• Unit 3: Business Communication

    Effective communication is necessary to relate the firm's goals and strategy to employees to ensure it can execute the strategy. The better the communication, the better people perform and produce. Communication affects relationships and teamwork. It also helps to facilitate innovation. When managers communicate effectively, they can provide constructive feedback and build good relationships. This unit explores how effective business communication benefits a company's growth.

    Completing this unit should take you approximately 10 hours.

    • 3.1: Sending the Right Message

      The first job of any communicator is to determine who the audience is and what their needs are. Sometimes we do this unconsciously, such as by correcting our children. However, this step should be conscious in the workplace, especially among managers and leaders. The process includes identifying the audience and adapting the message to their interests, needs, knowledge, level of understanding, attitudes, and beliefs. Only after the audience is analyzed should the message be developed. This section will explore the process of audience analysis.

    • 3.2: Communicating with Followers

      The approach we take with followers is different from the one we take with colleagues or executive managers. We must remember that the role of manager and leader may change depending on the task. For example, when project teams are formed, while there may be a "manager" on the team (meaning one who has the formal designation of manager with authority at the firm), that may not be the manager or leader on that particular project team. We need to be able to adjust our communication style based on the circumstances. However, once we have determined that we are communicating with followers, the material in this section will help you establish effective communication skills.
    • 3.3: Communicating with Leaders

      Learning how to communicate with senior executives is as important as communicating with followers. Leaders who are in positions above you will be most focused on the company's strategic goals and how you are helping them achieve them. However, it is important to have a good relationship with your boss as you hope your subordinates have with you. This section addresses the context in which those relationships occur and how you can foster the relationship with your boss.
    • 3.4: Encoding and Messaging

      This section will address the purpose and quality of effective written and oral communication. Part of the sender's job in communicating is to encode the message. This is not using code but formatting the message to ensure it effectively comes through. So how do we do that? Even if we think we are communicating – are there ways we can improve? What impression are we leaving with people when they read or listen to our communications, and is that the impression we want them to have? Good communication can increase productivity and reduce miscommunications leading to confusion and conflict. Common writing errors (which may be fine when we text friends, such as "their" versus "there") are unprofessional in the workplace. When organizations decide who to promote, they will consider good communicators first. Think about your communication skills and encoding messages when communicating in the workplace.
    • 3.5: Written Communication

      Written communications have certain structures depending on their purpose. This section will familiarize you with the types of written communications and some common structures to achieve your purpose. Furthermore, the section will focus on writing for business rather than other writings, such as casual communications with friends or writing for literary purposes. Writing to specific audiences in business will also be explored in more depth in future sections.
    • 3.6: Language and Presentations

      We communicate at work orally every day. We speak to our colleagues, our bosses, and our subordinates. Of course, we would like to think we do it well and communicate clearly. Active listening is critical to success in oral communication. We will also need to make formal presentations, communicate with clients, or make a sale. A formal presentation can be intimidating, but it does not need to be. This section will help you polish your oral presentation skills and communication skills in the workplace.
    • 3.7: Nonverbal Communication

      As much as the messages we are trying to convey, how we convey them matters. We have all been in a situation where someone said one thing, but their demeanor told us something else. Nonverbal communication involves our expressions, the use of our entire body, and timing. This section will help you understand how nonverbal communication affects the message you are delivering.
    • 3.8: Digital Communication

      Communicating an information signal over space requires some form of pathway or medium, such as a digital bitstream. This section describes various communication methods commonly used in business.

      Suffice it to say that firms use their websites and social media to engage with their customers and stakeholders. This section will focus on using digital communications in the workplace as part of managing people and being managed.
    • 3.9: Business Communication

      Not all business communications are between you and your subordinates, colleagues, or superiors. Some communications are with other stakeholders or customers. This section provides an overview of all types of business communications, including those related to project management.

    • 3.10: Receiver Analysis and Decoding

      When preparing business communication, you should consider the audience's experiences and elements that could influence how they receive and interpret the message. For example: Is your communication a follow-up of a previous message? Is your audience familiar with your topic and interested in your message? This section explores factors to consider to ensure that your communication is properly received.

    • 3.11: Perception

      Since we have identified the audience and its needs, we need to comprehend how our audience will receive the message we are sending. The intended audience receives our message through their lens of perception. Thus, it is important to understand the factors that affect perception. Perception can distort the message we are trying to send.

    • 3.12: Organizing Presentations for the Receiver

      Audiences are influenced by how information is organized. We all have ways to receive information and weigh what information to retain. In writing and speaking, organization refers to how we arrange the information we send. How we organize information depends on the type of message we are sending. For example, we will organize a technical report differently than a sales presentation which will be different from a legal memorandum.

      Despite the differences in the types of information presented, there are some rules of organization that will help the flow in an orderly manner. Keeping the structure organized will reduce confusion and keep the audience's interest. The principle of organization also applies to cohesion within the document. This section will look at the general principles of organization, including cause/effect, chronological, comparison, emphatic order, and general to specific order. We will also consider using headings/subheadings, effective transitions, and building the reader's expectations (or, conversely, asking for action).
    • Study Guide: Unit 3

      We recommend reviewing this Study Guide before taking the Unit 3 Assessment.

    • Unit 3 Assessment

      • Receive a grade