Communication at workplace differs vastly from general conversations we have amongst family & friends. A very obvious reason for this difference is the requirements business communications has to meet. You may not feel the need for these skills to order pizza, to chat with a friend, discuss a movie and debate a hair colour. But you won’t survive without them when issuing simple but clear instructions at work, sorting out an issue related to a product or a service, meeting production deadlines, getting and implementing feedback.
So the key goal of the Business Communication is to get things done, on time, correctly and delivering quality of service. At workplace you communicate either internally, that is between employees and departments or externally, that is between clients/vendors and employees. There are some departments, dedicated and designed entirely around Business Communications such as marketing, customer care, corporate communications, public relations etc.
So you can appreciate the complex web of Communication happening at workplace, just so everyone can share their ideas, get answers they need, plan solutions and coordinate the execution between participating employees and departments. Technology has added to this complex web, many new tools like online meetings, videoconferencing, teleconferencing, voice messages and web chat/instant messaging in addition to the phone and email mediums.
Types of Business Communication Skills
Verbal communication is the most common mode of sharing ideas with co-workers, making Client presentations or Product proposals, conducting workshops or interviews and of course for telephonic or video conferencing. Use of technology, graphics and Videos will can only aid and enhance but this skill actually depends greatly on the speaker. How you speak (tone, pitch and clarity) and choice of words (powerful yet simple with clear meaning) makes a huge impact on your audience.
Also, to be taken into careful considerations are the non verbal cues from the speaker. Facial expression, confidence and body language, in particular are entirely a separate medium of communication on their own. Thus slightly wrong posturing may be understood as disrespect. That changes the meaning of what is being said, eroding the credibility of the speaker and what is being said.
Overall, Speaking creates a personal connection between the audience and the speaker, thus is very popular and ideal for resolving differences, selling ideas and team building exercises.
It should actually be called Typing as it is in fact mostly Typing, unless of course you prefer to write first and then type it out. Anyhow, this skill is used to compose all business communication that’s written or typed out and then printed to be circulated internally or externally. For instance emails, internal business memos, formal letters, bulletin boards, posters, flyers, PPTs etc.
Good writing involves composing messages that are clear in meaning, to the point and easy to understand. Well written documents become materials for future reference and knowledge sharing and trainings.
Most commonly, technical information and simple instructions are best shared in typed written electronic document/email form.
Reading and Listening are how we register or gather information that is spoken, published or presented to us in digital, multimedia or printed formats. Literally, we all complain that nobody listens or reads these days what we have to say or write. But the truth is that as individuals we often lack tolerance and empathy for new or opposing views. Also we tend to not always apply critical logic to understand what we hear or read.
So it’s important not just hear/read but also understand the content and comprehend its meaning. And to do that, one must first hear or read what’s being said or presented completely with patience and without interrupting. Then think about what it means and analyse its relevance. After that clarify any doubts to fully understand by asking questions.
Non verbal communication or “body language” of the speaker is also a key indicator to observe or “read” while listening. It helps to put what they are saying in the right context and meaning.
Constant feedbacks/trainings are required to improve and improvise upon these skills for business communication to remain effective and efficient.