Friday, July 5, 2013

Notes on Achieving Success Through Effective Business Communication

Getting Ready for Business Communication 2.0
  • Back in the old days, business communication was largely defined by a publishing or broadcasting mindset. Externally, a company released carefully scripted messages to a mass audience that often had few, if any, ways to respond. Internally, communication follow the same, “we talk, you listen” model with upper managers issuing directives to lower-level supervisors and employees.
  • In contrast to the publishing mindset, this new social communication model is interactive and conversational. The audience is no longer a passive recipient of messages but an active participant in the conversation.
  • Business communication 2.0 is a convenient label for this new approach. 
Achieving Success in Today’s Competitive Environment
  • No matter what career path you pursue, communication skills will be essential to your success. If you learn to write well, speak well, listen well, and recognize the appropriate way to communicate in various business situations, you’ll gain a major advantage that will serve you throughout your career.
  • Communication is the process of transferring information and meaning between senders and receivers, using one or more written, oral, visual, or electronic channels.
  • Effective communication yields numerous business benefits:Stronger decision making
  1. Faster problem solving
  2. Earlier warning of potential problems
  3. Increased productivity and lower costs
  4. Stronger business relationships
  5. Clearer and more persuasive marketing messages

Communicating in Organizational Settings

Messages flow into, through, and out of business organizations in a variety of ways. Internal communication takes place between people inside a company, whereas external communication takes place between a company and outside parties.

  • Every organization has a formal communication network, in which the ideas and information flow along the lines of command in the company’s organization structure.
  • Throughout the internal formal network, information flows from in three directions. Downward communication flows from executives to employees; conveying executive decisions and information that helps employees do their jobs. Downward communication flows from employees to executives, providing insights to problems, trends, opportunities, grievances, and performance. This allows executives to solve problems and make intelligent decisions. Horizontal communication flows between departments to help employees share information, coordinate tasks, and solve complex problems.
  • Every organization has informal communication network, often referred to as the grapevine or rumor mill, encompasses all communication that takes place outside the formal network. Some informal communication takes place naturally and some takes place when the formal network does not provide information the employees want.
Recognizing Effective Communication
  1. Provide practical information
  2. Give facts rather than vague impressions
  3. Present information in a concise, efficient manner
  4. Clarify expectations and responsibilities
  5. Offer compelling, persuasive arguments and recommendations
Understanding What Employers Want
  1. Organizing ideas and information logically and completely
  2. Expressing ideas and information coherently and persuasively
  3. Actively listening to others
  4. Communicating effectively with people from diverse backgrounds
  5. Using communicating technologies effectively and efficiently
  6. Following accepted standards of grammar
  7. Adapting your message and communicating styles to specific audiences and situations
  8. Communicating in a civilized manner
  9. Communicating ethically
  10. Managing your time wisely and using resource efficiently
Understanding the Unique Challenges of Business Communication
  1. The globalization of business and increase in workforce diversity
  2. The increasing value of business information (Competitive insights, Customer needs, and Regulation and guidelines)
  3. The pervasiveness of technology
  4. The evolution of organizational structures
  5. The growing reliance of teamwork
Six Strategies for Communicating Effectively

A. Minimizing Distractions
  1. Using common sense and courtesy
  2. Not sending unnecessary messages
  3. Not isolating yourself
  4. Informing receivers of message priority
B. Adopting an Audience Centered Approach

C. Fine-Tuning Your Business Communication Skills

D. Giving—and Responding to—Constructive Feedback
  1. Think carefully your suggested changes
  2. Discuss improvements rather than flaws
  3. Focus on controllable behavior
  4. Be specific
  5. Keep feedback impersonal
  6. Verify understanding
  7. Provide your feedback in a timely fashion
  8. Highlight any limitations your feedback may have.
E. Being Sensitive to Business Etiquette

F.  Applying What You’ve Learned to the Communication Process

Using Technology to Improve Business Communication
  1. Keeping Technology in Perspective
  2. Guarding Against Information Overload
  3. Using Technological Tools Productively
  4. Reconnecting with People
Making Ethical Communication Choices

  • Plagiarism
  • Omitting essential information
  • Selective misquoting
  • Misrepresenting numbers
  • Distorting visuals
  • Failing to respect privacy or information security needs
Distinguishing Ethical Dilemmas from Ethical Lapses
  • An ethical dilemma is a choice between alternatives that may all be ethical and valid.
  • A lapse is making a choice that you know to be unethical.
Ensuring Ethical Communication
  • Have you defined the situation fairly and accurately?
  • What is your intention in communicating this message?
  • What impact will this message have on the people who receive it, or who might be affected by it?
  • Will the message achieve the greatest possible good while doing the least possible harm?
  • Will a decision that seems ethical now seem ethical in the future?
  • Would you be embarrassed if your message be printed in the newspaper or spread across the internet?
Ensuring Legal Communication
  1. Promotional Communication
  2. Contracts
  3. Employment Communication
  4. Intellectual Property
  5. Financial Reporting
Source: Thill, John V., and Courland L. Bovee. Excellence in Business Communication, 9th edition. USA: Pearson, 2011.   

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