Communication accounts for a significant amount of time in a marketing environment. Many experts consider communicating to be one of the most critical aspects of any business success. Business communication skills fall into a few basic forms that include oral, written, mediated and listening. Each of these forms of communication holds its own significance.
A significant amount of marketing revolves around oral communication. Marketing managers and supervisors speak with employees, employees speak with their colleagues, groups engage in conversations and many members of the organisation use oral communication to interact with customers.
Oral communication can range from very casual to highly formal. The audience for this type of communication may include one person, a few people or a large group. This type of communication typically saves time over more formal methods however misunderstandings and absence of written records can sometimes lead to confusion.
Like oral communication, written communication can take a number of forms in a marketing environment. Channels for written communication include memorandums, letters and even sales brochures as well as formal contracts.
Written communication typically focuses on one topic at a time, with other topics either being relegated to another portion of the document or addressed in a separate communique altogether. Because written communication leaves a permanent record of the sender’s thoughts, business experts recommend that senders keep written messages short and simple, create these communications with the recipient’s perspective in mind and take time to proofread and revise the document before sending.
When communication takes place by way of some technology, such as a telephone or a computer, the channel is known as mediated communication. An growing amount of communication takes place through mediated channels, and some examples include:
- Web conferences,
- Video chats,
- Conference calls, and even
- Traditional telephone conversations.
Some large businesses use call centres to facilitate mediated communication with large numbers of customers, and some call centres also handle text chats with Internet customers. Many businesses encourage employees to communicate using instant messenger applications as these programs save time and reduce telephone expenses. Email and websites also offer popular channels for mediated communication.
During face-to-face communication, participants subconsciously look for and evaluate physical cues from the other parties involved. These cues, known as nonverbal communication, reflect subtle information about the communicating party.
In a marketing department meeting, for example, employees who make frequent eye contact and lean forward in their chairs signal that they are involved in the conversation and interested in the content. This is as opposed to those who lean back in their chair and look away from the speaker which signals disinterest.
Non-verbal communication can take a wide variety of forms. It can range from subtle, involuntary cues such as posture and facial expressions to deliberate statements such as the colour and style of dress.
In a typical working day you probably communicate regularly with one or even all of the following groups of people:
- Coworkers (including superiors, subordinates and colleagues),
- Representatives from other companies, and even
The teamwork necessitated by the complexity of today’s workplace has placed increased importance on employees’ interpersonal skills. Such teaming of individuals brings together diverse groups who may not share norms, values or vocabularies however they do offer unique expertise, insights as well as perspectives.
Added to that the fact that interpersonal skills in the Digital Age are more complex than they have ever been in the past. E-mail, voice mail, audio conferencing and video conferencing, and the myriad of other technologies that enable individuals to communicate with each other, not only increase the ways in which individuals can interact, but also require a heightened sensitivity to the nuances of the specific communication modes.
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