Communication became vital the instant man realized he needed a safety plan to protect his clan from sharp-toothed carnivores. Today, good communication skills are still a key to longevity and success, such as when you're navigating a business through fierce competition. Savvy companies share information, mainly using internal, external and horizontal methods. Ultimately, their aim is commercial gain, but having proper communication channels also reduces misunderstandings. As you examine common channels of business communication, consider how each breaks down into plenty of topics and subtopics for research.
Grunting to communicate is outdated. Now, email, text and cyber meetings make it easy for employees, executives, partners and anyone else involved in running a business to communicate internally. The other side of the equation, internal communication, is about more than how a company's members reach each other to discuss inside matters. Business communication can travel in one of two ways:
Upward communication involves the transfer of information from a lower lever to a higher one, such as when a new employee or laborer provides an update to a supervisor or manager.
Downward communication works in reverse, as with a manager passing along instruction to employees.
As you can imagine, vertical internal communication can impact many company aspects. For one, a business's reputation can depend, in large part, on whether employees are respected or verbally abused. A poor connection between upper and lower management can put a halt to an entire venture. And, what about a high employee turnover rate due to unnecessary intimidation, confusion or misunderstandings? The better the communication, the happier the employees and, therefore, the lower the rate of turnover.
By digging deeper into proper downward and upward communications, you'll discover advantages, such as overall efficiency, boosted employee morale and a healthy bottom line.
Informal Communication, or Grapevine communication, is basically the spread of inside information from person to person regardless of hierarchy or authority levels. The information shared isn't necessarily confirmed information or gossip and it travels in various forms, usually by word of mouth. Informal communication can be sparked by excitement or concerns, such as rumors of a staff cut or takeover. Sometimes, word travels through the grapevine simply because staff on different levels become friends and share details that they otherwise wouldn't.
External communication is basically information provided to shareholders, suppliers, subcontractors, customers and clients and anyone else in a business's external or outside environment. It's basically the official word from the company. Research topics that fall into this category include marketing and advertising. Other forms of external communication with the outside world are those handled in person, by phone, mobile application, postal service and sometimes by certified delivery to deal with confidential matters like a contract proposal.
Again, when you look closely, you can see how various forms of external communication break down into other components or subtopics. Take marketing, for example; external communication marketing is conducted in various ways, such as by hosting an event, releasing publications, posting on social media sites, advertising in the media – internet, television, radio – and by meeting with existing or potential clients to discuss business.
Intercultural communication is also vital to external dealings, especially in today's competitive global business environment. How a company handles intercultural communication can influence either a prosperous or poor business relationship; In business – and life – it's imperative to always be aware and respectful of cultural differences.
Some of the advantages of practicing good external communication, locally or abroad, include financial support from investors and lenders, a growing customer base, widening target market and a healthy relationship with suppliers.
Horizontal, or lateral, communication is information passed between departments or peers on equal or at least similar levels. In business, success relies heavily on how well co-workers communicate with co-workers or executives communicate with executives, for starters. Restricting particular business details to certain levels reduces misunderstandings and miscommunication.
One example of improved horizontal communication is an increase in sales, when sales staff begin working better as a team, sharing helpful information and discussing concerns with each other.
What about promotional opportunities that relate to horizontal communication within? If a team member interacts appropriately with peers by being genuinely helpful and sharing information that boosts business, he improves his chance of getting a raise or promotion. On the other hand, if a worker disagrees with peers too often, shares incorrect information or spreads outright lies that hurt the company, she risks suspension or having her position terminated.
Business communication methods branch off into seemingly endless topics and subtopics. How much you need to know depends on your reason for research: Narrow down just what you can use to improve your own venture. Or, study further to expand your knowledge of communication avenues in the modern world.
- Forbes: Why Your Brand Needs a Clear Internal Communications Strategy
- Inc.: Foster A Collaborative Sales Team: 5 Ways
- Science Direct: Implementing New Global Business Trends to Intercultural Business Communication
- Management Study Guide: Communication Flows in an Organization
- Management Study Guide: Grapevine Communication (Informal Business Communication)
Lorna Hordos is a home-improvement business owner and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of conversational business articles for WordPress.com, Bizfluent, AZ Central and Global Post.