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December 18, 2014

What is Business Communication?

Business

Jeff Cochran

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Business communication incorporates the means to effectively relay information within professional channels. Some of the more popular channels using business communication include television, radio, print media, businesses and the Internet. For effective business communication, most professionals prefer face-to-face interaction. While it may be considered confrontational, face-to-face interaction is also the most direct and easy to understand. There are five different conversations taking place in most effective business communication. These conversations include negotiation, mediation, persuasion, conflict resolution and presentation.

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1. Negotiation

Not only does negotiation play a strong role in business communication, but it also serves as a fine art for many to master. The art of negotiation can transform tense situations into areas of peace and reconciliation for the parties involved. Negotiation mainly focuses on the ability to get both parties to a common ground or to a place where both parties benefit from a decision. In business communication, some of the most commonly discussed negotiations include salary or benefits negotiations. When entering a conversation with planned negotiating, it is important to know the talking points and position on the particular issue. Negotiation is merely problem solving. When solving a problem, a person must look at what they want and how far they are willing to go for it. For example, a job offer may be on the table, but the benefits may not be that great. This could be a place for negotiation. A person must look at the pros and cons of what the job offer entails and decide if it works for them. Negotiation also involves preparing to ask questions and get answers that will solve the problem. It is vital to continue the conversation and persist until a solution is found.

2. Mediation

Another important facet of business communication involves mediation (not to be confused with meditation). Mediation involves inviting a neutral third-party to help rectify a situation. While it’s considered ideal for a company to exist without any problems, it isn’t realistic. Problems will arise during the life of any business. Businesses are primarily comprised of people who are prone to their different ideas, temperaments, strengths and weaknesses. Because of these different factors, it is easy to see the need and importance of effective business communication. When a problem rears its ugly head, it is up to the parties involved to maturely seek a beneficial way to handle it. One of the best ways to destroy a company is through unresolved conflict as it can eventually decrease profits, crush work productivity and lead to very poor job retention. If a problem proves to be harder than usual to solve, mediation is a great solution to take advantage of. The solution of mediation is popularly used in situations of harassment, wrongful termination and discrimination. Mediation is great because it allows both parties to be heard in a safe environment. There is also the benefit of privacy. In mediations, privacy is of the utmost importance. In a business setting, a lot of mediators are lawyers or people who are well-versed in law. When a settlement is reached at the end of a mediation, it is considered legally binding.

3. Persuasion

Persuasion, or influence has been long considered an art. The ability to get people to leave their convictions and buy into another is one of the most highly sought-after business communication skills. Persuasion is used through all mediums of business communication. For example, television networks no longer report the facts alone. There is a bit of opinion delivered with artful persuasion on various evening programs with analysts and pundits. There are a few elements of persuasion that, if properly understood, can lead to many professional success stories. Reciprocity is major in persuasion. People are easier to persuade if they feel like the one doing the persuading has delivered lots of value to their lives in a certain way. People are more likely to give in to someone who does a lot for them. If someone is an authority or a credible source on a subject, they have the advantage to persuade an audience because of their experience. Lastly, when a person is well-liked, it is easier to persuade them. Books like How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie prove that people are persuaded by people who look like them, make them feel good and help them achieve goals of mutual benefit.

4. Conflict Resolution

As previously mentioned, conflicts in business can often lead to a decrease in profits, work productivity and poor job retention. These are some of the most detrimental blows any business could ever experience. A major part of effective business communication involves the ability to solve conflicts and bounce back from them. When dealing with conflict in a business setting, it is important to get the opposing sides out. Both opinions need the opportunity to be expressed. After each side gets the chance to express their conflicting side, problems must be resolved expeditiously. The best way to come to a resolution is through asking each side what the benefits of their reasoning are. What is to be gained by going one way vs. another? After this is expressed, there are usually some fears behind each reason. There are also consequences for each action. Creativity has its place in effective business communication and conflict resolution. After hearing the fears behind each side, the best way to alleviate fears and find a resolution is to find a middle ground. Getting creative about a solution that pleases everyone may be difficult, but it’s worth the fight. Conflict is an uncomfortable part of business. The brightest professionals are the ones who know how to handle conflict quickly and creatively to see resolution!

5. Presentation

Many studies suggest that two-thirds of all communication is non-verbal. In business communications, presentations are a vital part of the process. Within the first two or three minutes, the audience critiques the presenter’s voice, style, tone, style of attire, energy level, confidence level and more. Because all of these can either attract or distract, it is incredibly important to pay attention to these factors. Attention must also be placed on being extremely clear. Communicators must always present their intentions for the presentation from the beginning. Business communication is best when its clear and concise.

There are many moving parts in business communication. Effective business communication skills are beneficial to any professional as well as anyone who communicates with others. Persuasion, mediation, presentation, conflict resolution and negotiation are all incredible elements to the world of business communication. When these skills are mastered, the end result is a masterpiece.

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