Communication and Business Communication

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Introduction to Business Communication


By Prof. Dr. Alinoor Rahman



Chapter Outline


  1. Introduction
  2. Learning Objectives
  3. Business Communication
    1. Meaning of communication
    2. Meaning of business communication
    3. Types of communication
    4. Factors for selecting a method of communication
    5. Key stages in the communication cycle
    6. Barriers of communication
  4. Communication System, Principles and Channels
    1. Communication system
    2. Principles of communication
    3. Channels of communication
  5. Le's Sum Up
  6. Key Points
  7. Glossary
  8. Practice test
  9. Answer to SAQs
  10. References and Further Readings




Introduction


Communication is very essential for every stage of our life. You will agree that at every stage of our lives (whether as child, adolescent, young, adult, old, parent, relation, or friends) we communicate socially with those around us. We can say that without communication we can’t do any thing, we can’t communicate let those know what we want to fell, and therefore, we can’t achieve anything. So, communication is an essential element in every field of activities.

In this unit, we will concentrate on defining and describing various aspects of business communication, focusing particularly identification of systems, principles, etc. The study of this unit will facilitate you to know about meaning, types, factors, key stages, principles, channels, and barriers of communication.



Learning Objectives
After reading this chapter, you are expected to learn about:


  • Define 'Communication' and also'Business communication';
  • Describe the types of communication used in business;
  • Explain the factors to be considered while choosing the means of communication;
  • List and describe the key stages in the communication cycle;
  • Explain different barriers of effective communication;
  • Explain communication system and its various aspects;
  • Analyse the principles of communication; and
  • Narrate various channels of communication to be used by you while doing business.





Business Communication


'Business Communication' is essential for the success of all shorts of business organizations in home and abroad. Without effective communication no business organizations can run for long time properly and to achive their objectives successfully. So, especial attention should be going to this area. In this section, as given below, you will study about the meaning of communication and business communication, various types of communication, what factors you need to consider while selecting a method of communication, and the key stages of communication, principles, channels of communication, and different barriers of communication that you should keep in mind which hinder effective communication. Let's first start with the study of the meaning of communication.


Meaning of communication


By in a very simple way we can say Communication is the process of conveying message. Any behavior that results in an exchange of ideas, news, and views are regarded as Communication. According to Gray Desslur ‘Communication is the exchange of information and transmission of meaning.’

So we can say Communication is an exchange of information, ideas, news, and views among the related parties.

Meaning of Business Communication


Business Communication is an exchange of ideas, news, and views in commerce and industry are regarded as in an exchange of ideas, news, and views are regarded as Communication. According to Mr. Brennan ‘Business Communication is the expression, channeling and interchanging of ideas in commerce and industry.’

On the other hand, according to Prof. W H Meanning ‘The exchange of ideas, news, and views in connection with business, among the related parties is called business communication.’

So we can say Business Communication is an exchange of information, ideas, news, and views in connection with business, among the related parties.

Types of Communication


Now you will try to understand types of communication. We know that there are two major types of communication. i.e.;

  1. Internal communication
  2. External communication

1. Internal communication: The internal communication could be either oral or written.

a) Oral methods of internal communication: Oral methods of internal communication include telephone messages, meetings, conferences, presentations, face-to-face communication, and etc.

b) The written methods of internal communication: The written methods of internal communication include memos, reports, graphs, notices, forms, questionnaires, minutes, newsletters, and etc.

2. External communication: The external communication could also be either oral or written.

a) Oral methods of external communication: Oral methods of external communication include meetings, conferences, conversations, telephone messages, presentations, and etc.

b) The written forms of external communication: The written forms of external communication include leaflets, brochures, press releases, advertisements, notices, reports, e-mails, faxes, letters and etc.


Factors for selecting a method of communication


If we are the sender of any communication, the factors that we should consider while selecting a method of communication are:

  1. The cost of using the method;
  2. The confidentiality, safety and security you wish to ensure regarding the message;
  3. How important, complex, or urgent the message is;
  4. When and over what distance the message will travel;
  5. What resources you and the reader of the message have;
  6. Whether you want the message to carry more authority and create an impression and influence upon the reader; and also
  7. The situation of the reader and the relationship you have with him/her.


Key stages in the communication cycle


Now we will see the key stages in the communication cycle. You will see here that the communication cycle involves to phases or stages. There are also at least two major parties involved in the communication cycle: a) The sender of the message; and b) The recipient of the message.

a) The sender of the message

  1. The first phase of the communication cycle starts with a sender who conceives a message to communicate.
  2. Then he/she encodes the message into a suitable form. This form could be written, oral, visual or a combination of these.
  3. Lastly, the sender selects the appropriate channel/method by which the message will be sent to the reader/recipient. The message is then sent.

b) The recipient of the message

  1. The second phase of the communication cycle starts with the recipient decoding the message that he/she has received. By decoding we mean absorbing the message, for example, if the message was encoded in written form then the recipient decodes the message by reading it; again, if the message was encoded in oral form then the recipient decodes the message by listening to it; again, if the message was encoded in visual form then the recipient decodes the message by seeing it.
  2. Then he/she interprets the message or makes out some sense of the message.
  3. Lastly the recipient gives feedback to the sender regarding the message.
Barriers of communication


Now let us look to the barriers to communication. By barriers of communication we mean the obstacles or problems in the way to effective communication. Among the barriers of communication are:

  1. Non-verbal signals or body language by the sender or recipient of the message
  2. Language, which may be ambiguous or too specialized
  3. Distorted listening by the recipient of the message
  4. Pre-judgments held by the sender or recipient of the message
  5. Nature of relationship between the sender and recipient of the message
  6. Messages that involve emotion either on the part of the sender or recipient
  7. Lack of suitable systems to get the message across


Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) - 1
Objective questions

1. Communication is exchange of __________.

a) Ideas b) News c) Views d) All of them

2. Business Communication is the expression of ideas in commerce and __________.

a) Industry b) Others c) Business d) all of them

3. The internal and external communication could be either ___________.

a) Oral & written b) Verbal & non-verbal c) Formal & non-formal d) Up-ward &down-word

4. Which one is the most important factors for selecting a method of communication?

a)Using cost b) Important c) Situation d) Resources

5. By barriers of communication we mean the _________ in the way of effective communication.

a) Obstacles or problems b) Verbal & non-verbal c) Cost & benefits d) Language and media.



Communication System, Principles and Channels


In business organization, communication is chanelized through certain system and principles. Let's discuss below:

Communication System


We shall now turn to the communication systems. You should know that systems are interrelated parts that make up a whole to do something. So you can say Communication systems are interrelated parts in any organization (individuals, departments, sections, posts, and etc.) that work together to help complete communication effectively


The organizational chart makes it easier to know how communication should take place. We know that the Organizational chart shows hierarchy of the posts, sections, departments and sometimes also the names of the individuals involved in an organization in a diagrammatic form.

On the basis of above discussion we can say communication systems could be: a) Downward, that is, higher levels communicate to those below to give orders or instructions b) Upward, that is, the lower levels initiate the communicate to reach those at the higher levels c) Horizontal, that is, the communication between or among those who are in the same level d) Diagonal, that is, the communication between or among different departments, sections and individuals to achieve a specific goal.

Apart from these ideal and established systems of communication, there could be another type of communication in an organization. This is the grapevine. Grapevine is an unofficial communication system which is constantly changing and which does not follow the established lines of communication you have just read above. It results from distortions of truth, rumors and gossip. Grapevine can cause much damage in the communication and activities of an organization. It lowers morale, causes fear, distrust, and an unsettled condition among the workforce in an organization. Therefore, the management of the organization should try its best to keep grapevine limited.

Principles of communication


Now let us see what the principles of effective communication are:

  1. The first principle is to make sure you know “what the objective of the communication is.”
  2. The second principle is to know “who will receive your communication.”
  3. The third principle is to know “under what circumstances you are communicating”
  4. The fourth and final principle is to have a good guess about “how the recipient will react to the communication you have sent.”
Channels of Communication



A communication channel is one of the most important elements in the communication process. Without any channel, no communication can take place. If you have an important message, you must to be sent it to the desired receiver, you cannot do it unless you find anyway or device which will carry the message.

Simply we can say the channel of communication may be defined as any means / way used for transmitting a message from the source to the destination. Denham (1984) defines a channel as the physical medium for transmission of a message. Barker (1981) believes that channels are the means by which message are communicated.

So we can say com. channels are the pathways through which information flows. It acts simply as a carrier of encoded message. There are many other synonyms for the word Communication channels i.e. devices, media, pathway, carriers.


Channels or media of Communication

The channels or media of communication may be broadly classified into three ways:

  1. Verbal communication
  2. Non-verbal communication

1. Verbal Communication: When communication. is based on language, it is called Verbal Communication. Verbal com may be three types : a) Written communication, b) Oral communication, and c) Electronic or Computer based communication


a) Written Communication: A message communicated in a written form is known as Written Com. It is word based com. and is always put into writing and generally used when the audience is at a distance or when a permanency of record is needed.

b) Oral Communication: Oral communication involves the exchange of ideas, opinions and information through verbal means. When communication takes place orally, it is called Oral Communication. No doubt, it is word communication but not in writing. In Oral Communication spoken words are used to express meaning in this system messages are exchange between a communicator and a communicatee through neither face to face conversation nor group discussion. It may also occur through telephone call, radio, television etc.

Types of oral communication

Actually we spend most of the time communicating orally whether within the organization or externally. Oral communication could take a variety of forms or types, such as:

  1. Private discussions
  2. Conversation
  3. Oral instructions and orders
  4. Gossip
  5. Telephone conversation
  6. Formal meetings
  7. Informal meetings
  8. Interviews
  9. Oral presentations
  10. Conferences/seminars

Guidelines for create effective oral communication

Effective oral communication should be planned. But there is possibility to make changes in the approach of the oral communication, if necessary. The following are the guidelines you have to follow to create effective oral communication:

  1. Decide what your message is to achieve.
  2. Select the important facts and figures to support your message.
  3. Identify the key points in your message and arrange them in order.
  4. Choose a style (facial expression, body stance and articulation) to express your message
  5. Take feedback while delivering the message and adjust the message, if necessary.
  6. Do not make your message unusually lengthy.
  7. End on a positive note.

Electronic or computer based communication When communication taking place with the help of computer facility is called Electronic or Computer based communication. In recent years, the nature of com has been dramatically changed mainly because of rapid development of computer technology.

2. Non-verbal communication Now let us know about non-verbal communication methods. As you speak face to face you not only convey information verbally, but also non-verbally. Non-verbal communication is often referred to as body language because here communication is transmitted by the sender of the message to the recipient through various movements and positions of the body or its parts.

Non-verbal communication is often very important especially in face-to-face type of oral communication. We often use non-verbal communication unconsciously and spontaneously. But these non-verbal signals add impact to an oral message.

Different means of non-verbal communication

The following are the different means of non-verbal communication:

  1. Posture: The way people stand or sit is the posture. For example, if you are nervous, then while in an oral conversation you may tap your feet, or fidget with your hands. Again, if you are depressed, then you may show a gloomy expression with your head down.
  2. Facial expression: The human face itself is capable of communicating many expressions and emotions. For example, you can smile if you are sending a happy news, or you can show anger if you hear an annoying news.
  3. Gestures: Gestures are body movements that indicate some meaning. For example, if you are excited you may sweep your arms, or if you agree to something you may nod your head, or if you are considering something then you may put your hand to your chin and etc.
  4. Eye contact: Whenever you communicate face-to-face look in the eye of the speaker or listener. If there is more than one person to listen then let your eyes roam regularly so that everyone feels they are involved and paid attention.


Results



Key Points

The key points of this chapter are as follows:

  • Communication
  • Business Communication
  • Oral methods of internal communication
  • The written methods of internal communication
  • Oral methods of external communication
  • The written forms of external communication
  • Sender/Receiver/reader/recipient
  • Communication cycle
  • Barriers of communication
  • Communication system
  • Principles of communication
  • Channels of communication
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication
  • Types of oral communication
  • Guidelines for create effective oral communication
  • Different means of non-verbal communication




Glossary


Communication is an exchange of information, ideas, news, and views among the related parties.

Business Communication is an exchange of information, ideas, news, and views in connection with business, among the related parties.

Oral Communication: Oral communication involves the exchange of ideas, opinions and information through verbal means. When communication takes place orally, it is called Oral Communication.

Written communication A message communicated in a written form is known as written commnication.

Sender who conceives, encodes and finally sent it to the receiver/reader/ recipient

Receiver/reader/recipient who receive decode and give feedback to the sender.

Communication cycle involves to phases or stages involve in the communication cycle i.e. sender and recipient of the message.

Communication systems are interrelated parts in any organization that work together to help complete communication effectively.

The organizational chart shows hierarchy of the posts, sections, departments and sometimes also the names of the individuals involved in an organization in a diagrammatic form.

Grapevine is an unofficial communication system which is constantly changing and which does not follow the established lines of communication. It results from distortions of truth, rumors and gossip. Grapevine can cause much damage in the communication and activities of an organization.

Channel of communication: Simply we can say communication channels are the pathways through which information flows. It acts simply as a carrier of encoded message.

Verbal Communication: When communication is based on language, it is called verbal communication.

Electronic or computer based communication: When communication taking place with the help of computer facility is called Electronic or Computer based communication.

Non-verbal communication: Non-verbal communication is often referred to as body language because here communication is transmitted by the sender of the message to the recipient through various movements and positions of the body or its parts.






Practice Test



Short questions:

  1. What is communication and Business Communication?
  2. What are the methods or ways of oral communication?
  3. What are the forms or methods of written extenal communication?
  4. What is communication system?
  5. What is organizational chart and grapevine?
  6. What channel of communication?

Long questions:

  1. What factors that you should consider while selecting a method of communication?
  2. Discuss the key stages in the communication cycle.
  3. Explain the barrirs of communication.
  4. What are the principles of effective communication? Explain
  5. Discuss the channel of communication.
  6. What is non-verbal communication? Explain the types of non-verbal communication




Answers to SAQs


Answers:
1. d) All of them
2. a) Industry
3. a) Oral & written
4. a) Using cost
5. a) Obstacles or problems
6. d) parts
7. a) Organization
8. a) Devices, media, pathway, carriers.
9. a) Posture
10. a) Electronic or Computer




References and Further Readings


Taylor, Shirley, Communication for Business, Pearson Longman, Person Edication Limited, England, 3rd edition, 1999.

Ali, M. Omar, Business Communication: Theory and Application, Imperial Book, Rajshahi, 1st edition,2001.

Little Peter, Communication in Business, New York, Longman Inc., 1983.

Lesiker, Raymond V., Basic Business Communication, Homewood Ill., Richard D. Irwin Inc., 1988.

Lesiker, Raymond V., Business Communication, Homewood Ill., Richard D. Irwin Inc., 1999.




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