Education, intellect and professionalism are the qualities that have always been highly valued. However, nowadays they are not as sufficient as they used to be a decade ago, especially when it comes to taking a rightful place in a team or succeeding in a career. It is becoming more popular to replace them with personal qualities of people, their cultural level, spiritual development, manners and, of course, ability to build relationships. This paper will analyze the notion of communication and its influence on the sphere of business.
The purpose of this research paper is to single out various aspects of an image of a successful person engaged in the business activities. Since many people nowadays suffer from failures in their career paths, it is important to eliminate one possible reason for such a negative outcome. It is commonly known as inexperience in expressing thoughts and ideas, which is likely to hinder establishing proper relationships between people. However, it is possible to avoid such problems by keeping in mind some general aspects of effective communication.
The Notion of Common and Business Communication
To start with, common communication is a complicated multidisciplinary process used for establishment and development of relationships between people, which is caused by the need of joint efforts and includes information exchange, formulation of a unified interaction strategy, perception and understanding of other people. It is an inevitable process in the sphere of economic, legal, diplomatic, commercial, administrative and other professional kinds of relationships (Team FME, 2013).
Effective communication in business is a step to the peak of management success and professional self-realization. Success in business depends on the ability to reach well-established communication and cooperation with employees, clients, partners, journalists, state authorities and many other influential people. Effective communication skills are likely to guarantee the biggest influence and participation of people at all steps of business organization (Wertheim, 2008).
Many people are nowadays convinced that that the main instrument of successful businessmen is communication. To reach business goals they often have to talk to different types of people, who can sometimes be really hard to talk to. Nevertheless, the results of such communication have a great impact on their financial abilities and business activities. For example, Tomas Murphy, the president of General Motors Company once said that one of the most common determiners both in business and management is people and relationships with them.
In general, business communication is different from so called informal communication as it involves setting goals and particular tasks, each of which requires a solution. In business communication it is unacceptable to stop cooperation with a partner unless any of the parties wants to incur losses. To the contrary, an ordinary friendly communication does not often require setting goals and can be terminated as desired by any of the parties at any time (Team FME, 2013).
One must agree that improper communication within a company can lead to several major negative outcomes. They include demotivation of employees and subordinates, managerial errors when making decision, loss of control when dealing with tough and stressful situations, negligent attitude of personnel towards reaching high results, tendency to imitate team building activity while idling at the workplace in reality, constant changes of staff and even chronic fatigue syndrome and burnout (Wertheim, 2008).
To avoid the above-mentioned outcomes people should learn how to behave to make a well-deserved impression on their opponents. As far back as the 1930s Dale Carnegie, an American writer and lecturer mentioned that fifteen percent of people’s progress in financial affairs or even in engineering depend on their professional skills, and the rest eighty percent are determined by their ability to talk to people. As a contribution to his courses in self-improvement, public speaking and interpersonal skills, he distinguished some factors that help build business communication. They include pedagogic factor (education, general level of culture, foreign language skills, vocabulary), psychological (existence of different complexes, fears, personal enmity, low motivation in communication), ethical (behavior, appearance, clothes, hairstyle, accessories), legal (legal base skills as well as customs and traditions), organizational (place and time of meeting, arriving late or expending time for talking, improper conditions for communication such as noise, vibration, defects of illumination), physiological (change of time zone and climate, functional pathology) (Sethi & Baloch, n.d.).
Business communication is the most favorable and often the only opportunity to convince a partner of sufficiency of one’s position and make him or her agree and support it. Therefore, one of the most crucial tasks of business communication is to encourage a partner to accept specific suggestions. Based on the above-mentioned statements it is possible to distinguish a range of functions that business communication fulfills. They include mutual communication of employees from one business sphere, cooperative search, advance and development of working ideas and intentions, control and coordination of already started business events, support of business contacts and stimulation of business activity (Wertheim, 2008).
Stages of Business Communication
There are several stages of business communication. The first one is called introduction. Not everyone knows how to start a conversation properly. However, it is the core of successful business negotiations. The safest strategy is to break tension, which can make it possible to come into closer contact with the partner. It is enough to say a few sympathetic words to achieve results. Sometimes even a proper joke, making the partner smile or laugh, can help break the ice and create calm and favorable atmosphere for solving problems. There is also another way to start a business conversation. It implies using the method of direct approach, which is also called rational and “cold”. For instance, conversation starts with mentioning the reasons for a meeting and then there is a quick switch to main topic of business conversation. It is mostly suitable for short and less important meetings (Richards, n.d.).
The next stage of business communication is informing the audience. It includes data transfer, which is required to be mentioned during the meeting. It must be short, clear, professionally correct and, if possible, visual. The next and the most important stage of business conversation is provision of reasons for suggested statements. This stage usually forms a preliminary opinion and helps each party choose its position. By means of arguments it is possible to change position or opinion of the partner fully or partially, mitigate contradictions and consider statement and facts suggested by partners (Richards, n.d.).
The last stage of business communication is making conclusions. This means it is necessary to finish the conversation in a way suitable for both parties. In general, there can be two ways to finish a conversation: positive and negative. When the conversation ends in a positive way, both parties are satisfied with the decisions they made. However, it may happen that it is difficult for them to find a proper solution within one meeting. Then, in most cases such people should meet once again and try to solve the issue in a positive way. As soon as they succeeded, it is polite to thank the partner, congratulate with a reasonable solution and say goodbye (Richards, n.d.).
Effective Communication Skills
There have always existed the questions of effectiveness of communication in business environment. There is an old saying that points out that effectiveness of communication depends not on what people say, but on how they say it. Communication is a tool that distinguishes a poor leader from a successful one. Having effective communication skills is the core of effective leadership. Therefore, the researchers have distinguished a wide range of factors that help business communication be successful. The first one is professional skills, which give an opportunity for realization of high objectiveness, authenticity and profundity of information as well as situational awareness. The second one is known as clarity. It is commonly used to help connect facts and details, avoid ambiguity, misunderstanding or understatement. The third factor is application of visual aids. It is recommended to use a maximum amount of illustrative materials (documents, information sources, tables, schemes etc), common associations and parallels as they reduce abstraction in information presentation.
Moreover, it is important not to forget about constant focus, which is irreplaceable for those who want to bear in mind the main ideas of conversation and try to present them to the partner in any way possible. What is more, it is required to increase conversation intensity on its way to the end, so that the conclusion of the meeting or negotiation is obvious. And it is crucial to repeat some basic statements and opinions as it helps the partner perceive information faster. A limit of information transfer is a useful factor too. A French writer and sophist Voltaire once said that the secret of being boring is to keep tell everything at once. In other words, it is recommended to present several pieces of information at once, otherwise a listener may lose track of events.
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Furthermore, it is necessary to keep an eye on “intensity” of arguments. It means that in the process of conversation there should be “rises”, when partner’s concentration is of higher value, interchanged with “falls”, which are used to give the partner time to capture the information. The last but not least factor is humor and irony. These aspects may seem strange for business communication at first. However, it has been proved that they are appropriate in certain situations, especially when one needs to cheer up partners and prepare them for an unpleasant course of conversation (Belonwu, 2013).
There can be several types of attitudes to business communication, which are important to distinguish in order to understand the other person better. Attitudes can be based on behavior, manners, emotions and feelings towards the subject of communication. The first type of attitude is passive. This means the other person keeps silent and agrees with every suggested statement or solution, even if he or she is against it. Another attitude is called passive aggressive. People with such attitude are recognizable due to their body language or tone of voice they use to gain control over some people or situations. Another type of attitude is known as aggressive one. This type of behavior is very disruptive and destructive. A person in most cases is neither listening to nor acknowledging the other person, and their body language often seems threatening. The last type of attitude is assertive. It is a kind of attitude where both parties need to adapt to the environment in order to have successful communication. This attitude wants people to feel comfortable when they express themselves, so other people can listen to them (Team FME, 2013).
All in all, taking into consideration everything that has been mentioned above, one must pay attention to people that he or she is having business communication with, especially to his or her reaction, behavior and attitude towards the speaker. It is important not to forget to be open and confident when it comes to talking about business affairs since people often treat others the way they present themselves .