Over the course of the semester, I have learnt how to communicate effectively in the business environment. I have learnt how to deal with different types of audiences be they top management, my co-workers, junior officers or clients. I have also learnt how to communicate with audiences from different cultures and to those with different levels of knowledge about a subject.
When writing or trying to communicate, people face a lot of problems such as blank page syndrome and lack of focus. This unit has taught me how to draft my work logically and how to perfect the final product through the various elements of proof reading such as correcting errors and deleting wordiness.
In a business setting, there are different kinds of audiences and therefore different ways of reaching out to them. I have learnt that an audience that is made up of specialists does not require a lot of details; abbreviations can be used with this type of audience since they are already aware of the subject matter. When one is communicating to a lay audience, all the terms should be defined and background information should always be given so as to give the audience a better understanding of what is being discussed. I have also learnt that involving the audience is a very important aspect of effective business communication. One should make the audience feel comfortable enough to participate by focusing on the benefits that the audience stands to gain, using ‘you’ language and asking questions frequently.
For business communication to be effective, it needs to be clear. I have learnt how to use concise language, give specific detail and give enough information. One should avoid using difficult words, long paragraphs and wordiness. When writing, one should use the active voice, use pronouns, personalize the text and be positive throughout the message.
Another important aspect of business communication is the overall appearance of the text. I have learnt that information should be organized chronologically; chunking should be used so as to make the work easy to read and also to understand. Chunking involves using headings and sub-headings, using page breaks and white spaces. Colors can also be used to attract the attention of the audience; however one should stick to primary colors. Graphics can also be used to provide more information but they should be well explained and consistent with the overall message.
The memory challenge we did at the beginning of the semester was very interesting as it highlighted the limited capacity an audience has to remember material written on a page. After that I learned F.L.E.F. which is the first thing, lasting, emotion and frequency.
I had problems with critical thinking in the trend paper that I wrote about the increasing awareness of the quality of coffee provided by the third wave coffee industry. After peer editing I found that my arguments were not up to standard as compared to those of my peers. I also had challenges when finding supporting industry data. It was a very interesting and informative semester as I learnt how to communicate efficiently and effectively in the business arena. I also had an opportunity to discover my weakness in critical thinking and therefore also had the opportunity to improve.