Business Communication: Lessons from a Course on Online Business Communication

Effective communication is necessary for life in general but in the business environment, it is critical. In their careers, business professionals make frequent interactions with individuals of different cultural, religious, and racial orientations as they strive to push the company’s agenda forward.

The professionals must deal with customers and clients who exhibit diverse viewpoints, levels of knowledge and temperaments. To serve, or be served by the hybrid of individuals that defines our business world today, it is only imperative for the business professionals to develop good communication skills to ensure that messages sent out to other individuals or organizations are understood in their entirety and context (“The Importance,” 2009 para. 1).

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In this perspective, enrolling in a business communication course can be a defining moment for individuals wishing to pursue business careers such as marketing, customer relations, advertising, online communication, corporate communications, among others.

The experience I achieved after undertaking a course in online communication opened up new frontiers of knowledge in business communication. My interest to enrol was informed by the fact that business organizations were increasingly using the internet and the World Wide Web to conduct business transactions. The desire to learn effective ways of using the internet to communicate with clients and customers topped my list of expectations.

It is indeed true that effective business communicators mostly use their oratory prowess and body language to pass the message across to the target audience. However, some assiduous communicators have encountered problems while using online communication since it does not have provisions to use either body language or spoken words (“The Importance,” 2009 para. 1). In addition, you don’t get to personally interact with the individual on the other end of the online protocol.

In this perspective, my other expectation was to be assisted to write effective online business correspondence. In online communication, critical assumptions are often based on the words used as no opportunity exists for one-on-one communication at the time the information is passed.

Web-based communication techniques such as e-mails have the advantage of providing an instant medium of written communication at a global level. According to Zhenya (2009), online communication is a powerful, swift, and resourceful marketing tool and medium (para. 2). Many business professionals view this mode of communication as the most environmentally friendly and professional in modern times.

However, experience has revealed that expert writing skills are essential if professionals are to efficiently utilize the immense benefits offered by this technique.

This again informed my decision to undertake the course. According to Chris (2009), effective communication skills attract the online audience to your business (para. 2). The desire to understand how to effectively communicate with other individuals from other cultural backgrounds and how to deal with the sensitive nature of online communication also informed my decision to join the course.

The experiences I have gained from the course have invariably underscored the importance of writing skills and language choice in online business communication. According to Chris (2009), language plays a fundamental role in online communication (para. 2).

The course has confirmed my expectation that individuals must utilize the right language and the correct mix of words when passing critical information to their targets if effective online communication is to be achieved. As it has been discussed elsewhere in this essay, online communication provides a challenge in that the communicator does not have the opportunity to address the target on a one-on-one basis.

The writing skills and experiences received from the training were fundamentally important as they offered guidelines on how to write complete, concise, and accurate correspondence for the online audience (Leh, 2009 para. 1). This makes it possible for the target to easily understand and act on the information.

A desire to learn how to effectively communicate with individuals of diverse cultural orientations had been indicated. Towards this end, the course stressed the fact that careful choice of words was absolutely necessary when communicating with individuals of diverse cultural orientations through online channels (Murphy, Hildebrandt, & Thomas, 1997 p. 160).

Words and phrases commonly used by one ethnic group can be offensive to another ethnic group. According to the course instructions, it is therefore critically important to learn and understand the different modes of communicating with other groups of individuals that may be predominantly different from you.

It is even more important to carefully select the words to use when using online communication as the communicator does not have the chance to elaborate his or her intentions to the target. Some words that we use in our everyday correspondence may mean totally different things when used in other cultural settings.

Consequently, it was clear from the course instructions that business communication should neither be disorganized nor littered with grammatical jargon. An online business correspondence that is either too short or too long represents unproductive business writing (Leh, 2009 para. 2). In online communication, organization of materials and prior consideration of the targeted audience are critical ingredients if efficiency and effectiveness is to be guaranteed (Eckhouse, 1999 p. 121).

For instance, a disorganized online sales receipt or invoice sent out to a customer may fail to deliver the required information. What if you use complicated jargon that most of your targeted audience cannot comprehend? Consecutive studies have revealed that extensive use of complicated language in online correspondence ends up chasing potential customers away.

Accordingly, business professionals must always view communication as an active process aimed at creating understanding and trust between themselves and the targeted audience.

According to the course, online business communication is a sensitive mode of communication as the correspondence can be forwarded to anyone or any department in the organization.

It is therefore fundamentally important to exercise caution on what to say in the email or other online-related correspondence, when to say it, how to say it, and to whom to say it (Murphy, Hildebrandt, & Thomas, 1997 p. 243).

This is critically important as business communication relates more often to financial disclosures that may have significant negative effects on the productivity and performance of the organization if handled poorly.

From official mail and personal letters to organizational documents and technical reports, the fact that writing skills are an indispensable component of a productive business career is undeniable. Studies have shown that effective communication is a basic principle towards successful management (Murphy, Hildebrandt, & Thomas, 1997 p. 248).

As already mentioned above, online business communication is one of the fastest growing modes of communication. As such, it is imperative for business professionals to equip themselves with the necessary knowledge and skills to be able to effectively communicate to their target audience. As some economic pundits say, effective business communication offers an unrivalled growth frontier for many organizations.

Reference List

Chris, A.T. (2009). Online business demands good communication skills. Retrieved September 20, 2009

Eckhouse, B. (1999). Competitive Communication: A rhetoric for modern business. Oxford University Press

Leh, F.J. (2009). Writing for Business. Retrieved September 20, 2009
http://management.about.com/od/communication/a/businesswriting.htm

Murphy, H.A., Hildebrandt, H.W., & Thomas, J.P. (1997). Effective Business Communications. McGraw-Hill/Irwin. ISBN: 978-0070443983

The Importance of business communication. (2009). Retrieved September 20, 2009

Zhenya, B. (2008). Benefits of going online. Retrieved September 20, 2009

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