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Effective communication is an essential part of business. Internally, it helps to facilitate collaboration, build positive work cultures and boost productivity. Similarly, when viewed in the context of business-customer relations, the ways in which you communicate with the outside world can make or break your brand’s image.
In this blog, we breakdown what is meant by ‘business communication’. This includes assessing why it is so important. We also outline the different types of communication that all successful businesses need to be aware of.
What is business communication?
Put simply, business communication refers to the strategies and methods used to share information between people both within a workplace and outside a business. In order to understand the different roles communication strategies can have in a business, it is important to look at both internal and external business communication methods separately.
Internal business communication can take a number of forms. Formal channels of internal communication include emails, memos, company-wide announcements, and departmental meetings. Internal comms can also include more informal channels. For example, businesses will typically make use of casual 1-2-1 catch-up conversations, team huddles and informal company meetings.
As the name suggests, external communication refers to the ways a business interacts with any external entity. This includes communication with everyone from clients/customers and the wider public to suppliers, investors and government bodies. Crucial for building and maintaining relationships with stakeholders, external communication also takes many forms. This includes the creation of marketing materials, social media profiles, advertising campaigns and press releases. It also covers aspects of running a business like customer service interactions, incident management and business-to-supplier communications.
Why is business communication important?
Strong communication serves as a foundation for success in any business field. In its purest form, strong communication allows for a frictionless exchange of ideas, information and feedback. Focusing firstly on internal communication, this is crucial as it helps to ensure business tasks and functions are completed accurately and on time. As touched upon above, clear and effective internal communication has the ability to enhance efficiency and productivity, meaning each cog in the corporate machine works as seamlessly as possible. Equally as important, and on a human level, it helps to build a positive work culture among employees, meaning your workers are as fulfilled and motivated as possible.
Of course, business communications do not only refer to internal affairs. On the contrary, strong communication is just as vital for understanding and meeting the needs of external stakeholders. This covers everything from building strong relationships with clients and providing excellent customer services options to forging strong links with other stakeholders such as suppliers and investors. It’s important to remember that when it comes to external business communication, it is an organisation’s reputation that is on the line.While it is a business cliche, the fact is brand image matters and can be the difference between success and failure.
What are the different types of business communication?
As a rule, there are four types of business communication. Naturally, there are advantages and disadvantages to each of these communication types. For this reason, many businesses will use a combination of all four to manage different areas of their communication strategy. Below we take a look at each of these four models in detail:
Upward communication involves interactions moving up the organisational hierarchy. This allows employees from all levels of the business to share feedback and concerns with management. When implemented well, this type of communication can foster a fantastic working environment where interaction across different levels in a company is encouraged. However, if implemented poorly – for example, if access to senior management is limited for less senior employees – communication can be hindered. Additionally, employees may feel uncomfortable being fully open and honest with their superiors.
As the name suggests, downward communication models see information flow from the top of the business hierarchy down. In theory, this allows for a clear delegation of responsibilities from the individuals in decision making positions. However, it’s important to note that this traditional form of business communication is not always implemented efficiently. If information is slow to filter down from the ‘top’, business operations can be impacted and employees can become frustrated.
As you may expect, lateral communication promotes collaboration among employees of all departments.In theory, this is the most democratic form of business communication strategy. While it does have the ability to create a strong and trusting work environment, it can also promote unnecessary competition between teams and departments. Ultimately, this can hinder team cohesion and collaboration, as well as overall efficiency when it comes to information sharing.
Naturally, external communication deals with interactions between an organisation and external parties. This includes stakeholders such as clients, customers, investors and suppliers. On a day-to-day level, this type of communication will typically determine how well an organisation is able to manage expectations through customer services and build and manage relationships with business partners. This can require effective communication systems and strategies involving services such as:
Ultimately, the purpose of strong external communications is tobuild a positive reputation and maintain fruitful relationships.
Learning how to effectively navigate these communication types is essential for success. Luckily, whether your goal is to create a better culture within your organisation, improve the dissemination of information or boost your business’ image in the eyes of the public, we can help.
To find out how CallCare can assist your organisation in improving its business communication performance today, get in touch with our friendly team.
Posted by Gemma Harding
As Head of Client Services, Gemma is an expert in the customer service industry. With over 20 years of experience in the call handling process she will guide your organisation to an improved customer service strategy. Hobbies include all thing equestrian.