Business Communication in Today’s World

INTRODUCTION Definition Communication is defined as the process of transferring information and meaning between senders and receivers, using one or more written, oral, visual or electronic channels. Simply put, communication is the exchange of information between people. It is important to get feedback from your audience and vice versa for the process of communication to take place effectively. The feedback can be either positive or negative. Business communication is any communication used in an organisation with an intention to promote a product, improve service or with the intention to make a sale.

This type of communication also occurs within the organisation between the management and employees. It has purpose and a lot of attention is given to detail. Business communication has undergone a lot of transformation as a result of the growth of information technology that has changed the whole concept of communication. In the past, businesses had a model of communication that left very little room for interaction and conversation with the receiver of the message. Currently the model that works and is now used by most organisations is one that gives room to both conversation and interaction with the receivers. BODY

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Communication is very vital in any organization. Like blood in our bodies, it is the channel that gives life to the organisation and without it, organisations would not be functional. There are two types of business communication in an organization 1. Internal Communication 2. External Communication Internal communication This defines communication that occurs within an organisation. It occurs between management and departments and between the employees of the organization. This type of communication may be formal or informal. Internal communication is vital because it helps in increasing job satisfaction, productivity and profits.

It is also a platform for employees and management to air and address grievances. There are three types of communication under internal business communication a) Upward Communication b) Downward Communication c) Horizontal communication a) Upward communication Upward communication is the flow of information from subordinates to superiors or from employees to management. By definition, communication is a two-way affair. Yet for effective two-way organizational communication to occur, it must begin from the bottom. Upward Communication is a means for staff to: * Exchange vital information * Offer ideas Express enthusiasm * Achieve job satisfaction * Provide feedback Diagram showing upward communication in a bank b) Downward Communication This is the flow of information from the person or people who are at the top of the organisation to their subordinates. Downward communication generally provides information for direction and guidance e. g. Instructions on how to do a task. This type of communication is needed in an organization to: * Transmit important information * Give instructions * Announce decisions * Seek cooperation * Provide motivation * Increase efficiency * Obtain feedback c) Horizontal communication

Horizontal communication normally involves coordinating information, and allows people with the same or similar rank in an organization to co-operate or collaborate. Communication among employees at the same level is crucial for the accomplishment of work. Horizontal Communication is essential for: * Solving problems * Accomplishing tasks * Improving teamwork * Building goodwill * Boosting efficiency External Communication This type of communication occurs between the organisation and the public. This includes suppliers, clients or customers, shareholders or investors and with other organisations.

Social networks have transformed external communication. The popularity of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social networks have made them effective tools for communication that organisations now use. External communication leads to: * Increased sales volume * Public credibility * Operational efficiency * Achievement of organisational goals * Customer satisfaction METHODS OF COMMUNICATION There are different communication methods that are used in business communication. We have verbal, written and visual methods that come in different forms.

These forms of communication have undergone transformation with the introduction of information technology. For example verbal forms of communication like telephone calls have been improved to incorporate video conferencing. It is important to choose the right method and form of communication if you are to effectively pass information to your audience. The choice is determined by several factors: * Urgency – How important is the information to the recipient and what would be the effect of delay? * Security and privacy – Are the contents of the message classified? Nature and complexity – does the message contain detailed/ technically complex information that could be misunderstood? * Number of recipients – is the message intended for one person, a selected group or everyone? * Record – Will evidence/proof of communication be needed? * Distance – Is the message for internal use only or does it need to be transmitted further? * Impression/ appearance – is the message required to create a favorable impression by its style/ quality/ appearance? If so, are the recipient’s taste known? * Feedback – will an instant response be needed from the message? Cost –How much will it cost you to pass this information and is it worth it? Forms of communication include: * Memos * Email * Letters * Newspapers/magazines * Television * Telephone * Meetings Information technology has transformed business technology and today there are several tools that are available for communication both internal and external communication. Some of these tools include: * Wireless network * Electronic presentations * Virtual meeting spaces * Wikis * Voice technology * Video conferencing CONCLUSION Business communication should be effective if the organization is to achieve its goals and desired results.

The purpose of business communication is to pass information to the receiver and receive a response. Effective communication is communication that ensures that this happens in an efficient way. For information to be effective, it has to be able to: * Provide information that is practical – it should be able to give the receiver information that they can apply in their daily life. * It should give facts and avoid vague impressions – Language used should be strong and give clear and accurate information. In the case of an argument it should give evidence to support the conclusion reached. The presentation should be concise and efficient this can be achieved by summarizing and highlighting the main points Business communication is important because it helps in: * Decision making – business communication makes the process of decision making faster because reliable information has been received. * Solving problems – Effective communication ensures that problems are solved faster because the problems have already been understood. * Foreseeing potential problems that the business could experience * Developing stronger relationships business relationships * Developing exceptional marketing messages

It is important to note that business communication is different from social communication with friends and family. Business communication is complicated and requires skill and attention. As result there are challenges that rise when trying to ensure that an organization has effective business communication. Some of these challenges include: Globalization in business and the diversity of the workforce – Businesses can presently be able to connect with the world and sell products across borders.

Although, the opening up of the market is an advantage to the business, it presents new challenges in communication. The organization should find methods to be able to effectively communicate with the new market and diverse workforce that these new opportunities present. The escalation of value given to business communication – We are living in the Information age and competition in the marketplace is determined by how well business information is relayed by the organization. It is important to acquire information on competition, customer needs and the rules and regulations.

Growth of technology – Business communication today is dependent on technology and technology is very dynamic. For an organization to be relevant it has to have the ability to transform at the same pace that technology is advancing. It is therefore important to use it productively. We should also remember that technology is just a tool for communication, not a replacement to think or communicate for an organization. Increasing reliance on teamwork – teams are vital in an organizational structure and for teams to produce results there is a need for them to have efficient communication.

This sometimes presents challenges but developing great communication lines ensures that teamwork is successful. Business communication is growing; innovations are being made daily to make communication more efficient. Conventional ways are being transformed to incorporate technology or being discarded completely for lack of relevance. All this is done in an effort to improve business and increase productivity. REFERENCES Bove`e, L. , and Thill, V. (2010). Business Communication Today. Upper Saddle, NJ. Pearson Education Inc. Publishing.

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