Learn the different types of communication in business and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Find out which types work best in different scenarios and why mastering more than one type is important.
Importance of Business Communication
In business, effective communication is crucial to staying competitive, maximizing profit, keeping employees engaged and happy, and making sure everyone is focused on the right goals and objectives. When communication is done correctly, it means the same thing to both the sender and receiver.There are several types of business communication. This lesson will focus on communication inside the organization between executives, managers, and employees. Another lesson topic could be how companies communicate with their customers and target markets or externally, which is often done through marketing departments.It’s important to note that communication can move upward through an organization from employees giving feedback to executives; downward by executives and managers communicating goals, initiatives, and performance to employees; and horizontally between peers and departments working to accomplish tasks and projects.
Types of Communication
Let’s look at some different types of communication.
Face-to-face communication occurs when the people communicating are in each other’s physical presence. This is the oldest form of communication and still often the most effective when you want to make sure that a point is understood properly. It gives all parties involved a chance to interact and go back and forth in a quick and accurate manner.The ability to emphasize passion, commitment, and feelings directly to an audience can make face-to-face a very effective form of communicating.
This can be done one-on-one or through group meetings. Many leaders believe this is the most professional way to deliver bad news or important news that is vital to the company.A few disadvantages to this type of communication are that the conversation can easily get off topic quickly and may need to be re-directed. It can sometimes lead to increased tension if the parties participating are not fond of each other or have deep-rooted differences in the topic or direction they believe a project or business should be going.For most corporations, email is one of the dominant forms of communication.
It is quick, cheap, and works great for companies spread all over the globe. It allows for communication that is convenient for the receiver and sender.Email can include documents or images that also make it a preferred method over printing something out and hand-delivering or faxing it in a timely manner. A few disadvantages are that email is less personal than face-to-face or phone communication and often can lead to misunderstandings or misinterpreted messages based on how things are written and perceived. Email can also become overwhelming at times with several messages going back and forth with multiple parties involved.
Many times, employees lose sight of the fact that a simple phone call or face-to-face meeting for two minutes would have gotten the job done more efficiently.
Phones are now usually the alternative to email when some personal clarification or personal touch is needed to deliver a message or convey a thought. It is more personal than email but not as personal as face-to-face.
It can be a nice communication vehicle when you are looking to congratulate someone or check for additional understanding. It is still a highly preferred method in sales positions. Like email, you can reach people from hundreds of miles away in distant offices and departments, but you also give up some of the nonverbal facial expressions that can sometimes be effective when communicating.
Fax was popular for sending documents before email became more mainstream. It’s still used across some industries and in some cases where email is not thought to be secure.Intranet and forums are internal communication tools and sites that make it easy for companies and employees to post information to a central location on various topics and initiatives. Large amounts of information can be accessed on these sites from employees all over the world.These sites can offer employees from all places in the company to voice an opinion or find information. One challenge of many companies is keeping the information in an organized manner that makes it easy for employees to find and get answers to the questions on various topics they have. With endless amounts of information, it can quickly become a ‘black hole,’ where nothing is found because individuals are overwhelmed at the hundreds of links and tabs to choose from.
There are many ways to communicate in business today. The challenge is finding the one that is most effective. Knowing your audience, having experience, and practicing with these types of communication will ensure you get better at delivering your message the right way.
Face-to-face, email, phone, fax, intranet sites, and discussion forums are some of the most common types of communication in business, and all have different advantages and disadvantages. Technology is creating new types of communication every day, such as Web-based video conferencing and other social networking methods to communicate to employees. Find the ones that are most effective in your business or job, and master them first.
Types of Business Communication
- Discussion forums
Once you are finished, you should be able to:
- Explain why communication is important in business
- Name and describe the advantages and disadvantages of some of the types of communication used in business
- Recall the directions in which communication can flow within a business