In the age of informal digital communication, the art of business communication seems to losing its importance. Interaction at the workplace has lost its effectiveness, resulting in a lot of misunderstanding creeping into conversations. The fine line between concise conversation and rudeness is commonly being crossed, deteriorating the quality of communication in the work setting.
Communication denotes the first, second and even the third impression that a person may form and sometimes businesses end up losing clients and even projects because of lack of proper and effective communication, making this skill an important asset to own.
To understand Business Communication and its need, we sat down with Kaitlin Goodrich, the instructor behind Eduonix’s Business Communication course to learn what exactly is business communication and how can it affect businesses on a small and a large scale.
Kaitlin Goodrich holds an undergraduate degree in modern languages, as well as a Masters in International Contracts. She has been a regular speaker at many communication conferences and also helps numerous companies to hone their communication skills.
In short, can you please describe what business communication is and what your course is all about?
KG: Business communication, simply put, is process of understanding and sharing meaning in a workplace or business environment. The basis of any workplace interaction is business communication. My course tells you how to communicate effectively in many common workplace situations, which can bring massive benefits to your career.
How important is business communication in an enterprise, and why?
KG: Business communication is a vital part of any enterprise, no matter its industry or product because it is the only way to carry out business operations and successfully achieve objectives. In fact, business communication is so important that effective, clear communication skills are the number one skill demanded by employers across the world and in every major industry.
According to you, which has a greater prominence – verbal communication or non-verbal communication?
KG: It’s impossible to say because the two go hand-in-hand. We interpret much of what is said in verbal communication in terms of nonverbal communication, but nonverbal communication alone is unlikely to get your message across. If you could only improve one, though, I’d start with nonverbal communication. Almost 60% of what we understand in all human messaging is conveyed through nonverbal body language.
What are the key points to remember when it comes to written communication?
KG: There are a lot of things you can do to improve written communication, which we go into during this course, but if you don’t remember anything else about written communications, you should keep in mind three points:
- Clarity is key in any interaction. Don’t worry about making yourself sound smart. It’ll only backfire. Instead just focus on using easy-to-understand, precise language.
- Always edit. A majority of miscommunications could be avoided simply by reading over what you wrote before sending.
- Be polite. The written word is forever. Once you send a written message, you can’t take it back, so don’t risk saying something you regret. Keep it professional.
What points should be remembered when communicating with coworkers or colleagues?
KG: I think the most important, oft-forgotten aspect of communicating with coworkers and colleagues is compromise. Our coworkers are people that we have to deal with every day to succeed at work. If we are always trying to beat our colleagues or ignore their opinions, eventually this causes real friction. No one wants to feel like their opinions aren’t respected or heard. Instead, go for the win-win every time and really respect what they’re saying. You’ll communicate better.
How does communication differ when communicating with colleagues vs. the clients?
KG: People ask how communicating with colleagues vs. clients differs often, but I think the truth is that it shouldn’t differ at all. Clarity and respect are obviously vital with clients, but our colleagues deserve that same respect too. Sure, we may use different words to describe things with a likeminded technical coworker than with the average client, but the core principles of communication are the same.
Any extra points that we should remember for day-to-day communication?
KG: I always tell my clients to make understanding a priority over being understood. It may sound strange, but you are much better able to get your message through when you know where your audience is coming from and have listened to their concerns. Too often we focus so much on our own concerns that we forget to listen to who we’re communicating with—to the point that communication becomes impossible. Effective communication requires a two-way exchange to work, so don’t forget that listening is a big part of the equation.
Is there is instance you’ve come across, where lack of communication has created problems?
KG: More than I can count. Communication problems cost companies billions of dollars every year in lost productivity, errors, and waste.
What are common communication problems that companies usually face?
KG: The most common communication problem I see companies experience today is a simple lack of communication, especially about difficult topics. We try to avoid bringing up problems until it is too late to fix them simply. The best way to avoid communication problems in companies is to keep the lines of communication open at all times. The more open we are, the better we avoid problems altogether.
How will your Business Communication course help those who plan to take it for their professional development?
KG: Good communication skills are rare. A majority of employers are unable to find qualified professionals with even the most basic communications skills needs to succeed in leadership. If you are able to even marginally improve your business communication skills, you are setting yourself above most other candidates. This course is guaranteed to teach you all the basics of business communication so you can enhance your own skill set. You’ll find that by communicating better, more doors open to you.
While good communication skills are a lost art, it is definitely seeing the light of day again with many individuals focusing on improving their communication as well as many organizations introducing good communication practices within their companies. It may seem like written and verbal communication are the only two forms of communication that may require polishing, but there are other forms of communication that also play a huge part including non-verbal communication. Eduonix’s course covers a variety of different communication skills including verbal, non-verbal, written, oral, and even negotiation skills.