Business Communications Skills

Interpersonal Communication Skills

Conceptual Model

Communication is a two-way process in which people transmit (send) and receive;

  • ideas
  • information
  • opinions or
  • emotions.

These must be interpreted and reacted on, normally through feedback before the communication process is completed. In the world of business, the aim should be to develop communication patterns, between individuals and groups, that are;

  • meaningful
  • direct
  • open, and
  • honest.

A manager conveys information and instructions through communication, either written or verbal. It is therefore a vital link between the manager and his or her team and effective communication is the key to good management. Yet, in reality, it is a very poor link.

We have quoted Drucker above on this issue. If you still have any doubts, just consider the results (Warner (1981)) of two surveys on this subject. According to the first survey, we are all being constantly bombarded with messages, and of around 2000 a day, we will only remember some 65 - hardly a good average.

The other and completely independent survey confirms this very low rate of retention, but goes a step further in looking at the retention for the various means of communication:

  • Reading 10% retention
  • Hearing 20% retention
  • Seeing 30% retention
  • Hearing and seeing 50% retention

This study provides a very useful clue to effective communication, and confirms that audio-visual techniques are much better than just audio or visual. Also that writing / reading messages is the least effective way to communicate. There are broadly four components of any communication:

  • communicator;
  • medium;
  • message; and
  • recipient.

But we tend to focus attention on only one of the four, the message. The other three components are usually ignored and this leads to a complete breakdown in communications. In the case of international business communications there are additional factors such as language barriers and cultural differences. These can further complicate the picture by distorting the message

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