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Business communication: common types, characteristics and errors

Business communication: common types, characteristics and errors

August 16, 2022

We live in a society in which a large part of the labor market is configured based on the business environment. Whether they are large multinationals, SMEs, family businesses or even individual services, all of them must take into account that an essential element for their survival is coherence in the organization and communication between their parties in order to join forces and aim towards a common goal.

In this sense, we can affirm that Business communication is one of the key elements when an organization , especially if it has some complexity, works properly and can adapt and survive. And it is about this communication about what we are going to talk about throughout this article.

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What is business communication?

It is understood as business communication to the set of processes carried out by a company or part of it in order to make travel information, both internally between different departments or posts of the company or if we talk about the communication of the company with the outside.

It is important to bear in mind that, as a general rule, such communication does not only imply the ability to issue the information, but also includes the fact of receiving it: We are facing a mutual exchange of data .

A good business communication favors that all the members of the company can stay motivated and that their actions can be known, reducing the uncertainty of both workers and leaders regarding the state of the same. It also facilitates interaction and improves the working environment , in addition to improving productivity and allow reacting more optimally to any eventuality.

General objectives

The objectives of business communication are easily understood. Internally, on the one hand, it allows a coherent organization to be produced and the information and results obtained by its different departments or workers to be shared, as well as the objectives and corporate vision of the company to be generated and transmitted.

As well facilitates the understanding of what is expected of each worker , as well as the understanding of the realities to which each of them must face. It also facilitates that everyone works in the same direction, and that new ways of carrying out their own responsibilities can be learned.

At the level of communication with the outside world, business communication is essential in order to contact the media and generate a positive image of the company itself, as well as to analyze the target audience and assess their needs. It also allows us to learn to attract potential clients and assess the changes inherent in the dynamic and fluid society in which we live, something fundamental in order to anticipate and face possible difficulties and adapt to the environment.

In order for communication to be efficient, it is necessary that the company itself create effective channels for this, as well as empowering the transmission of information through its actions, generating means to communicate and also working actively so that there is no uncertainty Regarding what is requested and sought within the organization.

It is also important to work on both formal and informal aspects, as well as to assess the needs and thoughts of the different workers. Empathy is also fundamental, as well as good regulation and planning of communication mechanisms.

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Different types of business communication

Not all companies and organizations communicate in the same way, and there are different types and classifications of business communication based on various criteria.

1. Internal and external

The first one is the one that establishes the distinction between internal and external communication, the first being that which occurs between the different departments and workers of the company itself and the second one that is aimed at establishing a communication with the environment.

2. Bidirectional and monodirectional

Likewise, we can also find business communication styles with a greater or lesser level of interactivity, being able to find from the most usual bidirectional communication in which sender and receiver interact and exchange information until the monodirectional one in which only one message is sent, generally from positions of power, to a receiver who has no option to reply .

3. Ascending, descending and horizontal

Within the internal business communication of an organization, we can find three big types depending on the point where the information starts and the position between the sender and the receiver of the same communication. We speak of descending communication when the communicative act is carried out from a sender with a higher charge than the receiver.

When it is the subordinate who issues the message to his superior, we would speak of upward communication. In both cases we would be faced with a type of vertical communication, that is, a communication in which the subjects that maintain the communicative act have an inequality relation in terms of power (there being a hierarchy between them).

The other great type of communication is horizontal communication, which is established between individuals who have the same position and are at the same level of the hierarchy.

4. Formal and informal

Finally, it should be noted that in business communication we can find the existence of two different types of communication channels: formal and informal. The first is where the technical aspects are usually treated and linked to the tasks themselves, being a kind of respectful communication and focused on the reason and the objective of the company.

In informal communication, however, more flexible and natural communications are usually established , focused primarily on interpersonal relationships and often having the greatest effect on work welfare. The latter varies greatly depending on who carries it out and can transcend the workplace, being difficult to control by the organization.

Possible threats to good communication

The fact of maintaining an efficient business communication is fundamental, but it is not easy. And it must be taken into account the existence of a high level of variability in situations that may arise, as well as the existence of misunderstandings, misuses and difficulties in the communications of a company .

1. Lack of consistency

One of the factors that most influences that communication is really useful is the credibility of the issuer and the consideration shown to the recipient of the message. An example of this may be the existence of dissonances between what is said and what is said. is done, not keeping the issuers a way of acting consistent with the messages issued .

The latter can happen in any of the workers of the company, regardless of their hierarchical position or if they talk to a superior, subordinate or someone at the same level of the hierarchy, and generates serious repercussions for both the subject (depending on the situation could end up being considered badly or even dismissed) as for the organization (generating a lower level of trust in the person and in case of having a high position even in the organization).

In the same way and for example in the case of large companies with a large number of departments, if there are divergences between the figures of authority or reference within the company probably could generate a situation in which the worker does not really know what leadership should follow , something that can generate frustration and distrust.

Likewise, it is necessary to be very careful with the interpretability of the messages, since the existence of ambivalence can cause different departments or workers to come to interpret opposite things. What business communication seeks is precisely to ensure internal organization and coherence, so that unclear messages with different interpretations can cause uncertainty and doubts to appear with the recipients of the message.

2. Lack of emotional connection

Another problem can be found in the way communication occurs. For example, in some organizations there may be a difficulty in generating a sense of emotional attachment, which in workers may generate less commitment and productivity and in users a lack of interest and the search for other alternatives. It is necessary to value that everything that is done , and even what is not, is basically communicative.

Thus, the message itself is not only important, but also the way in which it is transmitted: it is not the same or offers the same sensations an email as a face-to-face meeting or the search for a real contact.

3. Not understanding the context

It should also be valued the adaptation to the current situation and social advances , as well as the particularities of the situation itself. For example, in an increasingly globalized society and where new technologies allow immediate communication with a large number of people at the same time, it may be necessary to analyze and invest in communication policies that take into account the power of networks and how to correctly transmit the desired information, in addition to assessing contact with potential customers from other regions of the world.

Likewise, it is also necessary to assess the company's own situation in order not to undertake more than it can cover, being necessary to take into account the situation of the company as a whole.

Another problem could be the content of the messages that are issued: it is possible that although the communication exists, it does not transmit or does not make understand the content that it would be necessary to transmit. It is possible that it focuses on rather supplementary aspects and obviates, for example, the orientation or objectives that a given post should have, or that they take for granted the existence of a knowledge that has never been made explicit .

4. Isolation and lack of communication

Finally, perhaps the most important problem that can be extrapolated from all the previous ones is the possibility that there is no real communication.

The clearest example is the stable and continuous use of monodirectional communication, which can generate a situation of stagnation and a lack of understanding of what happens in the organization itself. Fortunately, today it is the least used precisely because it is the least efficient and useful.

It is also possible that the different positions do not have the adequate mechanisms to get in touch even if their opinions were to be heard, there being fewer possibilities for feedback or even that different parts of the company do not have contact with each other. It is necessary to stimulate this interaction in an active way.

Bibliographic references:

  • Andrade, Horacio. (2005). Internal organizational communication: process, discipline and technique. Spain: Gesbiblo, S. L.
  • Brillouin, L. (2004). Science and Information Theory. Mineola, N.Y .: Dover.


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