Business Communication Resources
Business is all about communication. One of the primary ways in which we pass on information to employees as well as customers is through communication methods, such as face-to-face dialogue, email, printed literature and even non-verbal gestures, body language and attitudes. In order to function efficiently, it is vital to communicate accurately. Very often communications are misunderstood due to a variety of barriers such as distraction, vague language or even by communicating through the wrong means. Better communications can create a world of difference for a business, and the results will be reflected in sales as well as employee satisfaction and efficiency. Glance through some of the most common communication obstacles below and review the resources to help improve your business.
Barriers to Communication
Distraction and Noise
Have you ever tried to present information to a group of people while everyone continues talking? It can be extremely difficult for the presenter, and the environment also makes it hard for anyone to pay attention. Before speaking to employees or customers, make sure that everyone is quiet so that you can have their full attention. Distractions in an office can also come in several other forms, such as poor lighting, inadequate furnishings and messy or unclean work environments.
Inattention includes literally not paying attention and also selective attention. Selective attention comes into play when information is repeated so many times that it simply loses its impact and the target audience starts to tune it out. Bosses should listen attentively when employees and customers approach them with an issue. More than just listening to what they say, look for underlying meanings or causes as well.
Information Overload and Retention
By releasing masses of information, the important points are lost and the listener has a hard time remembering or even understanding all of it. Overburdening employees with a series of missives is a great way to ensure that they only pay attention to a small amount of the information. Instead of doing this, pare down any unnecessary details and keep the information precise and to the point. Similarly, when communicating to customers, don’t bog them down with heaps of information. Deliver the key points that they need to know and remember, in a succinct manner.
In business, people very often get caught up with jargon and buzz words. Most of the time, this only serves to obscure the real meaning of the message that is being delivered. Instead of trying to sound trendy and important, use simple language and say what you really mean so that everyone can understand. Clear language can help improve productivity and trust in the workplace.
In the same vein, keep in mind that people may perceive messages in different ways. This is another reason to use simpler language so there is no room for confusion. For example, a manager might vaguely talk about cutbacks, while he actually means reducing costs of certain business supplies. Taken in the wrong context though, employees could easily assume that the manager is talking about laying people off.
- Communication Affects Business – Poor communications can actually lead to unnecessary expenses for businesses.
- Business Etiquette Tips – As with all other relationships, in business people can form an opinion of each other simply from visual and non-verbal cues.
- Global Business Communications – When communicating with people from around the world, it is very important to be sensitive to their culture and avoid unintentionally offending them.
- Communicating with Foreign Business Colleagues (PPT) – Learning about other people’s cultures, especially when travelling to foreign countries for business purposes, can go along way towards improving the way others perceive you.
- Writing for the Workplace – When addressing business audiences, adapt your writing towards to various groups of people who will be reading it.
- Business Etiquette in Asia – Asian customs generally tend to be more conservative than our own American ones. Beyond this, they also have different ways of doing things and communicating. Find out how various Asian cultures differ and how to adhere to their customs.
- Business Manners (PDF) – From handshakes to table manners and working alongside colleagues of the opposite gender, every little action counts in a business setting.
- Traditional and Modern Methods of Business Communications (PDF) – Learn how to effectively communicate and treat in-house employees as well as foreign colleagues abroad.
- How to Improve Communications – Thinking about your core message, the target audience, and their needs are useful first steps towards creating a meaningful statement.
- Tips for Public Relations – Instead of hiding a message in a wordy press release, state it directly and address the issue at hand in a straightforward manner.
- Using Feedback to Boost Employee Communications – Create an open, welcoming environment in the office to encourage employees to give and receive feedback without fear.
- Use Surveys for Customer Feedback – Customers rarely get a chance to let business owners know how they really feel about the service they’ve received, but a survey program can help to increase communications from them.
- A Guide to Improving Business Writing Skills (DOC) – Learn how to correctly draft business letters, formal documents, reports and more.
- Intercultural Communications – Learning about how to do business in other cultures can actually make the entire process much easier and more enjoyable for both parties.
- Understanding the Communication Process – By studying the process of communications, we can put those principles into practice to improve our own communications.
- How to Conduct an Effective Business Presentation – While many fear public speaking, it can actually be a great way to communicate ideas to a large audience when the speaker is properly prepared and knows the material well.
- Presenting a Business Plan – Follow a series of simple instructions to help deliver a powerful presentation of your business plan.
- Tips on Structuring a Slideshow Presentation – One of the best ways to keep the audience’s attention focused on the speaker is by including only brief and basic points in each slide.
- Basic Phone Advice – Follow up on phone messages promptly and don’t leave people on hold for a long time.
- Dealing with Customers on the Phone (PDF) – It is a good idea to give customers the time to fully explain themselves when they call, rather than cutting them off or immediately refuting their claims.
- What to Avoid in Phone Calls – Never be rude to customers or business contacts over the phone and avoid refusing to do something because it does not fall under your job description.
- Watch a Video on Email Etiquette – Learn about strong business email practices and things to avoid.
- General Professional Communications Etiquette – Review the basics of communications over a cell phone, email or voicemail.