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Impotance of Communication in Business

Impotance of Communication in Business

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Published by Farry Dennis

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Published by: Farry Dennis on May 10, 2011
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11/04/2012

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LISTEN UP
Why Good CommunicationIs Good Business
By Marty Blalock Why is communication important to business?Couldn’t we just produce graduates skilled atcrunching numbers?Good communication matters because businessorganizations are made up of people. As Robert Kent, former dean of Harvard Business School has said, “In business,communication is everything.”Research spanning several decades has consistently ranked communication skills as crucial for managers. Typically, managers spend 75 to 80 percent of their time engaged in some form of written or oral communication. Although often termed a “soft” skill, communication in a business organization provides the critical link between core functions. Let’s examine threereasons why good communication is important to individuals and their organizations.
Reason 1. Ineffective communication is very expensive.
Communication in a business organization provides the critical link  between core functions.The National Commission on Writing estimates that American businesses spend $3.1 billionannually just training people to write. The Commission surveyed 120 human resource directorsin companies affiliated with the Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officersfrom U.S. corporations.According to the report of the National Commission on Writing:
People who cannot write and communicate clearly will not be hired, and if alreadyworking, are unlikely to last long enough to be considered for promotion.
Eighty percent or more of the companies in the services and the finance, insurance andreal estate sectors—the corporations with greatest employment growth potential—assesswriting during hiring.
Two-thirds of salaried employees in large American companies have some writingresponsibility.
More than 40 percent of responding firms offer or require training for salaried employeeswith writing deficiencies.
 
Tips for Communication
• Whether writing or speaking, consider your objectives. What do you want your listenersor readers to remember or do? To achieve an objective, you need to be able to articulateit.• Consider your audience. How receptive will it be? If you anticipate positive reception of your message, you can be more direct.• Consider your credibility in relation to your audience. Also, consider the organizationalenvironment. Is it thick or flat, centralized or decentralized? Each will havecommunication implications.• How can you motivate others? Benefits are always your best bet. And if you canestablish common ground, especially at the opening of a message, you can often makeyour audiencemore receptive.• Think carefully about channel choice, about the advantages and disadvantages of your choice, and the preferred channels of your audience.• If you want to have a permanent record or need to convey complex information, use achannel that involves writing. If your message is sensitive, email may not be the bestchoice; the immediacy of face-to-face communication can be preferable, especially whenyou would prefer not to have a written record.Adapted from research on communication strategy by Mary Munter of the Tuck Schoolat Dartmouth and Jane Thomas of the University of Michigan.In a New York Times article about the Commission’s findings, Bob Kerrey, president of  New School University in New York and chair of the National Commission on Writing, put it this way: “Writing is both a ‘marker’ of high-skill, high-wage, professional work and a ‘gatekeeper’ with clear equity implications. People unable to express themselvesclearly in writing limit their opportunities for professional, salaried employment.” Theability to communicate was rated as the most important factor in making a manager “promotable” by subscribers to Harvard Business Review.
Reason 2. The changing environment and increasingcomplexity of the 21st century workplace makecommunication even more important.
Flatter organizations, a more diverse employee base and greater use of teams have all madecommunication essential to organizational success. Flatter organizations mean managers mustcommunicate with many people over whom they may have no formal control. Even with their 
 
own employees, the days when a manager can just order people around are finished. Theautocratic management model of past generations is increasingly being replaced by participatorymanagement in which communication is the key to build trust, promote understanding andempower and motivate others.Because the domestic workforce is growing more diverse, an organization can no longer assumeits employee constituencies are homogeneous. Employees reflect differences in age, ethnicheritage, race, physical abilities, gender and sexual orientation. Diversity is not just a matter of social responsibility; it is also an economic issue. Companies are realizing the advantage of making full use of the creativity, talents, experiences and perspectives of a diverse employee base.Teams are the modus operandi in the 21st century workplace. In a recent survey of Fortune 1000companies, 83 percent reported that their firms use teams; teams are all about communication.The collaboration that allows organizations to capitalize on the creative potential of a diverseworkforce depends on communication.
Reason 3. The world’s economy is becoming increasinglyglobal.
By the end of the 20th century, 80 percent of U.S. products were competing in internationalmarkets. The direct investment of foreign-based companies grew from $9 trillion in 1966 tomore than $300 trillion in 2002. Many products we assume are American, such as Purina DogChow and KitKat candy bars, are made overseas. Brands we may think are international, GreyPoupon mustard, Michelin tires and Evian water, are made in the United States.
What We Have Here…Is a Failure to Communicate?
Does business language have to be dull? And full of jargon? And generally mind-numbing?Brian Fugere, Chelsea Hardaway and Joan Warshawsky don’t think so. In 2003, the three former consultants at Deloitte Consulting released a software program called Bullfighter . It includes a “jargon database” and “Bull Composite Index calculator” that allow you to measure just how badyour writing is.Better yet, it has a feature that allows you to copy and paste any awful office memo that crossesyour electronic inbox, rate it for readability—or lack thereof—and email the rating anonymouslyto the transgressor.

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