What are some key points to consider when striving for effective communication?
Effective business communication starts with a shared language (“code” in communications jargon). The sender and the receivers must share a vocabulary; this can be quite technical and precise in the use of business or contractual terms, legal definitions, etc. As in all communications models, interference (“static”) must be eliminated – in the business world, this means eliminating human and technological interruption, phone calls, etc. when the communication is live and ongoing. Much of business communication takes place in written form – contracts, proposals, sales pitches, advertising, etc. In these cases the two parties must recognize and acknowledge any rhetorical nuances in the wording. Next, the business world depends on mutual avoidance of “sharp practice” – hidden agendas, partially revealed facts, time-sensitive offers, etc. This requires a communications style that is virtually free from equivocation or ambiguity. Another area of business communication often ignored is “visual rhetoric,” the element of business arrangements affected by the “look” of the communication. A glaring example would be using a letterhead that misrepresented the company’s real nature (a recent example was a lawyer doing business alone, but with “and Associates” on his letterhead). Finally, as in all good communication, the system must incorporate a feedback loop that ensures both parties mean the same thing. Of course, the initializer of the communication must thoroughly know the intended recipient, so that the message is effective.