Effective business communication plays a vital role in all aspects of business. It affects processes and efficiency in all departments of the organization.
If there’s poor communication, your business may encounter many unforeseen problems like delayed projects, disgruntled customers, and diminishing productivity. Read on and learn more!
Types of business communication
Internal upward communication
In internal upward communication, information flows from the lower levels of hierarchy to the upper levels. This includes feedback, reports, and surveys that employees use to deliver information to team leaders. Furthermore, employees can express their feelings, ideas, and requirements. Upward communication also helps the top management to know the changes to make to the business. For instance, a marketing report may include statistics such as social media management, website visitors, and total leads generated.
When a business allows subordinates to make their contribution, they are influenced to work more and hit their target. Internal upward communication can also help to create a good relationship with management. When bosses relate well with the other workers, there is a favorable working environment. And when it comes to decision making, the top management can be sure they will get enough information on a particular issue.
Internal downward communication
In internal downward communication, information flows from the top management to the subordinates. This allows managers to communicate organizational goals, procedures, policies, decisions, and orders. Downward communication can be in the form of manuals, electronic displays, notices, speeches, meetings, etc. An example of downward communication is sending a memo to employees explaining new regulations. But like any other communication in business, downward communication can be oral or written.
The oral method involves giving instructions to subordinates through telephonic or face-to-face conversation. Managers can also exchange information with subordinates in conferences, meetings, or lectures. The written method involves passing information through circulars, posters, bulletins, etc.
There are many benefits to this type of business communication. It helps to delegate authority and responsibility. Since business communication starts from a higher level, managers can delegate responsibility to the right persons. Apart from that, it helps to establish discipline in the organization. In any business, the top managers help in the development of strategies, policies, procedures, and plans.
Managers can also rely on downward communication in situations where they need analysis and explanations. Finally, it helps to create a good relationship in the business which motivates the employees.
Internal lateral communication
Lateral communication involves messaging, talking, and emailing coworkers in the office. It can also happen within departments to boost engagement and productivity. Picture this scenario. A fulfillment manager requests for clarification about a specific order via an office management system. Those in the same department can provide live updates on status reports. In any business setup, workers are encouraged to remain respectful to each other all the time.
External business communication
This is a form of business to business communication where businesses communicate with the outside world. The information can be passed to banks, insurance companies, suppliers, customers, and the general public. The main objective of external communication is to help businesses present a favorable image of the organization.
External business communication can also be used to maintain a strong relationship with society. While every organization should know what customers like, business to business communication can also help to increase sales of products/services.
Reasons why business communication is important
The way you communicate with customers or employees will determine whether you’ll stay in business or not. If you’re running a start-up or an established business, you must be a better communicator. Regardless of how it’s done, here are the reasons why communication is important in business.
1. Builds teamwork
If you want to inspire your workers to reach a common goal, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of communication in business. When you establish an open dialogue, employees will know when to help others or ask for help. Although there may be disagreements, it’s easier to work together when employees are on the same page.
2. Encourages innovation
Since innovation is a collaborative process, people must work together to create solutions to problems. You should encourage your employees to share suggestions on new topics and express their opinions. When an idea is shared, it can be reworked on.
3. Improves business performance
Effective communication in business improves performance. If you want to remain relevant, you must communicate your brand to customers. Besides that, you must establish meaningful business communication to ensure issues are addressed promptly. But how do you achieve this? Look for a leader who can communicate effectively to team members.
To improve business communication, you must have better customer service. If your team has problems with customer interaction, the problem should be addressed immediately.
4. Enhances interdepartmental communication
Business communication allows co-workers to communicate with each other effortlessly. Departments should talk about sales projections, new promotions, changes in goods and services, etc. For example, when the marketing department promotes a product or service they should communicate to the sales department. If you don’t involve the sales team, you may not end up achieving your business objectives.
5. Improves business relationship
Even if you’re a monopoly, you still have to communicate with other businesses for external business contracts. Also, you cannot ignore the importance of business to business communication when you need to form alliances with other businesses. And if your company forms a reputation, you increase the chances of forming business relationships with other entities. It’s time you embrace effective communication in business.
6. Helps to grow the customer base
Let’s face it: businesses rely on clients for survival. When you have a competent customer service team, you can attract new customers and retain the existing ones. For instance, you can use media to boost business communication to target customers. Make sure you understand their characteristics to help you determine how to connect to them.
7. Reduces employee turnover
When you have good business communication, employee turnover will be a thing of the past. You should look at the signals your employees are sending and then take a proactive approach silently. Other than that, you should keep your workers informed on what’s relevant to their jobs. Any irrelevant information can lead to frustration, disengagement, stress, and low employee retention.
8. Increases employee advocacy
It’s estimated that 45% of businesses that invest in employee advocacy, 15% get some kind of return. Employee advocacy is about changing how teams collaborate or the way business functions. To be on the safe side, make sure you provide up-to-date information on any changes in your organization.
9. Eliminates email overload
Business communication ensures employees use emails to communicate everything in the business. This may include task assignments, document distribution, communication with suppliers, and notices from the human resource department. You should ensure your business uses modern tools to filter the most important emails.
10. Reduces communication silos
When problems come up in your business, your employees should learn how to respond promptly. If they are struggling to communicate effectively, there could be a mixture of communication silos. With the right business communication channels, you can eliminate this challenge. Your goal should be to elevate speaking skills amongst your employees.
11. Enhances communication with remote workers
Does your company have a remote team? With the advancement of digital technologies, employees can remotely complete their work in the comfort of their homes. When there’s better internal business communication, you can get in touch with your workers and coordinate across time zones.
How to use technology to boost business communication
If your employees are not on the same page, the information can fall through cracks and projects are not completed on time. Thankfully, technology can help you run your business better. When it comes to improving your business communications, you must adapt to new technologies. Whether you run a small office or a large business, technology can improve your team’s overall productivity. Here are ways you can use technology to improve business communication.
Use a virtual phone system
A virtual phone system can improve communication. Take a moment and evaluate what your current business phone system looks like. While most businesses have been using the VoIP system to connect with their employees for decades, you need a system that can integrate everything into a centralized location. This is where the virtual phone system comes in. It can help you identify the telephone number businesses need and unify your phones in one platform.
But the greatest thing with this system is that you can manage all your calls and messages from the control panel. On the other hand, employees can monitor their voice mail from the dashboard and route calls to the right person.
All managers want to inspire their team and boost productivity. Sometimes, it can be difficult to get there. Smarp is the perfect kit to turn employees into brand ambassadors. It allows employees to participate in internal and external business communication. Moreover, it ensures employees are well informed when in the office or on the go. They can also position themselves as thought leaders in their fields. If you can deliver personalized content to your employees, you can increase profitability in the business. This is one of the most effective ways to communicate over the internet.
Embrace video conferencing
If you want to improve all facets of business communication, you can’t ignore video conferencing. Since it’s difficult to ensure employees for employees in remote areas to attend, video conferencing can be a great tool to work with. You can also meet with your other staff without leaving their desks. Of course, you can communicate with clients from different cities and continents.
No matter how small or big your business is, communication can help to boost productivity and employee satisfaction. Clearly, no business can succeed without effective internal and external business communication. Keep in mind business communication helps to open doors of opportunities that you otherwise never knew existed. It’s time you take a step back and embrace the importance of communication in business.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.