Introduction to Business Communication NOTES

Topic One: Introduction to Business Communication

Defining Communication

  • Communication is the art and process of creating and sharing ideas. Effective communication depends on the richness of those ideas.
  • The word communication is derived from the Greek word ‘comunicare’ that is literally translated as ‘to make common’ or ‘to share’. This means that communication is essentially a form of interaction. Communication can therefore, be termed as the process of transmitting information in form of data, messages and instructions from one source to another.


Overall Purpose of Communication

  1. To Inform– e.g. through latest information such as news, papers and speeches.
  2. To educate– Passage of knowledge from the sender to the receiver.
  3. To persuade– convince/influence-so as to change the attitude of the receiver e.g preachers and politicians.
  4. To entertain-engage attention of audience


Purpose of Effective Communication in an Organization

  1. Enhancing decision making and problem solving.
  2. It brings about increased productivity.
  3. Clear and more streamlined work flow.
  4. Enhances professional image of the company.
  5. Ensures sound business relationships (company and customers).
  • Successful response/feedback is ensured through effective communication.


Topic Two: Communication Process

Elements of Communication

  1. Sender- Also known as the source/transmitter. This is anyone who wishes to convey an idea or concept to others, seek information, or express a thought or emotion.
  2. Message- information being forwarded or being sent
  3. Encoding- Process through which the sender puts the information being sent in an appropriate form such as text, pictures or symbols suitable to the receiver
  4. Channel/Medium- method used to deliver a message
  5. Receiver/Recipient- one who receives the message & attaches meaning to it.
  6. Decoding –converting encoded message into language and understanding it
  7. Feedback- is the desirable response of a receiver to a sender’s message
  8. Noise- Factors that interfere with the exchange of message

Roles of Sender in Communication Process

  1. Conceives message
  2. Encodes message
  3. Selects appropriate channel of communication

Roles of Receiver in Communication Process

  1. Decodes message
  2. Interprets message
  3. Sends back appropriate feedback


Communication Process Illustrated;

Choosing the means of Communication

The medium/channel chosen for communicating any message will depend on factors such as:

  1. Cost: consider how much the communication will cost
  2. Confidentiality: consider privacy e.g. a telephone call could be overheard
  3. Safety and security: should a special means of message delivery be considered?
  4. Urgency: choose the method that will produce the desired results in time
  5. Distance: is communication within the building, same town or outside the world?
  6. Written record: is there need for proof? E.g. confirmation of transactions, legal documents etc
  7. Resources: consider equipment and staff available
  8. Time of day: particularly important when communicating with overseas countries
  9. Recipient: consider who is receiving the message. Consider also the relationship between sender/receiver
  10. Influence: do you want to convey a certain impression?

Summary of Channel Communication Choices

Use Oral Channels when:

  • Your message is fairly simple
  • You need an immediate response
  • You don’t need a permanent record
  • You want to encourage interaction in problem solving or decision making
  • You need to read the recipients body language
  • You need to hear the tone of your recipient’s response
  • Your message has an emotional factor

Use written channels when:

  • Your message is fairly detailed or requires careful planning
  • You don’t need an immediate response
  • You need a permanent, written record
  • You have a big, widespread audience
  • You want to minimize the distortion that normally occurs when messages are passed orally from person to person
  • You don’t need immediate interaction with your audience
  • Your message has no emotional factor


Use electronic channels when:

  • Speed is important
  • Time zones differ
  • You are physically separated from your audience


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