Effective business communication can boost an organization's credibility and reputation. While emails, meetings and memos are some of the first business communication terms that come to mind, perfecting content is only one element of effective workplace communication. The best business communicators pursue a multi-layered strategy to send messages, interpret results, and engage customers and employees.
Effective business communications are created with audience needs, motivations and limitations in mind. Business writers realize that most audiences are pressed for time and therefore limit communications to only the most important messages and place those main points first. Business writers also tailor communications to reflect audience factors such as culture, interest level and subject-matter expertise.
Style and Tone
The style of business communication strikes a balance between formal and conversational approaches. While the type of project will dictate whether the writer leans toward more reserved or relaxed language, the general tone is confident, polite and sincere. Language that is confrontational or biased has no place in business communication.
Message and Medium Match
Effective business communication matches message to medium. For example, business communications that are short and noncontroversial are delivered by email. Phone calls are best for messages that need a quick response or greater explanation. Memos and reports are vehicles for those messages that require more detail or supporting materials. Meetings are used to discuss complicated or controversial messages.
Business communication is fact-based, easy-to-read and error free. Business communication content should not contain assumptions, emotions or guesses. Business writers use "plain English" words, limit jargon and acronyms and avoid cliches. Content is proofread for both typos and fact errors. Savvy business writers often read finished content out loud to catch mistakes.
Effective business communication is responsive. Business leaders or communicators who hide bad news or avoid talking with customers and employees about a controversial subject pursue a disaster-prone strategy. Instead, business communication should respond quickly and with empathy even if the message is only a simple acknowledgment of a problem and a commitment to investigate.
Modern business communication is more of a dialogue than a one-way information push from management to customers and employees. Establishing modes of feedback, such as customer surveys or employee suggestion boxes as well as monitoring and responding to that information, is a critical aspect of business communication. Two-way communication does not mean folding to any and all customer or employee whims. Rather, effective communicators listen, ask questions, encourage discussion and incorporate customer and employee feedback where possible.