What is Business Communication?

September 17, 2021

Effective business communication is an essential element of being successful. In essence, good communication is good for business!

Knowing how you communicate helps you understand yourself and others better while making you a more effective and productive member of any team. 

The Importance of Communication

A Survey was done by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) with 400 different companies and 100,000 total employees. They found that each company lost an average of $62.4 million in profits because of poor business communication.

That’s a lot of lost profits all because of bad communication. These losses can be easily prevented by taking the time to learn about how you and those around you communicate. 

Types of Communication 

There are 2 primary forms of communication—verbal and nonverbal. 

Verbal communication includes talking out-loud to each other, whether in person, on the phone, or over a video call. Nonverbal communication includes body language and written forms of communication. 

Verbal Communication

For successful verbal communication, you want to choose your words wisely and appropriately for the person and the situation. Don’t use terminology they won’t understand and don’t overload them with lots of verbal information all at once. 

We tend to only remember the last parts of what we hear, so either make that the most important thing, or encourage note-taking. 

The trick to verbal communication is taking the other person’s perspective into account so that they will understand your words as you intend them. This is why reading articles (like this article) to understand other people and their communication styles better is paramount to becoming an effective communicator.

Nonverbal Communication

Body language is all about how you physically present yourself, and what others can observe or assume from your outer appearance and demeanor. Our facial expressions can also offer subtle clues about what we are thinking or feeling.

If you want to seem open and confident, don’t cross your arms over the front of your body, practice good back posture, make eye contact, and dress appropriately for how you wish to be perceived. 

What is Business Communication?

Business communication is a bit more complicated than simply verbal vs nonverbal communication. There are actually four types of communication in business—internal upward, internal downward, internal lateral, and external. 

Business communication refers to the communication networks and practices within a company. 

Types of Business Communication

In order to share information effectively within a company, management and employees need to regularly analyze and assess these four key communication routes within a company. 

Internal Upward

When a subordinate communicates with a manager. 

Enhance your business's internal upward by encouraging employees to participate in regular anonymous surveys. Employee honesty is an important part of helping your business grow and overcome obstacles. 

You can also encourage healthy internal upward communication by having regular meetings and reporting between employees and their team leaders. 

Internal Downward

When a manager communicates with a subordinate. 

One of the most common forms of internal downward communication within a company is through emails and memos. 

It's important for upper management to always be professional, clear, and specific in their communications to employees. That way you can avoid misunderstandings that could lead to problems later on. 

Internal Lateral

When coworkers communicate with each other. 

Members of each team within a business need to be able to communicate regularly and directly with one another. This is especially true for groups of employees who need to work together to accomplish their goals. 

Creating a physical or virtual office space that allows for regular collaboration between team members is ideal. 

External

When employees communicate with professionals outside of the company on behalf of the company. 

External communications are especially important because they represent the company and your brand. As such, it's a good idea to have regular training on the dos and don'ts of external communication. 

Business Communication Styles

Many people have researched and studied the different styles of communication we all use. They have found differences in communication styles between genders, generations, and cultures. 

Multiple researchers have attempted to categorize communication types into 4 or 5 main groups. But the truth is, communication is such a vast and complicated aspect of human interaction that truly defining it into a handful of categories is nearly impossible. 

For the sake of simplicity, we will divide communication styles into 2 sections that can often overlap. 

Logic-Based Communicators

People who base their communications on logic can get a bad rap from other people for being heartless or cold. 

But data and logic are often the way logic-based communicators best understand the world around them. Logical communicators are a major asset to the business as they will keep projects focused and data-driven. 

Here are a few other characteristics of logic-based communicators: 

  • Focus on facts, numbers, data
  • Make decisions based on figures rather than feelings 
  • Great researchers 
  • Detail-oriented 
  • Refine business processes for efficiency 

Intuition-Based Communicators 

Intuition-based communicators like to rely on their feelings and intuition to make decisions. They make sense of the world around them through their instincts and emotions. 

Emotional communicators can be a great asset in connecting your business to your customers and creating the kind of environment that welcomes consumers and coworkers alike. 

Here are a few other characteristics of intuition-based communicators: 

  • Rely on intuition, instinct, gut feelings
  • Focus on the big picture
  • Creative
  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • They are often the diplomatic peacekeepers in their group 

Communication Techniques

Now that you have a better understanding of the different types and styles of communication, we can move on to the techniques you can use to better develop your communication skills:

Don’t Be Afraid of Silence 

One of the easiest ways to get tripped up when talking is when you're too focused on filling the silence. Silence can be uncomfortable for many people. But it's through silence that other participants in the conversation will feel free to offer important information. It is also through silence that you can more easily find the right words. 

Ask Questions 

Questions are a great way to start a conversation with someone new. It's also a great way to make sure you are getting all the information you need in a meeting. Asking questions is the primary way we can learn and innovate new ideas into a business. So never be afraid to ask questions. 

Always Be Learning 

Make sure you are constantly learning new things in your free time. Through research and study, you can continually increase your own understanding of the business. This is also the best way to learn about new aspects of the business you are in. Constant learning is essential to a business's survival and continual growth. 

Manage Stress 

All types of work come with their own kinds of stress. There are also personal matters that can contribute to the stress we feel during the day at work. we can't communicate effectively if we are too stressed out. Keep a clear head by taking some time each day to destress and relax. 

Communicate with Respect  

When communicating with other people, make sure you are treating them with respect. Respect is an important aspect of any conversation, personal or professional. By communicating with respect, you'll put others at ease and allow them to contribute to the company more freely. Respect will also keep you and your coworkers from building conversational barriers between each other that will keep you from communicating most effectively. 

Avoid Filler Words 

Filler words are a habit that can be really hard to break. Many people don't even realize they are using them. Ask a friend to listen to help you practice presentations and stop you every time you use a filler word, sound, or phrase. This will help train your brain to stop filling pauses with filler words. 

Learn and Use Names

A key business communication tactic is to take the time to learn and use people's names. When someone sees that you put in the effort and thought to remember their name, you boost mutual respect and understanding between you. 

In Conclusion, 

Communication is a very important part of company success. It is essential for coworkers to effectively work together, complete tasks, and help a business grow. Without strong communication skills, your business cannot thrive and reach its potential. Whether you want to teach good communication skills to a subordinate, to a manager, or to employees handling customer service, it will be well worth your time.