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Communication can be defined as the conveyance of verbal and non-verbal information from one person to another. The information may be formal or informal, written or oral. Communication is critical in business relationships. With effective communication in business or not can have a positive or negative impact on the success of the entire business.
Good and effective business communication is essential for both personal and business relationships. This is so because in the workplace everybody communicates either by talking, writing and making facial expressions and gestures and many more other forms of communication. Therefore, it is evident that if you cannot communicate you cannot do business with people.
Understanding peoples' culture is one of the crucial factors that contribute to effective communication in business. In the workplace, both within and outside the organization there are people and understanding their religion, race, gender, disabilities, and origin will enhance better communication. Employees, customers, suppliers, employers, and workmates are people hence one needs to understand their culture well to communicate with them effectively.
Research in the recent past shows that proper and effective business communication is important in the success of any organizational business. Internal communication refers to the interaction between employees and other members of the organization. Technology has enhanced effective communication and has helped employees and employers to distribute written information, work together and exchange messages. Internet, video conferencing and electronic mails are some of the technological means used to inform employees about news and activities in the organization.
Business communication should focus on workers' questions regarding job satisfaction, changes in the organization, efficiency, motivation, control, and relationships. Communication should shift from the top management down the level to supervisors and the lowest level in the hierarchy. The flow of information should be continuous and concrete, and the employees should be able to understand it.
Effective communication in business plays vital roles and is an essential determinant of the success of any business. Research has shown some reasons as to why effective communication is important in business. Firstly, it establishes a good relationship between the top management and the subordinates in any organization. Workers will be free with their managers and will freely express their needs. On the other hand, managers will be able to identify the motivating factors and how to enhance job satisfaction for their subordinates. They will be able to know how much do their workers enjoy the jobs, how well do they get paid and whether the amount is enough to satisfy the employees, and how well do they treat their employers and show interest in their ideas (Carroll, 2015).
Secondly, excellent and effective communication in business is cheaper. Ineffective communication is very costly to any organization. In a relationship between the employee and a supervisor, for instance, there would be a measurable cost of poor communication. An employee who feels that he may be the last to have information may feel undervalued than his colleagues. Poor communication between an employer and employee can also lead to absenteeism, tardiness and others may quit the jobs, and this is highly detrimental and costly to an organization.
Effective communication also brings successful change in an organization. Organizational change has rapidly become an area of concern in management. Change efforts have often suffered dismal fate in the recent past. Poorly managed communication results to rumours and can also lead to resistance to change. The importance of communication in the desired change by management has been agreed upon by many, and therefore effective communication is considered to be vital in the implementation of effective organizational change.
Business communication in management builds trust between the employer and employee. Trust results in a more positive attitude, a good and higher level of cooperation and competent performance by the employees. Confidence brings satisfaction for both parties and will often lead to openness, appropriate, transparent and timely communication. Communication practices in the organization should, therefore, influence on the level to which employees trust their supervisors and the organization's top leadership.
Additionally, excellent and effective communication will enhance the involvement of employees in decision making. This will increase employees' contribution to decisions that affect their well-being and organizational performance. It will also strengthen commitment among workers because those who are allowed to participate in decision making will be committed to the success of the organization so that their relevant contributions are considered.
Appropriate communication in business will enhance and add feedback. Good communication strategies in an organization provide employees with sufficient input on the performance of the organization. This will enable them to make necessary decisions and prepare for change if any.
Organizational communication is mostly linked to employees' voice which includes freedom to speak and express their concerns and issues surrounding them. If their interests are not met, then this will fail the entire organization. Therefore, communication needs to be well managed so that there are clear, accurate, and honest directions and employees know the paths to follow in case of an issue. This will minimize confusions, unrest, and distress among employees in case of any organizational change.
Proper and effective communication in any business should and must address employees' concerns first. This includes their information, motivation, job satisfaction and welfare in general. Any changes in the organization leadership or targets should be made known to workers. This will enhance trust and commitment among employees (Cardon, 2014).
Unfortunately, some barriers and mistakes hinder effective communication in business. They can be classified as physical, semantic, process and personal obstacles. And therefore, a manager must know how to work around these barriers and effectively use their skills to overcome them.
The first category of barriers that obstruct effective communication in business is a physical barrier. This kind of communication barrier arises when tools used to communicate are misused, or wrong tools are used to pass the information. Another form of physical barrier is geographical distance. It can cause the data to be gabled. If the info gets conveyed too late or does not get fully conveyed due to long range, then it becomes useless. In an attempt to overcome this, video conferencing and other electronic tools can be used to transfer information.
Noise is another form of physical barrier that can hinder effective communication in business places. While o modern technology can be used to eliminate some of the obstacles, noise cannot be adequately made away. The best way to deal with this issue is to accept that noise is there and to ensure that the information is understood when circumstances occur.
The second category of barriers is semantic barriers. Semantic barriers are often ignored as unimportant, but they are vital when it comes to effectively communicating meaning. Jargon is the most common of the semantic obstacles that can hinder communication in the workplace. Doctors, for example, have their language that a sales representative in business cannot understand. When one communicates with a person who is not in their field, they should use a word that can be generally followed by everyone.
Process barrier is another category. It arises when there is a lack of order in information conveyance. Order in information conveyance can be best built by establishing an appropriate organizational structure and good communication so that a worker knows whom to report. The last barrier is personal barrier which includes behaviours like perception differences, listening barriers that arise due to lack of listening skills among employees or workmates, and physiological distance barriers that occur as a result of personal attitude and frame of mind and emotional obstacles. A manager should understand their subordinates well to overcome such barriers (Femi, 2014).
Besides the above barriers, managers do make mistakes. The first mistake is not relaying the information to employees, and sometimes, managers do not communicate company related information to employees before alerting the media. A company representative, for instance, may announce layoff through a newspaper article. The other mistake is that most companies assume that once someone is a manager, then they are automatically good communicators which is however, not true.
Another mistake in business communication is when the supervisor becomes a mouthpiece for the management. This means he states what the administration says and does not stand with employees. This will make employees feel that their concerns are not met and will affect their performance negatively. Lastly, some managers think and assume that employees are clueless and have no ideas. They believe that employees have no information and can't offer answers and solutions to technical explanations and problems (Farrell, 2015).
One of the ways to overcome the above barriers and mistakes in business is to start with active listening and to pay attention. This will allow the other person to say what they have in mind without interruptions and the listener will be able to get all the facts before making any conclusions. Employees who value themselves will improve communication. They would want to take their pride at the workplace and would often want to provide top quality work. They are likely to ask many questions and come up with brilliant new ideas, and they are less involved in rumours and corporate gossips and communication disconnect activities.
Another way to overcome business communication barriers is to ensure that the supervisor is a reasonable observer. He should be able to see how an employee works and reacts to criticism and how the employee reacts when given praise. The supervisor should also be able to know whether the employee can thrive under pressure or they will wither and fail.
In conclusion, establishing a reliable and good working relationship between an employee and employer will solve some of the barriers. Though it will take time and efforts, it is an effective way to overcome some of the managerial mistakes. Continuous and feedback and coaching will provide robust communication between employees and supervisors and should be kept simple and informal.
Cardon, P. W. (2014). Business Communication: Developing Leaders for a Networked World (3e). McGraw-Hill.
Ferrell, O. C., & Fraedrich, J. (2015). Business ethics: Ethical decision making & cases. Nelson Education.
Carroll, C. E. (Ed.). (2015). The handbook of communication and corporate reputation (Vol. 49). John Wiley & Sons.
Femi, A. F. (2014). The Impact of Communication on Workers' Performance in Selected Organisations in Lagos State, Nigeria. IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science (IOSR-JHSS), 19(8), 75-82.
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