What is Business Communication?
Business communications refer to any process where a representative or employee of a company is relaying information to either another employee or an outside entity. Even if you’ve never heard of business communications before, there is a good chance that you’ve engaged in it at some point over your career. Emails you send to coworkers, presentations you give to shareholders, and campaigns you run for customers are all examples of business communications. Effective business communications are essential for the success and growth of any organization.
Types of Communication
In total, there are four types of business communication. The two major categories of business communications are external and internal communication with the latter being split into 3 different subcategories.
Internal Upward Communication
Internal Upward communication is internal communication where information is being transferred up the chain of command. In this type of communication, a subordinate worker relays information to a manager or senior leadership. Common examples of internal upward communication within a business include survey results, business reports, and deliverables presentations.
Internal Downward Communication
Internal downward communication is the exact opposite of internal upward communication. With internal downward communication, a manager or member of senior leadership is communicating information to a subordinate. Common examples of internal downward communication within a business include training sessions, assigning workers tasks, and performance reports.
Internal Lateral Communication
Internal lateral communication is when information is shared laterally in a company between two peers of the same level. Anytime a manager communicates with another manager, or a worker communicates with a peer, it is considered internal lateral communication. This is likely the most common form of internal business communication because of how often peers interact within a brand. Common examples of internal latera communication are collaborative email with peers, meetings and brainstorming sessions, and even small talk while at the water tank.
External communication is when a representative or employee of a company communicates with any entity outside of the company on the brand’s behalf. This is the broadest category of business communication because of the number of people your company has the ability to interact with. Any ads you run, marketing emails you send, promotional messages you tweet, or media interviews you give are all considered external business communication. External communications are generally run by a business’s public relations or marketing department.
Tips for Internal Communication
Review Your Company Goals
Reviewing your goals is an important step of any business venture, but unfortunately, plenty of companies don’t review their communication goals. Reviewing your internal communications goals is an important step in creating a strong workplace culture. Additionally, when reviewing your internal communications goals, you have the opportunity to revise these goals or add entirely new goals.
Invest in an Instant Messaging Tool
Business communications happen fast, and employees need to be able to keep up with the pace. This is why it is important to invest in an instant messaging tool for your business. Emails and scheduled meetings are important communication tools, but they each have drawbacks. Email chains can become cluttered messes of information and scheduled meetings only support communication for a set amount of time. With instant messaging, communication happens quickly and in an organized fashion. Instant messaging tools display messages similar to how a text conversation would look, making it easy to communicate effectively in groups.
Let Employees Share Their Voice
In order for effective internal communication to take place, employees need to feel comfortable sharing their voices. If workers don’t feel that their thoughts and opinions are respected by upper management, then it is unlikely that they’ll make creative recommendations or ask for the tools they need to effectively do their job. Let’s take the hypothetical example of a warehouse that is handling shipping and order fulfillment for an eCommerce enterprise. The employees running the warehouse might have valuable insights on how to improve the company’s logistics, but they won’t share those insights unless they feel respected.
Create a Regular Company Newsletter
One of the most important aspects of effective business communication is consistency. The more consistent your communication efforts are the more your peers will begin to engage with them. An easy way of maintaining regular internal communications is to start a company newsletter. Even a simple weekly informative email will go a long way in ensuring that everyone is on the same page. Company newsletters also allow you to build a strong company culture by giving you the opportunity to focus on human events like birthdays, accolades, and other achievements.
Tips for External Communication
Content marketing is one of the most common forms of external business communication because of how easy and effective it is. With content marketing, your company produces video or written content that is informative, entertaining, or interesting to consumers on the internet. This form of external communication is effective for two reasons. Firstly, content marketing allows a company to engage with its audience of potential customers. Secondly, content marketing improves a website’s SEO and increases its amount of organic traffic.
Additionally, content marketing allows you to make your products more relatable and understandable. This is especially true if your company offers a complicated product or service. For instance, companies that maintain shipping APIs can clearly explain the benefits of their product in a way that is easy to understand.
Engage with Social Media
Social media is an unavoidable part of our lives in the digital world. Millions of people across the globe are connected by social media, but Instagram isn’t just for individuals. These days, businesses of every kind have social media programs that are used to promote their products. One of the major benefits of social media is the fact that it allows for two-way communication. A company can make a promotional tweet, and an individual customer can respond directly to the business. This allows your company to build real relationships with its audience.
Have a Unique Voice
With so many companies battling for the attention of consumers on the internet, it can be difficult to set yourself apart. This is why it’s important for your brand to develop a unique voice. Giving your brand a personality will change the way potential customers perceive your brand. This gives you the edge in marketing campaigns and effective external business communication.