Business communication is a special facet of human communication. In business organizations people working in coordination to produce, market goods and provide services for mutual profit are essentially goal-oriented and need to communicate effectively. Persing has defined business communication as “the spiraling process of transaction of meaning through symbolic action involving all elements associated with the sending and receiving written, oral and non verbal messages, internal and external to organizations of paid people working together to produce and market goods and services for profit.”
Business communication, as emphasized in this definition, is a spiraling process as communication between sender and receiver does not start at the same level of ability, understanding, behavior and psyche. External factors as noise, time, and culture also have an impact on communication in the business world. Therefore communication takes a spiral shape in the process of being transmitted from the sender to the receiver. On the basis of the above definition, the characteristics of business communication can be identified as:
- Business communication is goal-oriented: Business communication has a definite and practical purpose which is instrumental in initiating the process. This purpose is practical as it changes with time and needs.
- Business communication is all pervasive and inevitable: Business communication is essential socially, psychologically, formally or informally within and without the organization. Therefore it is believed that-‘Business communication is the life-blood of the organization”.
- Business communication is dynamic: The methods, means and type of communication keep changing according to the changing situations in business. A manager in a day communicates differently when taking an interview, when attending a meeting, when briefing a subordinate, when negotiating or when resolving a conflict. At times manager adopts assertive style or authoritative or even cooperative style of communication. Therefore, communication is contextual and ever-changing.
- Communication is continuous: Though communication is dynamic yet it does not end. Once a predetermined objective is achieved communication reaches another level to achieve another objective. For instance, an organization invites application for the vacant posts; communication moves to the next stage when screening of the applicants takes place. After screening and short listing, the next stage is interviews. Once the selection process is over communication takes place to train the newly appointed employees. This establishes the fact that business communication is continuous; it never ends but adapts itself to the situation. Therefore, it is also said that communication is flexible.
- Business communication is time-bound: Communication in a business organization varies with time. Every objective, assignment or project is to be achieved in a stipulated time period. For instance, the companies manufacturing electronic goods change their marketing and sales strategies every festive season, in the pre-budget as well as post budget period. They offer discounts, attractive offers during the festive season to entice the consumer. During the pre-budget period these companies attract the consumers to buy the goods before the price hike.
- Business communication is based on internal and external organizational activities: In an organization, routine work is carried out through internal and external activities. Internal organizational activities are carried out within the confines of the organisation like training, meeting, instructing whereas, external activities relate the organization with other organizations, government, consumers, masses. Collaboration of two companies, one company taking over the other or the manufacturing company hiring an external agency to advertise and market the manufactured products are examples of external business activities.
- Business communication flows in a fixed direction: Information either formal or informal an organization floats in a specific direction. In formal communication, the information flows in vertical, horizontal or crosswise direction. Informal communication can be cluster chain, single chain, etc.
These characteristics make business communication distinct from communication.