message is one of the 5-9 most essential business communications the receivers have heard in those 6 weeks.

  • Provide information rather than just talk
  • Surprise the audience with wit, a staged entrance, or another lighthearted gesture
  • Use colorful language to paint a picture
  • Tell a story to make the message relatable

Key Takeaways

In conclusion, here are the key takeaways to remember about the essentials of business communication

  • Business communication should be structured with a strong opening, body, and close.
  • Business communication should be clear and concise to ensure the audience remembers and understands it.
  • Business communication should be consistent and avoid irrelevant or confusing information that may cause the audience to distrust the speaker.
  • A speaker should use the most effective and cost-friendly medium to deliver a message and receive a return on investment.
  • The message should be relevant so the audience doesn't lose interest or forget the main idea behind the communication.
  • The opening and close should be powerful and memorable to ensure the audience remembers the main idea.
  • The speaker should remember the 5-9 rule due to the audience's short-term memory vs. long-term memory.

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