The Seven Essentials of Business Communication

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…

1. 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
a close

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 — the rules remain the same.

Opening

An opening allows your communication’s audience to quickly understand what the communication is about.

Short, sharp and to the point, a good opening lets your audience quickly reach a decision of whether or not to pay attention to your message.

Time is a precious resource, after all, and the quicker you can ‘get to the point’ and the faster your audience can make that ‘disregard/pay attention’ decision the more positively they will view you — which can be VERY important if you need or want to communicate with them in the future.

Body

Here’s where you get to the ‘heart’ of your message.

It is in the body of the message that you communicate all of your facts and figures relative to the action you want your communication’s audience to take after attending to your message.

Keep your facts, figures and any graphs or charts you might present to the point. Don’t bog down your audience with irrelevant material, or charts with confusing, illegible numbers and colours.

–SIDE BAR–

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.

–END SIDE BAR–

Close

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, the more easily remembered it will be by your audience.

2. CLARITY

Be clear about the 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 or the 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 ancillary issues.

3. 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 it the next, then overturn THAT position the following week, only breeds distrust in your message.

And distrust in you!

People who distrust you are exceedingly unlikely to take the 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.