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Intro to Business Communication

Requirements of Effective Written Communication

Written communication: The word communication brings out a very essential factor of our very existence – socialization. Not only do humans communicate, but every living creature on this planet communicates too. Their way and extent of communicating might differ. To name a few – Dolphins, apes, dogs, and even plants communicate among themselves.

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Introduction

So, what do we seek from communication? We seek to get our message across. We communicate to inform or socialize formally or informally. It’s a two-way communication when there is an exchange of facts, feelings, opinions, and ideas. In what ways do we communicate? By and large, we communicate using three mediums – Verbal and non-verbal communication.

Verbal communication includes written, oral, visual and audio-visual  Depending upon time, distance, and purpose, we choose either of these mediums to communicate. In this chapter, we are going to talk specifically about written communication. Let’s get into it!

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Written Communication

written communication

To be exact in writing communication is essential to getting across accurately. Written communication allows one to think thoroughly and refer back to it whenever required. This means record maintenance in Business. There are different ways businesses encounter written communication. Following are a few examples:

  • Bulletins
  • Emails
  • Memos
  • Instant messages
  • Reports
  • Job descriptions
  • Employee manuals
  • Internet websites
  • Letters
  • Proposals
  • Telegrams
  • Faxes
  • Postcards
  • Contracts
  • Advertisements
  • Brochures
  • News releases

Now that we have a sense of what written communication is, let’s move to some of the requirements of effective written communication.

Requirements of Effective Written communication –

In most business environments, there’s a lot of reliance on written documents and hence the need to be clear and effective in written communication. Right from the notes, we scribble to the reports we draft, everything involves written communication.

Since we return back to our written notes, reports, etc. later. And also most of the written pieces are meant for an audience, small or large, it’s important that it is kept simple, and easily understandable for all. Here are some simple factors that are essential to effective written communication:

1. Appropriate Words

In the Business world, everything truly comes down to communication. Work is executed by people and people are humans. They have feelings, expectations, and needs. Choosing the right words in time is what saves the day.

For example, words like “Could you please”, “would you please”, “requesting you to”, “may I request your kindness”, while addressing a superior on a mail for getting some work done is more appropriate than blurting out an order.

Notice that the action is the same. It’s only the words that will bring about a difference of acceptance of your request or not.

Even while addressing juniors or peers, being polite, respectful and sometimes even friendly goes a long way. Being perceived as a cold boss because of showing lack of empathy also hurts your reputation at work and most likely your work environment.

In other situations, knowing your language well comes in handy because you get your idea get delivered as intended. For example, although “too” and “also” the same meaning, “Too” is used in slightly negative senses while all other use cases take “also.”

A simple comma or exclamation can change the meaning of a sentence. Know your language well to communicate appropriately.

2. Clarity in intent or idea

A pre-defined agenda or intent of the idea is like setting a tone for your communication. Imagine you want to give facts in a report and the usage of words like “may” or “could” make it sound uncertain.

Read the paragraph below to see how clearly the intent of explaining marine life statistics is written:

“Altogether there are 230,000 documented marine species, including about 20,000 species of marine fish, and it has been estimated that nearly two million marine species are yet to be documented. Marine species range in size from the microscopic, including plankton and phytoplankton which can be as small as 0.02 micrometers, to huge cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) including the blue whale, the largest known animal reaching up to 33 meters (109 feet) in length. Marine microorganisms, including bacteria and viruses, constitute more than 90% of the total marine biomass.”

To quote an example of how clearly the ideas are portrayed in the above paragraph, here’s an instance: If the word documented was missing from the first line, the information would have sounded like a claim of exactness. Using the word “documented” ensured that the reader knows that the number quoted are the ones that are documented and not the actual representation.

3. Inoffensive Language

Not once should we sound like we are not on the readers’ team, even when we have different ideas, it should never sound like we are against the user?

What good is a written document that doesn’t get read? By using a blunt, highly rigid and opinionated language that could offend the reader, we may shut his mind to the document making the whole document futile.

Even when we have a complain there’s a difference between being firm and being offensive. For example, if the well in advance scheduled delivery of my consignment hasn’t reached on its desirable date and it’s past 2 days already.

I am waiting but there’s not even communication from the vendor’s end. Now we know they are in the wrong and also irresponsible enough o not communicate yet, but this is my trusted vendor and I don’t want to go through the trouble of finding another one now. Here’s what I should write to him:

“Hello xyz,

We are compelled to write to you about our consignment no. 123. This consignment was expected to be delivered by 12-12-2018 and hasn’t arrived so far. Would you please let us know what’s the bottleneck there? We have had a smooth experience of business with you thus far and would appreciate your honesty here. Please feel free to let us know if we could help you in some way.

Thanks and Regards

Your name”

What you did there was you asked polite questions for them to lead to statements that you would want to say anyway. Message well received and it keeps the tone soft yet firm.

4. The tone of your writing

Another important and final factor of your written communication is the style or tone of writing. This is what the colour of your communication is. This is what separates jokes from sarcasm, the assertion from negation.

It’s true that tone is more felt in verbal communication, but there are aspects to even written communication that sets the tone. For example, by using dignified and mannered writing, we do what is called “formal writing”.

Other times we want to be less formal, more personalized and closer to the reader in the “informal writing” style. Depending upon your audience, and the kind of message you are conveying, the tone is set and it helps the reader to set expectations from your writing and understand you better.

With that, we will sum up our piece on written communication. You can read the instructions, but to really absorb them all, what you need is to read many examples. They say, if you read good, you write well and if you listen good, you speak well. Have fun with English!

Solved Questions on Written Communication

Question:

Write a short message to a client who hasn’t released your payment yet even after a week after the due date has passed.

Solution:

“Hello xyz,

We are constrained to write to you about our invoice no. 123 which has been due payment since 12-12-2018 It’s been a week past the due date. Would you please let us know what’s the bottleneck there? We have had a smooth experience of business with you thus far and would appreciate your honesty here. Please feel free to let us know if we could help you in some way.

Thanks and Regards

Your name”

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