Communicate in a Business Environment
1. Understand the purpose of planning communication
1.1 Explain the benefits of knowing the purpose of communication The purpose of communication is to allow the exchange of information, ideas, concepts, emotions, thoughts and opinions. The benefit of knowing this is so you can use communication as a tool, it is needed to be able to learn, teach and explain things to others. We communicate in a Business Environment to maintain effective and efficient ways of working and to listen to and try to solve each others problems.
1.2 Explain the reasons for knowing the audience to whom communications are presented By knowing who your audience is it is easier to adapt your communication appropriately. Your tone and format will differ depending on who is receiving the communication as will your body language, for example when talking amongst friends, you are likely to talk informally with more relaxed body language whereas when talking to a senior manager you would put more thought into what you were saying and the words you choose as well as standing up straight, smiling etc.
The reasons we change the way we communicate to different audiences is to give off the right impression and to get what you want to say across appropriately, effectively and efficiently. 1.3 Explain the purpose of knowing the intended outcomes of communications Knowing the intended outcomes of communications helps inform you if the information you provided was satisfactory and up to the right standard or if they needed more from you.
1.4 Describe different methods of communication and when to use them There are five different methods of communication; verbal, non verbal, informal, formal and body language.
Verbal communication is the act of conveying thoughts, feelings and ideas through the use of speech. It is the most effective type of communication
and should be used when an immediate response is needed, which can be sought face to face or over the phone. Verbal is also a preferred method when information is confidential. Non-Verbal
This type of communication is one that does not involve speech. Examples of non-verbal communications are written, facial expressions, gestures and sign language. Written communication can be used to have a hard copy/record of an agreement or conversation. Facial expressions and gestures can be very helpful to portray your feelings and helps you determine if the person you are speaking to understands what you’re saying.
Informal communication can come in many forms, a face to face chat, phone call, text, e-mail, post it note or an informal meeting for a catch up. This is used day in day out amongst friends and colleagues. This is usually used when the people communicating know each other; an example of this would be starting an e-mail with “Hi ______” rather than “Dear Mr. _______”.
Formal communication is usually used when communicating with customers/clients depending on the relationship held with them or when procedures and orders are being followed. This is, in most cases, the format used automatically when communicating in business with people you do not know.
Body language is the most honest method of communication; it can be relied on by the hard of hearing or talking to help them get their point across and understand others. It helps people judge who they think is approachable and can assist when there is a language barrier.
2. Understand how to communicate in writing
2.1 Identify relevant sources of information that may be used when preparing written communication Sources of information can be classed as Primary, Secondary and Tertiary.
When information is primarily sourced it is gathered by a person directly in contact with the event or incident. These are the authentic facts that haven’t undergone any changes. Examples of these include: Diaries
A secondary source of information is interpreted or analysed data of the primary source. Examples of these include: Books
Magazine and newspaper articles
Tertiary sources consist of information which is a combination of primary and secondary sources. Examples of these include: Manuals
2.2 Describe the communication principles for using electronic forms of written communication in a business environment. Electronic forms of data or communication are e-mails, faxes etc. When choosing electronic communications for exchange of information, you should think carefully to decide which the best and most efficient method of communication is.
2.3 Explain different styles and tones of language and situations when they may be used for written communications. Colloquial, casual, and formal writing are different styles of writing that have their own expectations and outcomes. The style of writing also depends on the purpose of what is intended to say, how it is intended to say, what the document will be used for and the audience.
Colloquial is an informal, conversational style of writing. Casual language is something that we use to communicate with family and close friends. It uses informal words that we use normally on a daily basis.
Formal language is used in business communications. It depends on the words you use, the way you use and relates to your role. You need to be personally well presented and the language has formal words with proper syntax, good vocabulary and excellent grammar which are more important.
2.4 Explain the reasons for selecting and using language that suits the purpose of written communication. The purpose of written communication is to contact people in a more professional way. See 1.4 under Formal.
2.5 Describe the ways of organising, structuring and presenting written information so it meets the needs of different audiences. When organising, structuring and presenting written information we have to bear in mind the following. Prepare all the documents for presentation depending on what has to be delivered. Keep documents in the correct order, so that the communication goes in a proper flow without any confusions and errors.
While presenting, be clear in what you talk stating the objectives. Give an introduction on what you are going to present, why you are writing to them, why the audience is receiving the written communication. Present it step by step clearly using proper resources where needed. In the end, close it down making clear that all objectives were covered. Inform the audience what will happen next and what actions have to be implemented.
2.6 Describe ways of checking for the accuracy of content in written information. Any written communication has to be free of spelling and grammatical errors. It also has to be in the right and professional format. So the following have to be checked or considered before the document is finalised to be sent out. Check the points written down:
Whatever we write has to be accurate, otherwise it will have disastrous effects and can even ruin the reputation of the organisation, and the organisation can itself get into trouble. So all details have to be double checked for example dates, names, statistics, events, discussions, actions and other facts. If you are unsure of anything, make sure you check with knowledgeable or experienced people and update the written document.
2. Spell check and Grammar check:
Spell-check is an option available to easily correct typo errors. Sometimes it will not be 100% accurate, because if you had typed a word instead of another, then spell check will not be able to trace it. So it is always best to check through the document twice before sending it out.
3. Use a Template:
Usually every organisation has a different style for documents they produce. They will all be available as templates which one can use to easily input data. In case there isn’t a template available, you should research through to find the correct style for the document that you produce depending on needs, department and organisation and follow the style guide to produce the document. As an organisation, documents have to be produced in a standard and professional format.
4. Have someone else check your work:
Another way to ensure accuracy is to have your document read by another reader. Sometimes when we read through our own work, minor or sometimes major errors can be hard to detect. Grammatical, punctuation and style errors can be picked up if the reader is an experienced person.
2.7 Explain the purpose of accurate use of grammar, punctuation and spelling.
The main purpose in the correct use of grammar, punctuation and spelling is ensuring the receiver of the information reads it the way it was intended. Addition to this when given a task to do, your employer expects you to do it perfectly. When a document has inaccuracies, readers tend to distrust everything, including the statistics, opinions, and facts. For progression in the company you need to ensure you carry out all tasks to a certain
2.8 Explain what is meant by plain English, and why it is used. Plain English is plain language used for communication that emphasise clarity and avoids technical language. Plain English is used so that what you try to communicate is easily understood by everyone and is appropriate to their reading skills and knowledge.
2.9 Explain the purpose of proofreading and checking written work. Any work that is written has to be proofread and checked especially if it is important written work. The purpose of doing so is to avoid errors and appearing unprofessional. See 2.6 for the purpose of checking work.
2.10 Explain the purpose of recognising work that is important and work that is urgent. Importance and urgency are two different things. When something is urgent, you rush to do it. When something is important, you prioritise it. Urgent tasks are not necessarily complicated, so I try to finish off the urgent ones quickly and move on to the important ones. Important tasks should be dealt with carefully and have time put into them and be thoroughly checked on completion.
2.11 Describe organisational procedures for saving and filing written communications. Every organisation has its own policies and procedures for saving and filing documents. Documents with similar information are filed together for ease of accessibility when necessary. Documents that need to be shared with other departments and other staff are always stored on shared drives. You should be very particular about the storage and destroying of confidential information. Records may be kept as paper files, or electronically in shared drives, databases, or document management systems.
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