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business communication definition


once you know your purpose make a list
of all the people who should be involved in the project or should know about your
work we need downward communication that is
messages that flow from the top levels of management to the employees
throughout the company downward communication is most common but can
become distorted if passed through too many people
remember the childhood game called telephone one person would whisper
something to the next person in the circle who would then whisper it to the
next and so on the last person in the circle would say aloud what she heard
which was never what the first player had originally said the game was fun and
made us all laugh but in business it’s not funny
try to communicate directly to as many receivers as possible upward
communication allows management to learn about problems that only frontline
people are privy to when channels are in place for employees
to be heard by their leadership they feel more valued upward communication is
notorious though for being skewed toward the positive no one wants to give the
boss bad news and no one wants to confess when things aren’t going well so
upward messages tend to suffer from a positivity bias you can use opinion
surveys Q&A sessions advisory boards Ombudsman hotlines suggestion boxes skip
level interviews anything you can think of to encourage upward honest
communication in your company horizontal communication is often overlooked yet
that dreaded silo mentality begins to grow when departments or units see
themselves as independent actors rather than part of a collective system if you
notice a lack of lateral communication you can initiate conversations with
people at your level in other departments consider a once a week
coffee or even just a quick drop by two about current projects powerful
collaborations often begin as simple conversations have you started thinking
of who you should have on your list there’s one more group to consider who
might be an unintended audience emails are so easy to forward as communicators
we want our message to be received by the intended audience and we need to be
aware of unintended audiences so think carefully about who could end up here in
your message I want you to give some serious thought
to the best senders of your message your senders should be influential to the
receivers what is it to be influential the ancient Greeks would explain it this
way when asinus speaks the people say how well he speaks but when the most
thinness speaks the people say let’s march the most thinness is our
influencer here someone who can change the actions of others what makes a
person influential and a good candidate for sending messages people generally
influence us if they have some kind of power in our eyes and that power falls
into five categories legitimate power happens when people comply with a
request because the sender has a certain title or position let’s face it
sometimes we do what the boss says because the boss is the boss we respect
the position and demonstrate that respect through compliance reward power
refers to behavior motivated because a sender can reward you in some way you
follow up quickly with a request from a potential client because he has the
power to reward you with new business or just the opposite coercive power happens
when a sender can punish you in some way or take away good things in life you
follow up quickly with an existing client because he has the power to take
his business elsewhere people are influenced by expert power when a sender
really knows her stuff why not follow an expert right and finally referent power
is influenced that happens as a result of credibility or similarity these five
power categories are not absolute rather influence is situational you might be
influenced by your financial adviser on what stocks to purchase but she might
seem less influential to you when you’re deciding what color to paint
kitchen don’t make the mistake of assuming that you are the best sender of
your message if someone else could be more effective pass the torch
focus on your purpose and if enlisting someone else to be a spokesperson of
your idea would help give the idea wings go for it
tap into the influence that will work now that we’ve identified who should
hear our message we must remember that these people will interpret our message
to understand its meaning see the lines drawn through the heads of the senders
and receivers these little lines remind us that no listener is an empty vessel
awaiting our message rather people have mental filters we all have preconceived
notions assumptions biases good and bad our unique way of seeing the world your
receivers have their own perspectives about you and your message these mental
filters can skew how our message is heard and understood our third key
communication question is how my message be interpreted let’s consider a few
examples I send a memo to remind John about an upcoming safety meeting how
might John interpret my message he might think doesn’t trust me to remember
anything or hmm safety is important around here or isn’t that nice being
helpful in trying to ease my burden now this example from the emotional
intelligence activity book cautions us that even a simple reminder email is
subject to interpretation the relationship I have with John his state
of mind when reading my email and my specific word choice can all affect the
meaning for John if I’m mindful of the possible interpretations I can clarify
my intent by adding one extra line to that email something like I know your
plate is really full right now just wanted to be helpful mental filters are
the source of far too many misunderstandings but by being
thoughtful and proactive you can help overcome this common communication
barrier

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