effective communication skills

Communication In Business

Business communication can refer to either internal business communication or external business communication. While both types share the same principles of effective communication, there are differences in their purposes and methods. Here is a quick overview of the types or internal business communication, their challenges and some solutions.

Internal Business Communication

The purpose of internal business communication is to facilitate the internal business workings of the company rather than to communicate with external customers.  Some common types of internal business communications are:

·         Emails used to update other staff about projects or to ask questions. Here is information about how to use email effectively for business.

·         PowerPoint presentations to convey ideas and plans to other staff. Today, many PowerPoint presentations are done over the internet and provide a way for geographically distant portions of a company to stay updated.

·         Meetings. While unstructured and uncontrolled meetings can be a waste of time for everyone involved, well planned meetings can be an effective way to transmit information and make decisions.

·         Reports. Formal reports are used to distribute large amounts of information in a structured format. Reports are losing favor as our society trends toward faster and shorter types of communication.

·       Informal communication. Research has shown that informal, unplanned exchanges are the communication method that generates the most useful information. These unplanned exchanges occur in face to face encounters when two or more people have an unplanned exchange of ideas. One person says something to another person and it sparks a new idea, or the second person has a useful piece of information for the first person.

How to Have Effective Internal Business Communication

·         Respect. It should go without saying, but it is essential to respect the opinions of others while communicating. The purpose of communication is to understand internal symbolic reality of others, and the only way to get this understanding is to listen carefully with the intent to understand the other person, not to impose your opinion on them.

·         Norms. Norms are standards of behavior that are established and enforced within the organization. These standards can either be agreed upon or imposed and include: not using unfair tactics such as name calling, sarcasm, character assassination, taunting, criticizing, humiliating and any number of other bad communication behaviors. How to set and use norms.

·         Control it. The constant flow of email and other electronic communication can actually make communication less effective for several reasons: (1)The short nature and lack of voice tones and physiology in these communications leads to misunderstandings, (2) the short nature of the communication leads to inefficiency because of the delay in getting responses to questions, (3) electronic communication tends to be disjointed, not continuous. This causes thought patterns to be interrupted and the train of thought must be reestablished when the next communication arrives. When not to use email.

Here are my top tips for effective business communication:

·         Use the phone and in-person communication whenever possible. Reserve electronic communication for appropriate situations. When to use email.

·         Make sure that norms are established and enforced.

·        Provide high quality communication training for all team members. Most people have never been taught now to listen or communicate effectively.


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