In business, excellent communication is essential if you are to translate your vision into reality. Whether with an employee, colleague, or customer, effectively communicating your ideas influences how your business operates both internally and externally.
Lacking an effective communication strategy can have significant negative effects on a business, with 28% of people reporting that poor communication is the main reason behind failing to deliver a project. Additionally, 60% of professionals in a recent survey reported that they are facing a communication crisis at least once a month, making poor communication practices one of the main causes of crises in the workplace.
Understanding the types and methods of business communication, as well as the technology that businesses can use to do just that, is the first step in creating an effective business communication strategy.
What are the types of Business Communication?
There are four different types of business communication; internal upwards, internal downwards, internal lateral, and external business communication.
Internal upward business communication focuses on communication that comes from an individual up the organizational hierarchy, for example, a junior employee to a manager. This type of communication often can help those in senior positions maintain an accurate idea of both how the company is operating and how those in more junior positions feel about its direction. Ensuring that information is able to easily flow upwards within a business is essential and is key to any effective business communication strategy.
In contrast, internal downward communication involves the flow of information in the opposite direction, from more senior members of the team to juniors. This typically comes in the form of directions and guidance, and should be kept professional and clear so it can be easily understood by all members of the team to ensure that instructions can be followed.
Internal lateral business communication happens among employees in the workplace. Your business communication is essential in making sure that your business is targeting its resources effectively. This type of communication happens most frequently, therefore it is important to make sure businesses have the technology and infrastructure in place to make communication as easy as possible.
Maintaining connections between members of the team is also vital both in constructing a positive workplace, but also maintaining a good work culture around your business. This can involve providing employees at all levels of a business with methods and forums to communicate with each other, such as chats or workplace meetings dedicated to lateral communication. Incorporating good internal communication practices ultimately has a positive effect on any business, with a McKinsey report finding that well-connected teams see a productivity increase of 20-25%.
Finally, external business communication is any communication between a business and external parties, such as a customer or a vendor. Although external communication does not occur as much as other types of business communication, it plays an essential role in any business’s outward image.
The work we do here at Sapience is all about external communication. We manage external reputations, relationships with audiences and potential leads. We understand how to craft a business’s messaging with authority, flair and speed.
How does Business Communication work?
The dramatic changes in the last few years in how and where we work have led to more people working from home than ever before. This has accompanied a revolution in how businesses communicate both internally and externally, and has made it more important than ever for businesses to incorporate efficient communication methods.
Simply put, there are two overarching methods of business communication, verbal and written. Furthermore, these methods can take place either in person or remotely. Written communication is a great way of keeping a record of all the decisions and actions made, which can be used to measure your success in the past and implement more effective strategies for the future.
Additionally, verbal interactions enable dynamic idea generation and allow a more open forum for people to engage within. Sometimes this can take place within an office setting, or over a video call, with companies now frequently blending the two into a more hybrid format of blending various methods.
Technology and Business Communication
The variety of online platforms dedicated to enhancing business communication has exploded in recent years as the result of an increase in demand for easy and accessible ways to communicate outside of the office. However, these are the key forms of communication which are essential for any business to use:
These platforms govern everyday communication channels including emails and online messaging applications such as Slack and Google Hangouts. The benefits of using these messaging platforms are not only the speed and privacy they provide, but it also allows businesses to communicate with both internal and external actors simultaneously from anywhere in the world.
Video conferencing and presentations
Innovative video conferencing systems enable people to host meetings remotely, providing users with the same benefits as an in-person meeting. Platforms such as Microsoft Teams give users the ability to share documents, present reports, and use a virtual whiteboard to provide a great forum for sharing new ideas in a way that also allows for any questions to be raised easily.
Cloud sharing services
Gone are the days of searching for a piece of paper under a pile of documents. Cloud sharing services such as Google Drive allow employees quick access to vital documents whilst reducing the chance of confusion or disagreement when providing feedback through allowing tracked comments. Efficiently incorporating and regularly updating your cloud storage systems is a crucial part of a well-oiled business communication system.
Online Forums and FAQs
These online platforms provide an internal area for employees to find answers to frequently asked questions on a variety of topics and allow them to raise new questions that will help the business remain up-to-date on any technical issues. Furthermore, these forums can also allow businesses to communicate with outside parties. Discord and Telegram, for example, are becoming increasingly popular forums through which blockchain companies interact with their community and other businesses.
Using online surveys is a great way to gather feedback and information on important internal and customer-related topics. They provide channels for anonymous feedback and provide accessible communication channels between different levels and departments of any business.
Leveraging communication to deliver success
It is clear that communication can be the most powerful tool in a business arsenal. As technology and working-from-home practices continue to change the way we communicate, it is vital that businesses find new ways to ensure that they are able to provide easy, fast and more streamlined forms of communication for those both inside and outside of the business.
At Sapience, we are experts in communication. With our strong relationships across the media, we understand the kind of messaging that is needed to push your brand out to appropriate outlets.
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