According to the Wisconsin business alumni, Robert Kent, former dean of Harvard Business School said, “In business, communication is everything.” Businesses are made up of people on every level. The employee answering the phones, the customers and the other business relationships are all a vital part of business. Effective business communication is dependent on a company’s organizational structure and its leadership.


Business communication is the sending and receiving of messages within a company, organization or business. Business communication includes verbal, nonverbal, public and cultural communication to promote employee retention, customer satisfaction and healthy business relationships.


The purpose of business communication is to inspire, educate and develop relationships, trust and a positive public identity. When business communication is done right it results in success because the focus in on relating and caring for people, according to, a business and technology website.

Types – Upward/Downward

Business communication travels in one of two ways: upward or downward. Upward communication is messages sent from subordinates to upper-management. Upward communication is feedback, reports and progress meetings to inform management of the organizations effectiveness. Downward communication when a message is sent from a superior to a subordinate. For example, if the executives at Disney send a message to the president of the Disney Word theme park, the communication is considered downward because Disney Corporation oversees the leadership of the theme park.

Types – Internal/External

Business communication occurs internally and externally. Internal communication is when messages are sent within a company. For example, memos, company meetings and company-wide voicemail messages are all considered internal communication. External business communication is when messages are sent from a company to people outside the business. This is seen in press conferences, advertising and networking groups.


Business communication can be restricted or prevented through common communication barriers. Business communication barriers can distort a message or keep a person from understanding its meaning. Lee Hopkins, a leading Australian communication expert states that the most common business communication barriers are: a distracting environment, poor organizational structure, delivering a message to the wrong audience, a weak delivery, a mixed message and using the wrong medium.


Business communication is an ever-developing process that grows through assessment, observation and implementing change. Performing an organizational needs assessment will provide a business with an objective overview of the company’s communication effectiveness, according to the California Institute of Technology. It identifies areas of weakness and provides suggestions on how to improve those areas.