The History of Business Communication

The history of business communication is, of course, closely linked with the histories of communication itself and that of business operations. When the two merge, they become a vital part of successful commerce.

Communication is the process where a concept is shared between two living things. It can occur as a gesture, sound or visually in the form of pictures or print. Some of the first forms of visual communication came in the form of pictographs. People conveyed stories, histories or instructions through a series of illustrations usually drawn on the walls of caves. The second stage of written communication appeared as crude alphabets used to create a written language. Mobility of communication also occurred at this time, with the writing being found on clay, wax and tree bark. The next leap was that of the printing press during the 15th century. Next came the tremendous technological advancement using air waves and electronic signals: radio and telephone.

At every stage of communication development, so did business practices. The advent of common alphabets and a written language meant that craftsmen could order raw materials from previously unattainable sources. Consumers living outside of town could order products from tradespeople in town without having to make the trip. Invoices could be written and paid, and purchase orders sent. One could even surmise that international business practices began around this time. Since exploration was taking place, and wonderful new things like spices and fabrics were being brought back home, perhaps now written business communication made it possible for vendors to offer their high-end customers the latest discoveries.

The printing press brought with it books, newspapers and catalogs bearing advertisements for local businesses. Businesses now had an entirely new way to draw in potential new customers. The latest advancements in products could be advertised, as well as sales and new services offered. Catalogs were generally only printed by companies who could afford such a large expense, but for many families who lived in rural areas it was their only means of shopping.

Printed communication served both consumers and business owners well, but when the radio came into use at the end of the 19th century it revolutionized business communication once again. Now the products and services of every business could be marketed on the basis of mass communication. Once a household had a radio, broadcasts could reach far further than any newspaper or catalog. And it was instant. As soon as the message was spoken on the air, the word was out. When print ads were published it could sometimes take weeks or months for a response. Many entrepreneurs who saw the potential in radio became hugely successful. Their market share grew, and with it their profits.

Once radio took off, the telephone and television were not far behind. Of course, at first the telephone was not used for advertising in business, but more of a practical tool. Manufacturers could communicate with raw materials representatives, business owners could communicate with consumers and investors could communicate with their beneficiaries. It was not until the latter part of the 20th century that the telephone was used to advertise for a business, through telemarketing and the facsimile. From its onset, the television was used for marketing purposes. Media broadcasters would recruit local business owners to sponsor their show, in exchange for a few minutes of airtime to advertise their products. The exchange worked well.

When technology brought forth the computer and the internet, business communication radically changed once again. In fact the change was probably as important as when the printing press was invented. Not only could marketing spread further than ever before, but the speed in which it could occur was revolutionary. Business operations could now become much more efficient, further increasing profits. Consumers had more of a say in what they wanted and how they wanted to receive it. In many ways, the middleman was taken out of the equation. There was no longer the need for traveling salespeople. Customers could be reached in a much more cost effective manner through the use of computers and the internet.

Our business practices have become so reliant on these forms of media that it is hard to imagine life with out them. But now that technology has evolved so far, customers are looking for businesses that strive to communicate with their clients in more personal ways. Consumers want personal service in a convenient way, so now business communication must evolve once again.

5 Ways to Tell If a Business Communication Degree Is Right for You

From the outside looking in, a career in business seems like the perfect fit for many people. Business might be your ideal career, but it is important to remember that fancy suits, business lunches at the latest restaurants and important meetings aren’t the only aspects of working in the business field. Business is a great career choice, but before signing up for a business communication degree, it is important to determine if the degree will help you to meet your career goals.

Do You Love Working With Others?
A business communication degree will prepare you for a variety of positions in the business field. This degree is an ideal choice for those looking to work in public relations, advertising or marketing. These careers often require working closely with a team. A strong desire to work with others and good communication skills will prove helpful.

Do You Have Strong Communication Skills?
A business communication degree will prepare you for a career in communication, so you had better like communicating. A variety of different communication skills will be important. You may need to utilize multiple mediums to reach your intended audience. Prepare for this degree by learning to effectively communicate in person, over the phone, via email, on social media platforms and more.

Do You Enjoy Meeting Deadlines and Working on a Schedule?
Many of the careers that you can obtain with a business communication degree will require long hours and meeting tight deadlines. A career in public relations might require you to work late into the night to overcome public perception problems and to meet deadlines as you advertise and promote products and services. This degree may lend itself to working from home or telecommuting, but may also require you to work evenings, weekends and long hours occasionally. Deadlines are also critical and must be met with exactness.

Are You Passionate About New Media and Technology?
The way that we communicate is constantly changing. The internet has opened a variety of new communication mediums. With a business communication degree you will be able to use social media, blogs, online forums and other communication platforms to spread a message. If you are passionate about the internet and want to have a career that centers around communicating with technology, this degree might be just what you are looking for.

Do You Want to Spread a Message and Build an Image?
Working in business communication is a great way to promote products, services and people that you believe in. You will have the opportunity to share information with others and to create an image for companies or products. This career field might be right for you if you love to find new products and share your finds with others. Remember it is important to choose a company that you believe in since you will spend a great deal of time promoting and communicating with others.

If you love people, technology and communication, you might enjoy getting a degree in business communication. Answer these questions and see if this career is a good fit for your lifestyle.

Ways to Improve Business Communication

Effective communication is very important to run a business successfully. Good communication can endear you among your clients, increase your brand image among your seniors, and cause you to be admired among those work under you. It can also help you in taking your business to the next level and earn you high profits. On the other hand, poor communication can limit the efficiency of your company. It may result in missing vital business deadlines, duplicity in work processes, and most importantly can suffer employee morale. According to a study conducted by Global English reveals, “97% of employees surveyed believe that poor communication as a result of inadequate business language skills can create misunderstanding”.

Often, there is a lot of disconnect in the communication process, which can prove very costly to a business. It may be verbal misinterpretations, lack of interaction, lost emails and unclear texts or poorly-worded messages. Effective communication – both internal and external, increase organization’s effectiveness, enables smooth operations and helps in reducing business contingencies. Communication is generally of two types – Digital and Interpersonal. Here are some useful tips to improve these two, that can benefit your organization and keep the things sailing smoothly.

Digital Communication: Most of the business communication is usually done using digital medium, like email. Writing email or text messages is easy when we are done with a friend. The target audience in business are corporate stakeholders, so it’s always better to be formal. Even a minor mistake in your written communication could negatively impact your credibility. It can result in loss of reputation and business as well. Below are the basic points you should follow while drafting a business proposal, email or other business letters:

Always treat emails like the real mails, not just the digital letters. While drafting an email, use powerful words, develop a natural voice, work toward your aim and present a clear deadline.

Craft the email carefully. Go back, check and edit for more clarity. Polish each and every sentence to keep the communication straight, positive and effective.

Don’t put any wrong or unclear information. Check your facts before sending the mail. Any wrong information makes you look like that you haven’t done your homework.

Don’t use any Emoticons, Colloquialisms and Slang, it may result in loss of translation and the person reading your mail may not understand what you are talking about. Keep it simple and to the point.

Choose the best subject line for your message. The subject line is the first introduction to the content of the message to the recipients’. Also, it helps in keeping your message out of spam box.

And, the most important is to archive all your business communication. Create folders to save all the old emails. It will help you in finding any communication easily in the future.

Interpersonal Communication: It is a face-to-face communication and involves exchanging information and the meaning via verbal and non-verbal messages. Sometimes, an email or a text just isn’t sufficient. Digital communication doesn’t involve any direct communication. Nobody sees you how your writing, but when you meet someone face-to-face, many things matter, such as your tone, body language and eye contact. Your message should be clear, concise and direct to the point. Add below mentioned tips in your interpersonal communication to make it meaningful:

Be confident while meeting your clients or superiors and don’t feel shy in person-to-person meetings. Maintain a proper eye contact to make a good impression.

Listen carefully and give your complete attention to the conversation. Understand what the opposite person is saying and then give your own thoughts.

Focus on your speech. Think before you speak and don’t get confused with your own words. Doing this, will dilute the purpose of face-to-face meeting.

Keep the communication professional, and avoid making it too personal. It’s good to befriend with people you are working, but don’t make it too friendly.

Never counter the opinion of your client, even if you disagree. It may offend them. Listen to them attentively, then keep your viewpoint and explain why you disagree with them. But, ensure to maintain a polite tone.

Ask questions to clear all your doubts and concerns. It will also help in holding the conversation and will generate new ideas that would be helpful in business.

These were the few suggestions, you can implement in your communication strategy and make it effective. Following these, will not only improve your business performance, but also personal improvements you make in your own life. It will also help boost your self-esteem and decision making and also make you stand out of the crowd. Effective communication is always about comprehending the other individual, not about forcing your opinions on others and winning an argument.

The Seven Essentials of Business Communication

There are seven essential elements to successful business communication:

Structure
Clarity
Consistency
Medium
Relevancy
Primacy/Recency
Psychological Rule of 7±2

If you are going to communicate effectively in business it is essential that you have a solid grasp of these seven elements.

So let’s look at each in turn…

1. STRUCTURE

How you structure your communication is fundamental to how easily it is absorbed and understood by your audience.

Every good communication should have these three structural elements:

an opening
a body
a close

This structural rule holds true no matter what your communication is — a memo, a phone call, a voice mail message, a personal presentation, a speech, an email, a webpage, or a multi-media presentation.

Remember – your communication’s audience can be just one person, a small team, an auditorium full of people or a national, even global, group of millions.

In this instance size doesn’t matter — the rules remain the same.

Opening

An opening allows your communication’s audience to quickly understand what the communication is about.

Short, sharp and to the point, a good opening lets your audience quickly reach a decision of whether or not to pay attention to your message.

Time is a precious resource, after all, and the quicker you can ‘get to the point’ and the faster your audience can make that ‘disregard/pay attention’ decision the more positively they will view you — which can be VERY important if you need or want to communicate with them in the future.

Body

Here’s where you get to the ‘heart’ of your message.

It is in the body of the message that you communicate all of your facts and figures relative to the action you want your communication’s audience to take after attending to your message.

Keep your facts, figures and any graphs or charts you might present to the point. Don’t bog down your audience with irrelevant material, or charts with confusing, illegible numbers and colours.

–SIDE BAR–

There’s a key to rapid uptake of your message — KISS.

Pitch your presentation’s graphics at a grade seven child. If THEY can follow and understand them, chances are good that your audience will too.

–END SIDE BAR–

Close

The Close is where you sum up your communication, remind your audience of your key points, and leave them with a clear understanding of what you want them to do next.

The more powerfully you can end your communication, the more easily remembered it will be by your audience.

2. CLARITY

Be clear about the messaqe you want to deliver, as giving a confused message to your audience only ends up with them being confused and your message being ignored.

If you are giving a message about, say, overtime payments don’t then add in messages about detailed budget issues or the upcoming staff picnic — UNLESS they ABSOLUTELY fit in with your original message.

It’s far better and clearer for your audience if you create a separate communication about these ancillary issues.

3. CONSISTENCY

Nothing more upsets a regular reader of, say, your newsletter than inconsistency of your message.

Taking a position on an issue one week, only to overturn it the next, then overturn THAT position the following week, only breeds distrust in your message.

And distrust in you!

People who distrust you are exceedingly unlikely to take the action you wish them to take. They are also highly unlikely to pay any attention to your future messages.

As well as consistency amongst multiple messages, be aware that inconsistency within your message can be just as deadly to audience comprehension.