Business communication includes the ways and the methods through which information is shared with in an organisation (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2017). In other words, business communication is information relayed with in a business firm by the people working in it (Cenere, Gill, Lawson, & Lewis, 2015). Communication skills are the ability through which information can be effectively transmitted between people or groups. Communication skills are important for business communication because organisations can function in a better way if people are able to transmit and receive messages adequately (Hanh, 2013). Therefore, it is important to assess the importance of communication skills in business or workplace.
Importance of communication skills in the workplace
Communication has a very important role in business. Communication is vital to effective deliverance of fundamental management functions in an organisation like managing, directing, controlling, leading, planning and organising (Lybarge & Rancer, 2017). Communication helps in making plans and strategies and transmitting these plans across the organisation (Blizard, 2012). Communication skills are the art of transmitting communication accurately, clearly, precisely and in the intended way (Talley & Temple, 2015). Therefore, communication in a skilled manner can help in efficient work flow and action by the workforce.
Communication skills involve tools and abilities for effective communication. There are various skills in communication which can improve workplace efficiency and help the managers to control, motivate, direct and plan actions in the workplace (Guffey & Loewy, 2012). Communication skills involve verbal and nonverbal communication, listening skills, articulation, mannerism etc. All these skills help managers to effectively lead people with in the workplace (Mayfield & Mayfield, 2017). Therefore, inculcation of good communication skills is essential for managers.
In a business scenario, manager or other members of the workforce need to have good speaking skills (Banker, 2015). They need to articulate their thoughts well. Only then they can mobilise their resources to effectively undertake various business function. Speaking and discussing about functions will help everyone to perform them effectively (Blizard, 2012). However, it is also important to know what is to be said and what is not to be said in a business setting (Jones & Hodson, 2012). A manager must know what information is to be revealed, in what manner, to which employee and to what extent. Therefore, art of articulation and speaking is important in business situation.
Listening skills are one of the most important business communication skills that a meagre must have. (Ferrari, 2012). It is good to talk with clarity and procession but it is equally important be a good listener. For managers it is important to listen to employees as only then they will be able to solve their doubts and quarries (Jones & Hodson, 2012). Also listening to employees can help in generating ideas which can help in activing organisational objectives. Within teams also if team members will listen to each other they will be able to develop a more cordial and a friendly relationship. Listening skills also help managers and workers in getting proper feedback (Jones & Hodson, 2012). However, listening should not be passive (Jones & Hodson, 2012). A person should listen, contemplate what others are saying and give his views about it.
Being empathetic and open to other people’s opinions and views can also encourage positive feedback in an organisation. Hence, it is also an important aspect of communication skills for business (Cenere, Gill, Lawson, & Lewis, 2015). For example, if a manager encourages open exchange of idea through his written and spoken communication, employees will be greatly motivated to work (Dwyer, 2012). However, the manager must make sure that his mannerism do not show an over friendly nature because it can lead to people taking him for granted and not focusing on work.
Clarity of communication is another major communication skill that the manager needs to incubate (Banker, 2015). This will make the workforce efficient as they will know what actions they have to take at what time.
Body language, eye contact, tone and hand gestures form a part of nonverbal communication and convey the message that a person is intending to convey. Nonverbal communication also gives a hint of a person’s internal emotions and feelings (Blizard, 2012). Within a workplace setting a manager can train himself to use hand gestures, tone and body language which suit a particular situation. For example, he can control a team by just an eye contact or he can show his agreement to a certain discussion about an organisational plan. Nonverbal communication is very effective in giving subtle cues regarding work to the workforce. However, on the hind side non-verbal communication is a vague and non-precise mode of business communication (Matsumoto, 2012). Hand gestures and tone can also be misinterpreted. It can lead to misunderstanding of tasks with in the work place.
Use of verbal communication is also effective in conveying tasks, function and plans across an organisation (Guffey & Loewy, 2012). Verbal communication can be both written and oral. Skilled use of oral communication can help a manager in motivate, inspire, direct and control the workforce (Dwyer, 2012). For this purpose the manager needs to develop skills like maintaining eye contract, speaking clearly and developing listening skills himself (Ferrari, 2012). This will help in conveying the message accurately and the employee will feel that he is a participant in the decision making and the planning process. Some people have an innate ability at verbal communication. However, managers can train themselves to use verbal communication in a way which projects them as participative and friendly leaders (Lybarge & Rancer, 2017). This can lead to motivation of staff and a work culture of participation, discussion and cooperation in the organisation.
However the disadvantage of oral communication is that it is not precise. As it is conducted orally the manager can be misunderstood (Guffey & Loewy, 2012). Additionally, there is no proof of the communication unless it is recorded. There is also lack of accountability in oral communication (Hanh, 2013). Reference value of oral communication is also low (Guffey & Loewy, 2012). In other words, while repeating what a manager said, an employee might change the meaning and context of the words, intestinally or unintentionally; leading to faulty communication flow.
Another major type of communication used in business world is written communication. Communication skills play a vital role in written communication as well (Lybarge & Rancer, 2017). The written communication between a manager and an employee or with in employees should be clear, precise and to the point. The language used should be formal and understandable (Banker, 2015). The text with in a written communication should be well drafted to give a clear message to workforce regarding a plan or a strategy. Advantage of skilled written communication is that the employees get clear idea on what is to be done (Dwyer, 2012). It cannot be misinterpreted and there is accountability in this form of communication. However, the communicator has to be careful of the words he is using in a written communication (Cenere, Gill, Lawson, & Lewis, 2015). A Letter or a memo written wrongly can cause grave errors and wrong judgements of the situation by the employees. Therefore, person drafting the material should be skilled in communication skills.
Effective communication skills at the workplace can lead to workforce efficiency and effectiveness. It can give clear instruction to people so that they can do their job effectively. Additionally, good communications skills help give positive and constructive feedback. A manger with effective communication skills can get the organisational tasks done in a friendly and a cooperative atmosphere.
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