Business Communication and Intercultural Aspects

Introduction

According to Shrivastava (2012), communication is defined as the process of transferring information from one person to another. Communication can be written, verbal, or non-verbal. Effective business communication improves productivity, efficiency, and minimizes errors. This paper discusses some aspects of communication and how they are relevant to business today.

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Effective communication norms in a business setting

Business communications need to be clear, concise, and objective. Knowledge of information to be communicated, how it should be communicated, and communication format is important as it would make the message brief, clear, and purposeful. Business communication should not involve lots of jargon or difficult words that could be misinterpreted. The message should also be consistent, complete, and relevant.

The theme of business communication should be consistent to eliminate confusion. Again, the information should be self-sufficient. This means that recipients should not be left speculating if there is more information required. Information should be logical and easy to understand. Particularly, this is necessary in blog posts, which, in most cases, end sharply, leaving the reader unsatisfied. Each message sent out should be consistent with previous or future messages.

The message should also be relevant to recipients. Irrelevant information leaves the recipients confused and would be ineffective. All norms, such as clarity, objectivity, relevance, consistency, and conciseness, are based on prior knowledge of the target audience. Knowledge of the audience helps in determining the tone, theme, and quality of the message. Business communication is different from other communication because it has specific principles, norms, and language patterns that should be used (Schmidt, 2007).

Role of interpersonal communication

Interpersonal communication entails correspondence between two or more people. Both managers and employees depend on interpersonal communication to pass information to each other. As a manager, effective interpersonal communication helps in developing good relations with employees. It helps in transferring detailed information between managers and employees. Managers can rely on interpersonal communication to give clear, concise, and objective instructions to employees.

As an employee, it helps in giving detailed feedback to managers. This is important when dealing with complicated matters or major projects where other forms of communication could create misunderstanding. Interpersonal communication emphasizes critical points, which creates a better understanding. Besides, more issues that could come up can be solved promptly. As managers, interpersonal communication would help to have a better understanding of employees.

During communication, managers and employees observe the body language of each other and can see the emotional reaction to ideas. This helps in better understanding each other’s perspectives and opinions. As employees, Interpersonal communication help in bargaining for more benefits and promotions at their place of work since they are able to polish their presentations, which comes with good interpersonal communication skills. Another key role of interpersonal communication is making effective meetings. Business meetings could consume much productive work and lack a clear direction. However, good interpersonal communication skills help managers and employees to prepare for the agenda and present clear and objective information, which would make meetings more productive.

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Techniques used to overcome Barriers in communication

There are several communication barriers that vary across different people. Without effective measures to overcome them, misinterpretations abound in every correspondence. Barriers exist because people interpret information differently. To overcome communication barriers, I try to understand other people’s attitudes and perceptions. While making communications, I predict how the audience would feel or perceive disseminated information as it would help to reduce the chances of misinterpretation.

In addition, I seek the response of the receiver. By simply asking if the receiver understands the information being passed and their perceptions would help to minimize misinterpretations. Another important strategy in overcoming communication barriers involves using direct communications. Face-to-face communications allow me and the receiver to seek explanations to points that are not clear. Understanding body language makes communication more effective compared to emails or phone conversations.

I also overcome communication barriers by using the right language that fits the receiver. As much as possible, I avoid complex words and jargon, which makes communication clear and easy to understand. Such words could be distorted and misinterpreted by the audience, making them confused. Choosing the right communication channel is important in overcoming communication barriers. For instance, it is not necessary for me to use email if it would be quicker or convenient to use direct or telephone communication.

The nature of information guides me in selecting the most appropriate method. Information that would need a lot of explanations, such as technical instructions, are more suited to direct conversation as this would allow the receiver to seek clarifications where necessary. Finally, overcoming communication barriers require integrity and righteousness while making communications.

Role of international and intercultural interpersonal communications in global business today

Due to present globalization in business, international and intercultural communication is unavoidable. Typically, international business communications involve communicating with people across different cultures and ethnic backgrounds. According to Schmidt (2007), intercultural communication is described as interpersonal communication between people from different groups, in terms of knowledge shared and other features distinctive on every person.

Intercultural interpersonal communication plays a key role in international business today. Information sharing is a major aspect of global business, where experts and professionals share knowledge and skills across nations. Misunderstanding and anxiety could arise without good international and intercultural communication. The global business also results in a diverse workforce. Employees of international companies originate from different cultures and speak different languages. Intercultural interpersonal communication helps the ineffective management of a diverse workforce. Diversity among the workforce must be acknowledged and respected for greater productivity.

Effective intercultural communication helps in sharing information and ideas among the workforce. Intercultural communication also plays a key role in the adaptation and adjustment of employees sent on international assignments, making them productive. Particularly, in the international business setting, flexibility, and adaptation in other countries is required both in behavior and social identity, which is achieved through effective intercultural communication.

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International and intercultural communication is also important in integrative negotiation in global business. Negotiation is not just business negotiation but also in collaborative work and responsibilities. Finally, intercultural communication is important in creating and managing relationships. Proper communication builds trust and confidence among associates.

Description of verbal and non-verbal communication

According to Kuang Ching, Wong Ngan, & David (2011), verbal communication is defined as articulated words and comprises of definite words, anticipated and incidental connotations, tone, and vocal modulation. For instance, some words or sentences could have diverse meanings based on the tone used. The major advantage of verbal communication is that it is direct to the point and can be clearly understood.

The use of body language, as well as motions, increases the intensity of communication. It is considered most effective in explaining intangible ideas and giving technical instructions. On the other hand, non-verbal communication is described as wordless communication, generally involving the use of gestures or signals. In most cases, this kind of communication is used where no spoken communication is required. However, the use of gestures could be ineffective, especially if the recipient does not recognize gestures used by the communicator. In addition, people who have visual impairments are not able to use this communication.

Approaches to effective written communication

Written communication is one of the most common modes of communication in business. Effective written communication should have a professional tone expressed by using simple, clear, and direct language. Information should be organized clearly and objectively to allow faster reading and easy understanding. Written communication generally depends on the purpose. For instance, the information in written instructions should be organized in a step-by-step manner, while the report should follow a sequence enlightening how events happened.

On the other hand, news and information should answer the questions who, what, where, when, why, and how to help the reader to understand. Another feature of effective written communication is the correct format. The format is described as the arrangement of information or message on paper. The format used depends on the message delivery method such as letter, memorandum or through mail. Every kind has distinctive format guidelines in terms of content and structure.

For instance, there would be different ways of placement of date, salute, addressee and subject line on different formats. The format and language of written communication depends on the audience. Intended recipients can vary from professionals, such as engineers, doctors, and lawyers, to business people. Again, the audience could be clients of different age groups and occupations. The writer has to consider their proficiency, backgrounds and level of education to communicate effectively. This also involves predicting their attitudes and possible response to information being communicated. Visual elements, like font and style, should be selected carefully to fit the audience (Shrivastava, 2012).

Ways of engaging audience during presentation and encouraging active listening

Engagement of audience during presentation is important to enable the presenter to accomplish his or her objectives. The audience should be encouraged to listen, understand, and act on the information being communicated. It is the responsibility of the presenter to engage the audience during presentation and encourage them to active listening. There are several things presenter needs to do to make his or her presentation effective.

The first step in engaging the audience is proper preparation. According to Sims (2002), preparing the audience early by providing the material before presentation enhances effectiveness of presentation. Effective presenters use humor as major approach to getting the attention of the audience. Presenter should use humor naturally and correctly to keep his or her audience attentive and engaged. Note taking is another useful way of engaging the audience.

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Listeners can be encouraged to write short notes during presentation to be alert. Along with note taking, the presenter can also provide handouts to provide supplementary information to support his or her presentation. This also keeps the audience engaged. The information being presented should be simple, brief and clear. Presenting such information will take short time and the audience will not get bored in the course of presentation.

Well-organized information will encourage the audience to listen to the message. Presenter can also engage the audience through questioning techniques. Sims (2002) states that, the audience would recollect less than 30% of presented information while with questioning the audience recollects 85%. This is because questioning deepens listener’s understanding and convictions about issues being addressed. Other ways of engaging audience into active listening include; use of gestures, storytelling and using startling but accurate statistics.

Effective methods of conflict resolution

Conflict resolution is one of the most important concepts not only in business but also in personal relationships. Without proper conflict resolution, productivity of the workforce can be reduced significantly. Effective conflict resolution needs certain leadership skills, managerial skills, and problem-solving skills. To solve conflicts effectively, an individual should listen attentively to both parties before speaking.

According to Tripathi (2009), listening is a key step to resolve conflicts. Listening helps in understanding the nature of conflict and grievances of both parties. Both parties should be invited to a meeting to discuss the matter. Each party should be given an equal chance to talk. This would give a good opportunity to understand both parties. Another important approach in conflict resolution is being impartial. Mediator should not show any view that seems to support one party over the other. The mediator needs to evaluate both parties and give a just and rational decision. Effective conflict resolution also requires timely intervention.

The conflict should be addressed immediately and solved completely. In case there are several issues that cause conflicts, they need to be addressed one by one starting with light issues before tackling heavy matters. Honesty and integrity are vital for effective conflict resolution. Aggrieved parties will only accept a mediator they trust and believe will give just and impartial solution. Therefore, the mediator needs to be open and honest to both parties in solving conflicts.

Techniques for leading teams and group meetings

Leading teams and group meetings is important to accomplish group goals and objectives. This requires good leadership skills. Group leader needs to motivate his team by understanding and providing their needs. Simply, asking the opinions of team members could help to understand what the group wants. Again, group leader needs to know the achievement expectations of the group. Based on group expectations, team leader should craft goals that are acceptable to all members of the group.

Various group activities can then be planned to support set goals. A group may be composed of people with diverse opinions and attitudes. However, it is important to bring everybody together. Effective communication would help to maintain cohesion within the group. Groups could easily disintegrate without good communication. Regular meetings are necessary to reinforce emotional bonds in group. Group leaders should send out timely information about the time and location of group meetings.

In addition, the agenda for the meeting needs to be communicated early to prepare group members for the meeting. Creating a group website or email could help in providing required information in time. Group leaders should also lead by example. They need to adopt leadership style that is suitable to the group. Leaders should acknowledge that different groups need different management skills. Effective leaders gather information from the group, listen to their opinions carefully and build rapport with the group.

Irresponsible behavior, laziness or dictatorship is not desirable for most groups. Delegation of tasks is also an effective technique of leading a teams and group meetings. Delegation reduces workload for the leader, makes accomplishment of work faster and develops trust with group members (Bell & Smith, 2010).

Conclusion

Communication is very important in business both locally and globally. It enhances productivity and helps in effective management. This paper has explored several issues regarding communication in business. Some of the issues discussed include: importance of communication in business, methods of communication, and how to make effective communications.

References

Bell, H., & Smith, M. (2010). Management communication. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons.

Kuang Ching, H., Wong Ngan, L., & David, M. (2011). Communicating Disagreements among Malaysians: Verbal or Non-verbal?. Language In India, 11(11), 442-462.

Schmidt, V. (2007). Communicating globally: Intercultural communication and international business. Los Angeles: Sage Publishers.

Shrivastava, S. (2012). Identifying the Major Components of Business Communication and Their Relevance: A Conceptual Framework. IUP Journal Of Soft Skills, 6(4), 51-66. uses gestures such as a smile, a frown, a hand.

Sims, R. (2002). Managing organizational behavior. Westport, CT: Quorum Books.

Tripathi, S. (2009). Communication management: A global perspective. New Delhi: Global India Publications.

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