Introduction to Communication

Why we study business communication?

You may say that communication is important and that you spend a lot of time doing it. But you’re pretty good at communicating. After all you talk to people, write notes, read books, get along with other people, and make myself understood already. Why should you study communication?”

The apparent simplicity of communication is deceptive. Just because we all communicate every day does not make us good communicators. Just because some aspects of effective communication are based on common sense does not mean common sense alone is enough. Skilled communicators draw on an extensive and complex body of knowledge, including semantics (the study of word choice), linguistics (the study of language), rhetoric (the study of writing and speaking effectively), psychology, sociology, graphic design, and even computer science. You will explore and apply the scholarship and research from all of these fields in your study of communication.

“Why then,” you may well ask finally, “study business communication specifically? Communication is communication: I’ve taken plenty of English courses and communicated in every one of my other courses.”

Good communication does, in fact, cross disciplines: correct grammar and audible speaking, for example, are as necessary in a geography class as they are in a business communication class. There are, however, at least five ways in which what you will learn in this class differs from what you have learned, or will learn, in your other classes. First, the subject matter is different: here you will get a chance to practice communicating with concepts and techniques from areas such as accounting, finance, and marketing. Secondly the forms are also different: you will, for example, practice writing memos, letters and business reports – not just term papers, exams and essays. Thirdly, in this class you will have a chance to practice your oral presentation skills, which – according to various studies – you will probably be using extensively in the business world. Fourthly, you may learn a slightly different style: in general, business communication is more objective, systematic, and concise than creative or personal communication. Finally, perhaps the most important difference is that, you will learn to persuade people to accomplish your desired results.

What is communication?

I have been discussing how important communication will be for your success in business. What you might ask, what the term communication mean? It is certainly hard to define because it has come to mean practically anything.

Definition of Communication

The word communication means the act or process of giving or exchanging of information, signals, or messages as by talk, gestures, or writing. Technically speaking, in the act of communication, we make opinions, feelings, information, etc known or understood by others through speech, writing or bodily movement.

Why do we communicate?

The purpose of any given communication may be:

a) to initiate some action;

b) to impart information, ideas, attitudes, beliefs or feelings; and /or

c) to establish, acknowledge or maintain links or relations with other people

Initiating Action

Initiating action may be achieved by two basic categories of communication.

Expressing needs and requirements.

This can range from a baby’s cry – or even the bleep of an alarm clock – to an adult’s more precious expression of needs and wants. In a business organization, it would include briefings, instructions and procedure manuals. This will only be effective where the other person is willing to satisfy the needs.

Persuading and motivating others

It means to carry out the desired course of action” in other words, giving them a reason (other than one’s own want or need) to perform that action. Persuasion of this kind is likely to be a major element in marketing and sales: a sales reply cannot simply ask a customer to buy the product because she, the sale rep, needs a success. She must show that there are benefits to the consumer, which will make the purchase worthwhile.

Imparting Information

Imparting information, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and feelings may have any number of specific purposes.

· Creating awareness

· Creating understanding

· Persuading others

· Influencing others

Information gathering is a constant activity of human beings. We receive a great deal of data and information in our daily lives, only some of which we seek or consciously absorb. Think about it: news bulletins, books, bank statements, business information, gossip, thing people tell you, things you ask them. This list is endless.

Remember that other people may be seeking information in the messages you ‘send’ (and in the tone of your voice and other indications of what is ‘between the lines’). This information may or may not be something you wish to communicate: you will need to be aware of it before your listener/reader is.

Establishing relations

Establishing, acknowledging and maintaining relations with other people is a vital function of communication.


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