To make communication effective, we should follow some principles of effective business communication are to be considered and followed with due importance.
Principles of effective business Communication
To make your letter, memorandum, reports, representations and other forms of communication effective, you should follow certain scientific principles. The following principles of effective business communication are fundamental, important and relevant to all media but they are most important to written communication:
These principles discuss detailed are as follows:
1. Principles of Clarity:
1. Clarity of thought: The communication cycle begins with the generation of an idea in the mind of the transmitter. A huge deal of clarity is needed at this stage, for if the beginning is fuddled, it is likely to mar the entire communication process. The communicator should be clear about three points which are as follows:
- What are the objectives of communication?
- What is to be communicated?
- Which media is suitable for our communication purpose?
2. Clarity of expression: The receiver learns about the idea in the transmitter’s mind through the coded message. If encoding is faulty, the message may be misinterpreted. So everyone should more careful while encoding the message. Since most of the messages are transmitted with the help of words, the transmitter should be careful about the meanings and organization of words. The following points about the choice of words deserve attention:
(a) Use of simple words: Remember that simple and short words are more effective than pompous and heavy words. It is better to use “tell” or “inform” for “acquaint.”
|Previous to/prior to||Before|
|to the fullest possible extent||fully|
Mark Twain, had really a point when he said, “I never, write metropolis when 1 can get the same price for ‘city.’
(b) Use of definite/Concrete expression: Concrete expressions creator visual images that are easy to register. So instead of vague, generalized statements, give definite facts (unless you can derive a particular advantage; from;’ being general.)
|Goods will be sent soon||Goods will be sent on 1st July|
|The price of jewelry is Inexpensive||These beautiful earrings cost only Tk. 650|
|Your savings earn a high rate of interest.||Your savings earn a 10% interest compounded half-yearly.|
(c) Prefer active constructions: Prefer active constructions for they are easier to understand. If you deliberately want to create an impersonal style, you may be justified in using passive constructions. But in ordinary circumstances, it is better to use active constructions.
|Your efforts are appreciated by all of us.||All of us appreciate your efforts.|
|Your report will be discussed by; a committee.||A committee will discuss your report.|
|It is thought that these prices are on the higher side.||We think these prices to be on the higher side.|
If you compare the two constructions, you will discover that active verbs are more specific, personal and emphatic.
(d) Avoid excessive use of the infinitive: The use of infinitive (verb to give, to learn) tends to make the style impersonal and formal.
e) Avoid jargon: ‘Jargon’ refers to the special language of a trade, profession, or field of study. It may refer to words as well as to the style of writing. In the medical field, jargon will be mostly confined to the choice of words. Legal jargon is primarily stylistic. Jargon creates difficulties of understanding, and it makes the style formal and stiff, so better avoid jargon. In the business field, jargon consists in the use of words like ‘instant’ and ‘ultimo’ ‘We beg to’ and ‘and’ oblige’ can be easily omitted.
(f) Avoid Ambiguity: If your message can mean more than one thing it is ambiguous. Careless use of personal pronouns can also cause ambiguity wrong placing of adverbs and faulty punctuation is also responsible for ambiguity moreover, words having two or more meanings create ambiguity. Look at the following examples:
- Mr. X told Mr. Y that he was not being considered for promotion. In this sentence, Mr. X or Mr. Y who was not being considered for promotion is not clear.
- Only the report has been checked by the managers the above sentence should «be’: Only the report and nothing else has been checked by the Manager.
- “GO SLOW WORK IN PROGRESS.”
The above sentence is meaningless, and it should be
“GO SLOW. WORK IN PROGRESS.”
A slogan stated as: We dispense with care
- The word dispenser has two meaning
- Dispenses: to prepare medicine
- Dispense with: to get rid of
- Such a slogan creates confusion.
(g) Use of short sentence: Whether your communication is oral or written, use very short sentences. Long sentences tend to be complex and demand greater concentration. And no one has time or patience for long sentences. As a rule, if a sentence runs beyond thirty words, it is better to break it up into two sentences.
2. Principle of completeness
In business communication, the completeness of facts is necessary. Incomplete communication irritates the reader, for it leaves him baffled. If wrong actions follow an incomplete message, they may also prove expensive. Let us -suppose you are ordering shirts by mail. Your communication must include all the relevant facts-size, color, catalog number, quantity, mode of payment, mode of dispatch, the date by which. You need shirts, etc. In the absence of any of these details, your order may not be filled to your satisfaction. You should organize your message in such a way that the receiver is not in doubt about anything contained in it.
(a) While answering a letter makes it sure that you have answered all the questions: If your customer has four queries and you answer only two of them, it will not bring the desired answer. While answering the letter, devote a paragraph each to all his .questions and number the paragraphs. This practice will save your answer from getting lost in a jungle of words.
(b) Complete means checking for ‘five (5) W questions those. Are-(i) Who; (ii) What; (in) Where; (iv) When & (v) Why e.g. To announce a meeting, one should consider 5
- Who is to attend the meeting?
- What is the agenda?
- When will the meeting start?
- Where is the meeting to be held?
- Why will the meeting be held?
Incomplete messages create confusion in the receiver’s mind and thus receiving proper feedback becomes impossible.
3. Principle of Conciseness
A reader’s time is invaluable. Don’t make him feel that he is wasting his time in going through your unnecessarily lengthy letter. Be as brief as possible. Brevity in expression effectively wins the attention of the reader.
However, brevity should not be affected at the cost of appropriateness, clarity, correctness, completeness or courtesy. There is no hard and fast rule for the length of a letter.
A letter should be as long or as short as is necessary to tell the story effectively. A two-page letter may seem short, while a ten-line letter may seem all too long.
There are two tests to ascertain whether a letter is too long. You can ask yourself these two questions: “Does it say more than the need to be said?” “Does it take too many words for what it must say?” The following four simple rules will help you to achieve conciseness in your messages:
- Include only relevant facts. Make sure your message does not get long by unnecessary details.
- Avoid repetition. Repetition induces monotony or irritation. You might repeat information or a request to stress it. The reader would naturally expect you are saying something additional. But when he discovers that you are repeating something, he feels cheated.
- Avoid trite and wordy expressions.
(d) Organize your message well. Use simple and short words as well as sentences. Ensure that your message is coherent. Finally, conciseness means the following-
- Use of relevant facts.
- No repetition of information.
- Proper Organization of the message.
4. Principle of Consideration
In our letters, we must show consideration for the reader. This can be done in the following ways:
(a) Adopt the “You” attitude: Each person is naturally interested to hear his name. So when we write letters, we should write from a third party. It means that we must avoid I’s and use as many Yours as possible.
(b) Emphasize positive, pleasant facts: When we communicate we must have a positive approach towards the receiver. On many occasions we have to refuse, ‘no’, regret, disagree and say ‘sorry’. These are negative approaches that are straight forward and the effect is far-reaching on the reader’s mind. Whereas a positive approach convinces the reader and retains the goodwill of the firm.
Negative: We regret to inform you that we will not be able to execute your order until
Positive: Thank you for your order. The goods should be sent to your address as soon as possible.
Negative: It is very unfortunate that your payment was received too late to permit us to ship your goods.
Positive: It was kind of you to send us a cheque for your order of April 5. However, your goods were mailed C.O.D. last Monday since our credit department assumed that you would want them as quickly as possible.
(c) Impart integrity to your messages: Showing integrity is perhaps the best way of showing consideration. Integrity involves the observance of ethical principles-sincerity and fair treatment. Nothing will impress the receiver of your message than these two simple virtues.
- Consideration implies respect for the reader’s point of view.
- For consideration: Adopt the you-attitude in your message;
Emphasis positive, pleasant facts; First feel sincere and then write if it is correct.
5. Principle of Courtesy
In business, we must create friendliness with all those to whom we write. Friendliness is inseparable from courtesy. And courtesy demands a considerate and friendly behavior towards others. The principles which are given below help to promote courtesy:
(a) Answer the letters promptly: In business, it is a general practice to answer a letter the same day it is received. Sometimes you might need a past reference, or may have to refer to different departments for clarification of certain points or may need the consent of higher authorities. In all these cases, you should at least acknowledge the letter received and state the probable time you require sending a full reply.
(b) Omit irritating expressions: Some words and expressions are negative in connotation and irritate the reader. Particularly expressions like ‘you forgot’, ‘you failed’, and your irresponsible approach are bound to irritate or hurt the reader. So totally avoid them. Some other such expressions are:
You are probably ignorant/unaware
We disagree with you/we do not believe/you leave us any choice, etc.
(c) Apologize sincerely for omission/thank generously for a favor: If you have overlooked or failed to do something, express your regrets promptly and sincerely and make up for the omission at the earliest. If the omission is on the part of someone else and he regrets it, promptly tell him that you do not mind. If someone does a favor for you, acknowledge it promptly and thank the person generously for -being kind to you. Finally courtesy means-
- Answer or response quickly
- Avoid painful words
We disagree totally with your thinking. We think in a different way.
Apologize sincerely for your mistakes.
The receiver should be treated with enough importance so that he becomes impressed with the good manner and takes activity very quickly.
6. Principles of Correctness
(a) Give the correct facts: Business communication often leads to expensive operations. So you should be sure that you are using correct facts and expressing them with the correct language. In fact, you should not transmit any message unless you are absolutely sure of its correctness. If you aren’t you should immediately verify it from an encyclopedia, an office file, a colleague, a dictionary, or even a grammar book. If your message includes any legal affair, you should know what is the correct legal position before you commit anything.
(b) Send your message at the correct time: All messages must be transmitted and responded to at the most appropriate time. Outdated information is useless. In fact, since communication is an expensive process, transmitting outdated information involves wastage of time, money and human resources. The principle of correct timing also stipulates that you communicate your message at a time when it is likely to prove most effective.
(c) Send your message in the correct style: This may also be described as the principle of adaptability. You must adapt your message to the needs of the receiver. You must keep before his educational background, the width of his vocabulary, specialized knowledge of the subject, his psychological make-up, etc. If he is a layman, all jargon must be excluded and facts should be explained in a simple language. If he is an expert in a subject, you may perhaps go into the ins & outs of the issue. While adapting your message to the needs of your receiver, you must so change it that you preserve its factual as well as emotional content.
Finally, principles of correctness mean-
- Give correct facts
- Answer at an appropriate time.
- Answer in a correct and suitable way.
Related Content of Introduction:
- Difference between Business Communication and General Communication
- Multipurpose Uses of Business Communication
- Importance of Cross-Cultural Communication
- Factors that Influence Communication in Business
- Effective Communication Definition for Effective Communication
- How do cultural differences affect communication
- Importance of Communication in Management
- Importance of Communication in Business
- Communication and Relationship Management
- Cultural Orientation in Communication
- Essential Condition of Communication Program
- How to Improve Cross-Cultural Communication
- Basic Management Functions
- Difference between the Communication Process and Communication Model
- Principles of Effective Communication
- Advantages or Importance of Feedback in Communication
- Steps for Overcoming Communication Barriers in Business Enterprise