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Business Communications

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Presentation on theme: "Business Communications"— Presentation transcript:

1 Business Communications
Business Communications Unit 1: Investigating Business Photo: © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Icons key: For more detailed instructions, see the Getting Started presentation Flash activity. These activities are not editable. Teacher’s notes included in the Notes Page Extension activities Sound Web addresses 1 of 25 © Boardworks Ltd 2007

2 Learning objectives Why is effective communication important within business? Which types of communication do businesses use, internally and externally? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different forms of communication in business? Which methods of communication are suitable for different business needs? 2 of 42 2 of 25 © Boardworks Ltd 2007 © Boardworks Ltd 2006

3 Say what you see! This activity is intended as an introduction to the unit and to get pupils thinking about different forms of communication. The activity should be followed with a discussion about any problems the pupils experienced in communicating what the images were, and what some facets of effective communication might be. Photos © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

4 What is communication? To communicate means to pass on or share information. Effective communication is a two-way process, involving: THE SENDER The person delivering the message. THE RECEIVER The person receiving the message. FEEDBACK Confirmation that the message has been received. To help students you might suggest the following example of a communication process: a teacher (the sender) instructing pupils (the receivers) on their homework. The feedback is the completed homework. Examples of one-way communications which do not require feedback include posters, advertisements or information leaflets. Pupils might like to think about the possible problems with these types of communication, i.e. they run the risk of being misunderstood. Think of two examples of communication, identifying the sender, receiver and feedback in each case. Are there any forms of communication which are one-way, i.e. which do not require feedback?

5 Communication in business
As businesses carry out their different tasks, they have to communicate with lots of other people, within and outside of the business. Students should identify that it is important for people in a business to cooperate and communicate with each other in fast and efficient ways – otherwise people in the business will not have the information they need to make decisions, customer satisfaction levels will be low, links with suppliers will be poor and this will affect business profits. Photos © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Effective communication is essential in order for a business to run smoothly. Why do you think this is?

6 Formal and informal communication
Communications in business can be formal or informal, depending on: the relationship between the people communicating the reason for the communication. Formal communications are normally used for important or serious matters, or when a record of the communication needs to be kept. As a prelude to the activity which follows, students could brainstorm different formal and informal communications which might happen in business. They can compare their ideas to the examples included in this activity. Photos © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Informal communications tend to be used between people who know each other well and communicate regularly.

7 Formal or informal?

8 Internal communications
Some business communications are internal, i.e. between people within an organization. Other business communications are external, i.e. with people outside of the organization. Internal communications in a business include: communication within a functional area – for example, two members of a Human Resources team chatting to each other. communication between functional areas – for example, the Finance department of a company instructing the Marketing team on how much to spend on a campaign. Internal business communications can occur along vertical and horizontal channels. Vertical communications are those which happen up and down the hierarchy of a business, for example between a boss and his secretary. Horizontal communications are the formal communications between employees on the same level, for example two sales assistants talking or a Marketing manager talking to an Human Resources manager. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Think of two more examples of communications within and between functional areas in a business.

9 External communications
External communications in a business involve: contact with suppliers, customers or shareholders contact with other businesses or organizations. A shop assistant advising a customer, a company receiving an invoice for stock they’ve purchased and a billboard advertisement for a product are all ways in which businesses engage in external communications. Photos © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Image: © Cadbury Schweppes Information about Cadbury can be found at:

10 Communications in Tesco
Photo: © Tesco PLC Information about Tesco can be found at

11 Methods of communication
There are four main methods of communication used by businesses: written Students could brainstorm examples of each method. Examples of video, written, verbal and visual communications used by businesses follow on the next slides. visual video verbal Each method of communication is suitable for different business needs.

12 Verbal communications in business
Verbal communications include: speaking on the phone meetings tannoy announcements telephone conferences face-to-face conversations. Verbal communication is effective in business because it is fast and immediate, and can lead to an instant response or feedback. Tone of voice and body language can also help to reinforce verbal messages in some situations. You might like to add that some forms of verbal communication can also prove to be more expensive than other communication methods because of the opportunity cost, i.e. the cost of following one course of action and therefore not following another. A meeting, for example, can carry a ‘cost’ to it because while participants are in a meeting they are not producing a good or service to sell. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation However, there will usually be no record kept of a verbal communication, and messages from the sender to receiver run the risk of being misunderstood if speech is not clear.

13 Body language Body language includes all the non-verbal communications people use, such as gestures, poses, movements and facial expressions. These may or may not be intentional. Look at each person below. What can you tell about their mood or frame of mind from their body language? Choose a word that best describes how each person is feeling. Students should consider the expressions, gestures and the way each person is standing. Extension task: as a follow-up activity, students could engage in role play and experiment with conveying different emotions or moods through body language. An ideal scenario would be an interview for a job. Consideration can be given to how body language can both help and hinder verbal communications, for example, certain gestures can unintentionally convey nerves. Photos © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation

14 Written communications
Types of written communication used in business include: s and attachments faxes financial documents, e.g. invoices reports minutes taken in meetings notices and memos catalogues and brochures letters Today, the Internet and intranets are widely used by businesses for internal and external written communications. The Internet is the global communications network; an intranet is a computer network based on internet technology but used only for sharing information within a single business or organization. An intranet enables a company to share its resources with its employees without confidential information being made available to everyone with Internet access. and intranet systems allow quick communication and the ability to send documents as attachments or electronic bulletins rather than on paper. It can be used for formal communications such as to arrange meetings and for informal communications between staff within and between functional areas. The Internet has revolutionized business communications and led to huge changes in their external communications. Goods, products and services can be sold on a business’s own website or through a vendor such as eBay. Market research, purchasing and advertising are also done online. Image © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation What is the difference between the Internet and an intranet? List two ways a business might use each.

15 Pros and cons of written communication

16 Video communications Video communications in business include:
Internet video links video conferences. Advances in technology have led to big improvements in the ways businesses communicate. Video communications allow face-to-face contact over long distances, reducing the need for, and expense of travelling. For example, two divisions of a multinational company can hold a meeting using video conferencing technology, or an employee can work from home and communicate with his or her boss via a video link. Students might point out the following disadvantages of video communications: Images can sometimes be poor quality It is harder to judge reactions over video and make eye contact – in this respect, video communications and Internet video links cannot be as effective as physical face-to-face communication Video communication equipment is expensive Usually only two computers can be linked in an Internet video link You might like to explain that video conferencing works by video monitors being connected by telephone wires, satellite technology, or ground wires, thus allowing individuals to meet ‘face-to-face’ from almost anywhere in the world. A video conference can also include graphics, video clips, and transmission of data or documents. Photos © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation Can you think of any possible disadvantages of video communications for businesses?

17 Visual communications
Visual communications include: graphs and charts production drawings on-screen graphics posters and advertisements catalogues and brochures. Internal visual communications, such as financial graphs and charts, are useful because they can summarize what might otherwise be complicated or lengthy text. Photo © 2007 Jupiterimages Corporation However, special software and graphics packages, as well as specialist skills, may often be required to produce them.

18 Case study: Alton Towers
Television and magazine advertisements are examples of external visual communications. They are used by businesses to communicate with existing and potential customers and are very important to the success of a business. Watch the Alton Towers television advert and then answer the questions on the next slide. Extension task: students could collate a range of advertisements taken from newspapers and magazines etc. and discuss who the intended audience is, what reaction they are trying to evoke and whether it is an effective communication in their opinion. Video: © Tussaud’s Group For more information about Alton Towers and other businesses in the Tussauds Group visit

19 Case study: Alton Towers
1. Who do you think the Alton Towers advert is aimed at? 2. What message does it convey about Alton Towers? 3. Do you think the advert is effective? 4. Are there any disadvantages of this type of communication? Design your own magazine advert for a new attraction at Alton Towers or another Tussauds’ Group business. You should explain who the advert is aimed at, and what message it is designed to convey. Possible downsides of visual communications such as television adverts is that they are open to different interpretations and may not always evoke the intended reaction. They are also one-way communications, so there is no opportunity for feedback. Examples of other communications at Alton Towers include: verbal - staff briefings, customer help points, on-site radio communication between and within functional areas; radio adverts visual - television and magazine adverts, posters and brochures, banners, internet adverts written - The Spark – staff magazine, confirmation of bookings, website news articles, Tussauds magazine ‘Magic’. Extension task: pupils could design an advert for a new attraction at Alton Towers or another Tussauds’ group business. They could say in a feedback session who they have aimed the advert at, what message it is designed to convey and why they think it is an effective communication. Logo: © Tussaud’s Group For more information about Alton Towers and other businesses in the Tussauds Group visit Can you think of any examples of other communications – both internal and external – that Alton Towers would use on a daily basis?

20 Communication methods

21 Choosing a communication method
With so many different ways of communicating, people in business have to make decisions about which method is most suitable for their different business needs. The method chosen will depend on a number of things:

22 Choosing a communication method
In pairs, consider the most suitable method or methods of communication for these different business needs. 1. A bar owner wants to inform customers about a new range of drinks. 2. A group of office workers need to organize a social event for a colleague in the same department. 3. A director in a multinational company needs to present sales figures to a division abroad. 4. A manager plans to fire a member of staff due to repeated lateness. 5. A supermarket team leader needs to call a member of staff to the tills immediately. In selecting a method of communication, pupils should take into account the reason for the communication, the recipient, the complexity and urgency of the message, and whether feedback is needed. In all cases it can be assumed that the necessary technology is available. Pupils should explain why they have chosen a particular communication method over other methods. It should be pointed out that often the most effective communication will be a combination of different methods.

23 Anagrams

24 Question time! 1. Why is effective communication essential in business? 2. Give two examples of formal communication and two examples of informal communication. 3. What are the advantages of video conferencing? 4. Suggest two reasons why a business might need to communicate: Effective communication is essential in business in order to share information and avoid misunderstandings or duplication of work. Two examples of formal communication are a job offer letter and a verbal warning. Two examples of informal communication are an about a staff party and a chat between colleagues. Video conferencing allows face-to-face contact without the two parties having to travel to meet each other. a) Within a functional area, a business might need to communicate on progress with a project, or availability of team members b) between functional areas, finance may need figures from other departments or marketing may want details of a new product from operations c) external communications could be with suppliers or customers. a) within a functional area b) between functional areas c) with people outside the business.

25 Glossary


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