Communication in Business

Business Communication Tips

Verbal

The most basic form of business communication is person to person, done verbally. Typically this begins with a representative of human resources asking an applicant basic questions. Once hired the employee has regular one-to-one dialogues with the employer and co-workers.

At the point that the employee begins to disseminate and receive communication from co-workers, it becomes difficult to control what is disseminated and the quality of the message. Management must have awareness of this and counteract any misinformation he/she learns of.

Meetings

Every company should hold regular meetings, and typically this means departmental meetings. For major information or news, companies hold employee meetings. Many companies also have regular management meetings at different levels.

Email

Email is a good source for quick, relatively routine information. It is always best to reserve more serious change-related information in an alternate fashion, as reading comprehension varies from person to person.

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Again, one employee’s vision and view is different from another’s depending on his/her background and experience. If one employee holds sour feelings against the company, he is likely to take the message he reads negatively. And the likelihood that the negatively is passed on is rather high.

Letters

When a manager needs to ensure receipt, it is customary to send a letter in traditional mail with a return receipt request. This could involve a suspension notice, benefits change notice, or other important form of communication.

Performance Appraisals

Employee performance appraisals are the most feared form of communication typically. Employees dread the thought of chastisement and denial of a raise; managers intensely dislike delving into the negative characteristics of their employees.

For human resources, the job here is to ensure the performance appraisal standard is fair and consistent, and that the purpose and process is made clear to management, who in turn should be trained to explain the details to employees prior to their involvement in a performance appraisal session.

Companies typically issue a probationary performance appraisal for new employees. In this case it should be made clear if there are unmet goals and a plan for management support should be in place to defray feelings of inadequacy from the employee. It should be stated that management understands the employee is new and is giving them an opportunity to prove himself.

Newsletters

Make the company newsletter something of value that contains pertinent and substantive information.

Room for Improvement

Attending a seminar on proper communications is a good idea for all employees, management and staff. Most seminars will cover the basics, such as effective listening, understanding perception, and the importance of an open door policy.

Especially with a one-on-one meeting, where there are no bystanders to corroborate what is stated, effective listening is essential.

Effective listening includes remaining nonjudgmental, allowing an exchange/conversation and avoiding interrupting, and creating an understanding communication by asking questions for clarity and offering to recite back to the person in one’s own words the recipient’s intent.

Recognize a person’s prejudice as well as your own, watch body language, listen to underlying intent or feelings, and do not offer advice unless solicited.

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