Business organizations that underestimate the crucial role of communication do so at their peril. It is also well recognized that every communication is not necessarily effective. In real-life business situations, there are everyday instances of communication failure. The messages delivered are not what are intended. The messages understood are not what are conveyed.
Messages often get distorted, diluted or misunderstood. Every organization, therefore, not only needs to recognize the importance of business, but also should put in place adequate efforts and proper systems to make communication, internal and external, effective and result oriented. Successful business communication is not automatic or mere happenstance. It needs time, effort and constant attention across all organizations to ensure that communication becomes effective.
2. Effective communication skills are among the most essential competencies in any aspiring manager’s skill set. It is well understood in modern day business organizations that in the long run, soft skills are more important than technical skills. Soft skills include communication, time management, team work, negotiation and conflict resolution, assertiveness and business etiquette. Communication, however, tops the list of soft skills that managers need to possess.
Important as they are, communication and other soft skills are also the hardest to acquire and the most difficult to practice. Nevertheless, like other skills, communication skills too can be mastered and practiced with ease through constant learning and application. Given the importance of communication for any business, business organizations are always on the lookout for good communicators. The need for good communicators is particularly strong in business organizations in the service industry where services are delivered through people-to-people interactions. These organizations also put in place their own systems for improving the communication skills of their employees. 3.
The nature of communication in business is quite diverse. In large organizations, the flow of communication is both internal and external and encompasses numerous stakeholders. Such communications could be personal or professional, formal or informal, written or oral, upward or downward or lateral or one-way or interactive.
Communication involves the act of sharing ideas, opinions, thoughts, strategies, findings, concepts, attitudes, perceptions, perspectives and a wide array of communication needs. It could be individual-to-individual, individual-to-group or even group-to-group communication. The method of business communication could again take varied forms—written or verbal or non-verbal. Letters and memos, reports and notices, speeches and presentations, signals and gestures and a host of such means are used in business communication. Depending on the nature of communication, its transmission takes place through e-mail, fax, courier, telephone, teleconferencing, video conferencing and even films and other audio visual aids. 4.
Given this diversity, a good communicator should have a clear understanding of the alternative types and methods of communication and the circumstances under which each one of them or a combination of them can be used. The communicator should also master the technical aspects of different methods of communication so that breakdowns and barriers are eliminated. Meetings, seminars, workshops, discussions, presentations, negotiations, strategy sessions and such other interactive for translate into substantial man hours involving executives, managers, specialists, guests and customers. Hence every effort should be made to ensure that smooth flow of communication is facilitated through proper planning and organization. The nature and expanse of communication would depend on the nature of business and its reach across various stakeholders. In real- life situations, the needs and complexity of communication are quite diverse, depending on the type of industry, number of employees, geographical spread of the organization, level of sophistication and technology adoption, hierarchical structures, cross-cultural dimensions and such other relevant factors.
Business communication is about sending and receiving messages and sharing information. Information is the key input for decision making and action taking. People in business organizations need to constantly gather information and take business-related decisions. Owners need to know about business growth and profitability. Managers need to know about market trends and organizational strengths. Employees need to know about production schedules.
Customers need to know about product features. Almost everyone in business irrespective of his/her functional or geographical or hierarchical position needs to communicate. And those who can communicate effectively stand to gain, achieve better results and win over others. 5. Unlike what it used to be in the olden days, communication in modern day business organizations relies heavily on technology. The advent of mobiles, computers, networking systems, teleconferencing and video conferencing tools, fax machines and power point sets have added a new dimension to the world of communication.
As businesses grow, expand and reach out, they need to rely more and more on such instruments and people well versed in operating such machines. Technology powers business communication. A good communicator, therefore, needs to not only master the varied business communication skills, but also needs to develop adequate knowledge of technology and its use in business communication.