The Importance of Communication in Business
Communication and successful business go hand in hand. It should be a top priority in any business for a number of reasons. Studies have found that more often than not, successful business executives value two types of communication above any other kind when they’re looking at hiring new employees. Writing skills and speaking skills are more highly valued in the majority of business settings. While other communication forms such as listening, cultural literacy skills, and technology-mediated communication are useful, ultimately how your employees write and how they talk are going to be key factors in the success of your business. (Wardrope, 2002)
But before we delve further into the importance of written and oral communication within a business, we must first discuss why communication is such a vital factor to begin with. There are a number of reasons why effective communication skills result in better business.
1) Strong Teams
When your team is communicating with each other, it creates a stronger bond on both a professional and personal level. This results in a higher morale and a lower chance of miscommunications disrupting momentum and productivity. When everyone is on the same page, your business team is stronger for it.
2) Motivates New Thinking
When open communication is a way of life in your work space, employees are more likely to speak freely about their thoughts and ideas. The more ideas being communicated and shared, the higher your chances of innovation and the success that results from a new and carefully crafted idea.
3) Strong Alliances
It’s no secret that networking is a key strategy to finding success in business. When your team is able to communicate effectively, your network of fellow beneficial businesses grows. Communication constructs a team that is not afraid to put themselves out in the world and make connections.
4) Promotes Transparency
Every employee wants to be able to trust the people in charge. When you allow and encourage open communication about all subject matters, it will establish trust between business executives and employees, which will in turn make it easier to manage and guide your employees toward success.
With this in mind, two of the main ways you are going to be able to achieve these benefits of effective communication is by prioritising and encouraging two main types. Written communication and oral communication.
Written Communication and Why It’s Important in Business
One particular study (Wardrope, 2002) found that when 280 business chairs were asked to rate the importance of 34 topics that are usually covered in a business communications course, the majority stated that written communication skills were the most important.
Written communication is what ultimately defines the brand of a business. More often than not, the first thing potential customers see from your business is written advertising in the form of a website, press release, or printed ad. The way your business is communicated via written words is hugely important to your overall success as a company.
Written communication also provides a more permanent representation of your business. While a lot of business happens through oral communication, it’s the written documents and communication that goes onto a permanent record. It’s important to make sure these records are written well and communicate effectively.
Lastly, written communication is an important factor when it comes to creating and maintaining internal and external relationships in many businesses. Emailing is a fast and easy form of communication that a lot of businesses utilise on a daily basis. Having the ability to clearly communicate through emails and do so in a way that effectively conveys your tone is a skill that every employee should have. The right email could result in a new customer, the wrong one could lead to personal grievances amongst employees.
Oral Communication and Why It’s Important in Business
Whether oral communication or written communication is more important in business is up for debate, but the fact of the matter is that they are both crucial to the success of a business.
It’s been discovered that more and more, business owners and those in charge of hiring do not consider an undergraduate’s experience with formal oral presentations to be enough experience when it comes to oral communication. (Crosling and Ward, 2002)
Yes, there are formal presentations in many businesses, but a huge amount of oral communication within the workplace is informal and unstructured. The ability to orally communicate in an effective way is reflective of a broad range of understanding and emotional intelligence – skills that are always going to be beneficial in a business setting.
The ability to analyse your audience and respond accordingly is inherited more in informal situations than structured presentations. This ability promotes success when it comes to sales, networking, and positive relationships within a business. Customers will felt understood, employees will feel connected, and the overall success of a business will soar if it’s made up of employees who have mastered oral communication in all its forms.
Apprehension, and Why It’s Important to Note in Oral Communication
We’ve established that oral communication is important in business, and it’s a skill that can be learned and developed over time if it does not come naturally to a person. That being said, an important factor to be aware of when it comes to communication in your business is the apprehension that is often linked with communication.
One particular study found that while employees may have effective oral communication skills, if they are apprehensive about using these skills, they will not reap the benefits that one would expect from excellent oral communication. The apprehension to utilise the oral communication skills that an employee has developed should be treated as a separate skill on its own within a business. (Fordham and Gabbin, 1996) For employees who struggle to use the oral communication skills that they’ve developed, effective communication should be treated as a two-step process. Step one: learn how to communicate effectively. Step two: learn how to want to use those oral communication skills. Once these employees have been pushed and motivated to view oral communication as a vital career tool, your business will have truly mastered communication.
Communication in business is vital, and there are a couple of ways you can work with employees to master the forms of communication that hold the most importance. Focus on written and oral communication, and you’ll be well on your way to success.