The seven essentials of great business communication

Written by Lee Hopkins

There are seven essential elements to successful business communication:

Structure Clarity Consistency Medium Relevancy Primacy/Recency Psychological Rule of 7±2

If you are going to communicate effectively in business it is essential that you have a solid grasp of these seven elements. So let's look at each in turn...

Structure ~~~~~~~~~ How you structure your communication is fundamental to how easily it is absorbed and understood by your audience.

Every good communication should have these three structural elements: an opening, a body, and a close.

The Opening allows your communication's audience to quickly understand whatrepparttar communication is about. Short, sharp and to repparttar 107973 point, a good opening lets your audience quickly reach a decision of whether or not to pay attention to your message.

The Body is where you get torepparttar 107974 'heart' of your message. It is inrepparttar 107975 body ofrepparttar 107976 message that you communicate all of your facts and figures relative torepparttar 107977 action you want your communication's audience to take after attending to your message.

There's a key to rapid uptake of your message -- KISS. Pitch your presentation's graphics at a grade seven child. If THEY can follow and understand them, chances are good that your audience will too.

The Close is where you sum up your communication, remind your audience of your key points, and leave them with a clear understanding of what you want them to do next. The more powerfully you can end your communication,repparttar 107978 more easily remembered it will be by your audience.

This structural rule holds true no matter what your communication is -- a memo, a phone call, a voice mail message, a personal presentation, a speech, an email, a webpage, or a multi-media presentation.

Remember - your communication's audience can be just one person, a small team, an auditorium full of people or a national, even global, group of millions.

In this instance size doesn't matter --repparttar 107979 rules remainrepparttar 107980 same.

Clarity ~~~~~~~ Be clear aboutrepparttar 107981 messaqe you want to deliver, as giving a confused message to your audience only ends up with them being confused and your message being ignored.

If you are giving a message about, say, overtime payments don't then add in messages about detailed budget issues orrepparttar 107982 upcoming staff picnic -- UNLESS they ABSOLUTELY fit in with your original message.

It's far better and clearer for your audience if you create a separate communication about these ancilliary issues.

Consistency ~~~~~~~~~~~ Nothing more upsets a regular reader of, say, your newsletter than inconsistency of your message.

Taking a position on an issue one week, only to overturn itrepparttar 107983 next, then overturn THAT positionrepparttar 107984 following week, only breeds distrust in your message. And distrust in you!

People who distrust you are exceedingly unlikely to takerepparttar 107985 action you wish them to take. They are also highly unlikely to pay any attention to your future messages.

As well as consistency amongst multiple messages, be aware that inconsistency within your message can be just as deadly to audience comprehension.

Atrepparttar 107986 risk of sounding likerepparttar 107987 Grouchy Grammarian, please make sure that your tenses remainrepparttar 107988 same, that your viewpoint doesn't wander betweenrepparttar 107989 1st and 3rd person and back again (unless you deliberately want to create a linguistic or story-telling effect — be careful with this!) and that your overall 'theme' or message doesn't change.

Medium ~~~~~~ Ifrepparttar 107990 only tool you have in your toolbag is a hammer, pretty soon everything starts to look like a nail.

Similarly, if all you believe you have as a communications tool is PowerPoint™ then pretty soon all you'll do is reduce very communications opportunity to a PowerPoint™ presentation. And as any of us who have sat through one too many boring slideshows will attest, "seen one, seen 'em all"

There are a myriad of was you can deliver your message —repparttar 107991 trick is to userepparttar 107992 right one. But which isrepparttar 107993 right one? The one that communicates your message: * withrepparttar 107994 greatest accuracy * withrepparttar 107995 largest likelihood of audience comprehension * atrepparttar 107996 lowest fiscal cost * atrepparttar 107997 lowest time cost

Note: it must meet ALL of these criteria. There's absolutely no value in spendingrepparttar 107998 least amount of money ifrepparttar 107999 medium you choose doesn't deliver on any ofrepparttar 108000 other criteria.

Choosingrepparttar 108001 right medium or media is obviously critical. Get repparttar 108002 media mix wrong and you could end up spending a whole lot of time and money on a very visually attractive business communication that delivers next-to-zero ROI.

Relevancy ~~~~~~~~~ It never ceases to amaze me that business managers still believe that everyone would be interested in their message — and then proceed to subject any and every person they can find to a horrendous PowerPoint slideshow put together by a well-meaning but aesthetically-challenged subordinate.

Modes of communication in a busy world

Written by Lee Hopkins

Technology is wonderful -- it allows us to communicate with others in all sorts of different ways.

However, sometimesrepparttar way we or others choose is notrepparttar 107972 most appropriate forrepparttar 107973 recipient orrepparttar 107974 message. We are all incredibly busy, after all.

So here's my quick'n'dirty philosophy for how I communicate with others in business, in descending order of use and ascending order of priority or urgency. Please feel free to adapt or ridicule it at your leisure...

1. Email Used for transferring files before a face-to-face meeting. For example, I want my client to seerepparttar 107975 latest additions torepparttar 107976 manual we're working on, or changes to a newsletter.

It's also great for non-urgent communication, as it allowsrepparttar 107977 recipient to get on withrepparttar 107978 work that is currently occupying them without disturbing them. If I phone them, I break their train of thought and interrupt their work. Or I get frustrated because 'they are in a meeting'. It's a great way of allowing them to attend to my email and its demands at a more suitable and convenient time.

Using email is a great way of neither interrupting my recipient nor getting into that horribly wasteful game of 'phone tag'.

Yes, there isrepparttar 107979 risk that my email gets lost inrepparttar 107980 dozens my recipient might get in a day, but I figure that if our work is important they will pay attention to it. If it's not important to them, then either their own boss or client will help them reprioritise when an important deadline is missed, or else I am focusing more on my own needs thanrepparttar 107981 needs of my recipient -- in which case I deserve to have my email ignored.

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