What is Business Communication & the Best Tools for Work Communication

July 4, 2024
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13 Minutes
Modified on:
July 4, 2024
|
Written by:
Swati Bucha
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Effective business communication is immensely important for any organization to manage its workflow and collaborate seamlessly. Whether conveying ideas, collaborating on projects, or building relationships with clients, communication is the backbone that supports every aspect of a business's operations. 

The importance of business communication cannot be overstated. It enhances decision-making processes, improves employee engagement, and ultimately drives better returns. As the workplace continues to evolve with the prevalence of remote work, diverse operations, and cross-functional team establishment, the tools we use for communication can make a huge difference. They facilitate smooth coordination, maximize productivity, and ensure everyone is on the same page. 

So, what exactly is business communication, and how can you streamline it to produce maximum value? In this blog, we will explore the meaning of professional communication and some of the best tools available to optimize work communication and workflow management. From email platforms to video conferencing solutions and collaborative software, we'll cover the essential business communication tools to help your team stay connected. Let’s get started! 

What is Business Communication?

Business communication refers to sharing relevant information between people and stakeholders within and outside a company with a clear goal. Effective business communication is essential for any organization's smooth operation and success. It encompasses various forms of communication, including verbal, nonverbal, written, and digital, and occurs at multiple levels within a business.

When it comes to communication, especially business communication, the 7Cs of Communication must be considered to ensure that the sender conveys and receives the message properly and precisely. 

Understanding the 7C’s of Communication 

The 7C’s of Communication provides a checklist to ensure that your emails, whether for a sales campaign, regarding an invoice, or resignation, are constructed in the proper format and are well-structured. So, here’s what 7C’s of Communication stands for: 

1. Clear 

As the term speaks for itself, the message regarding any communication should be crystal clear. You should be clear about why you are writing an email message, and it should be conveyed in the first line so the reader also understands what the email is all about. 

Look at the email example, for instance: 

Dear John, 

I'd like to write a brief email about Joe, who works in your department. He’s a great asset, and I'd like to talk more about him in detail whenever you are free. 

Best Regards, 

Samantha

When you read this email, many questions come to the reader’s mind: first, what is this email all about? Second, if there are many Joe’s in John’s department, to whom is this referring? Thirdly, what is Joe’s doing that makes him a great asset? 

With all these questions in mind, John must write back to get clear details. Now, let’s see how this email could have become clearer: 

Dear John, 

I am writing to discuss Joe Williamson, who works in your department. He has helped the IT department meet pressing deadlines in the past few weeks. 

We have another such project that needs to be completed within 3 months, and I would like to know if we could have his help. His skills and experience are invaluable to this project.

Let’s talk whenever you are free. Let me know when it is best to discuss this with you. 

Regards, 

Samantha. 

Now, this example explains all the details clearly and gives John an idea of what needs to be done. He needs to reply within a time frame to discuss the issue further. 

2. Concise 

This aspect of business communication highlights the need for conciseness. All unnecessary details, especially filler content, should be eliminated. 

It is essential to understand that no one has time to read an entire three-paragraph message. It is best to shorten the message to two or one paragraph. You can discuss things later via video call or face-to-face meeting. If you don’t know how to write an email, you can utilize AI tools that can draft an email message within one minute and polish it before sending it.  

3. Concrete 

The message should be concrete, meaning it should have enough details so your audience gets an idea of what it is all about. For instance, let’s take a look at this advertising copy: 

The Children’s Lunchbox will save you energy every day. 

This sentence won’t help sell many products because the audience cannot understand what the Children’s Lunchbox is about and how it will save their energy. Since it doesn’t give much information or context, the audience will likely be least interested or excited to know more about the project. 

Now, take a look at this copy: 

Are you always confused about what to cook for your children’s lunchbox daily? Not anymore! The Children’s Lunchbox discusses 100 healthy, quick, and easy-to-make tasty recipes that simplify cooking! 

This advertising copy allows the audience to imagine that they can easily cook delicious food for their children in the morning by reading different recipes. 

4. Correct 

This term again speaks for itself and ensures the communication is correct. Whatever you are writing, ensure that there are no spelling mistakes, technical terms are used with the right context, and there are no grammatical errors. It is always better to cross-check your emails, whether you are sending them to HR for salary negotiation or to a stakeholder for a business proposal.  

5. Coherent 

Coherence is associated with consistency and flow. When writing a business email, ensure a flow and that all your points are relevant to the main topic. Again, let’s understand this point through an example: 

Dear Jessica, 

I am writing this email regarding the report you sent yesterday. I was going through it, and there were many grammatical errors. I have sent it forward to Michael to cross-check the important details, and he wanted to ensure you know about our department meeting this Friday. We’ll be creating the new employee handbook. 

Regards, 

Mona 

In this example, as you can see, first, we were discussing the errors in the report, and suddenly, the topic of discussion shifted to the meeting, which is scheduled for the coming Friday. There was no flow or consistency in this email message. Let’s see how we could make it more coherent: 

Dear Jessica, 

I am writing this email regarding the report you sent yesterday. As I was going through it, I found many grammatical errors. Nonetheless, I have forwarded the report to Michael, who will cross-check all the important details. Once it is good to go from his end, I’ll send you the report back to rectify all the grammatical errors and submit a polished version of the report. 

Regards, 

Mona. 

Notice that Friday’s meeting is not mentioned in this version because it should be another email. This email discusses the report and everything related to it only. Besides, it is easy for Jessica and Mona to share the report files in the same email thread. 

6. Complete 

The complete aspect of a business email message ensures that everything is mentioned completely. Let’s understand this with an example: 

Hello All, 

This is to remind you about the meeting we will have tomorrow. 

Regards, 

Sam 

This email is incomplete as the sender hasn’t mentioned any important details regarding the meeting, like what the meeting is all about, where the meeting is, and whether anyone needs to prepare anything. A complete email would look like: 

Hello All, 

This email is to remind everyone about tomorrow’s meeting in the second-level conference room to discuss the email marketing campaign for Black Friday. The meeting will start at 10 a.m., so ensure everyone is on time. Please let me know if anyone cannot attend due to prior commitments. 

Regards, 

Sam

This email explains every detail regarding tomorrow’s meeting. The senders are reminded of all the information and can prepare their day accordingly. 

7. Courteous 

Courteous means that your emails should address the senders in a friendly, open, transparent, and humble manner. No insults or passive-aggressive tones should be used in the email message, as these directly affect your professional image. 

Types of Business Communication

Business communication can be structured into various types and categories, each serving specific functions:

1. Verbal Communication

  • Includes face-to-face meetings, video conferences, and telephone calls.
  • Allows for immediate feedback and real-time interaction.

2. Non-verbal Communication

  • Encompasses body language, proxemics (use of space), and other physical cues.
  • Supplements verbal communication by adding depth to the interaction.

3. Written Communication

  • Consists of emails, reports, memos, and letters.
  • Essential for creating permanent records and formal exchanges.

4. Visual Communication

  • Involves presentations, infographics, and videos.
  • Effective in conveying complex information through visual formats.

Understanding and implementing these types of business communication help organizations manage interactions efficiently and enhance overall operations.

Categories of Business Communication

There are several key features of business communication and a variety of forms of communication, including verbal, nonverbal, and written. Written communication can include emails, reports, instant messages, charts, newsletters, and more. 

Businesses often utilize all 3 forms of communication to intimate their goals and strategies, enhance their collaboration efforts, and streamline the workforce and its management. 

There are also two main types of communication channels. Let's examine two different channels of business communication. 

1.  Internal Communication

  • Top-Down Communication: Information flows from the upper levels of the organizational hierarchy to the lower levels. This includes company policies, strategic goals, and feedback.
  • Bottom-Up Communication: Feedback and information flow from the lower and higher levels of the organizational hierarchy. This includes employee suggestions, reports, and performance data.
  • Horizontal Communication: Information sharing among peers or colleagues at the same organizational level. This is crucial for team collaboration and departmental coordination.

2.  External Communication

  • Client and Customer Communication: Interacting with clients and customers to address their needs, provide services, and maintain relationships is crucial for business communication. Effective customer communication can increase satisfaction, revenue, and customer loyalty.
  • Supplier and Partner Communication: Businesses must coordinate with suppliers, partners, and other external stakeholders to ensure smooth operations, manage supply chains, and foster partnerships. Establishing transparent and bilateral communication channels can help you achieve these goals. 
  • Public Relations is another form of business communication that involves managing the company’s brand image and reputation through media relations, public statements, and community engagement

Why is Business Communication Important?

Business communication enables the flow of information, supports collaboration, and cultivates a culture of transparency. By prioritizing effective communication, businesses can enhance their operations, drive growth, and achieve long-term success. Here are some more important examples of effective business communication. 

1. Enhances Decision-Making

Clear and concise communication ensures that all stakeholders have the necessary information to make informed, data-driven decisions. It also helps make decisions proactively, ensuring smooth operations across the organization. 

2.  Boosts Employee Engagement

Open channels of communication create a sense of transpare`ncy and trust, leading to higher employee satisfaction and engagement rates. Furthermore, it also makes the employee feel protected and valued in their workplace.

3. Improves Efficiency

Streamlined communication processes reduce misunderstandings and errors, leading to more efficient operations. By establishing a clear hierarchy of business communication, organizations can set up policies and appropriate channels for addressing concerns in case of emergencies. 

4. Strengthens Relationships

Effective communication builds strong relationships with clients, customers, and partners, which can lead to increased business opportunities. Furthermore, it can help build a strong cross-functional collaboration, allowing different departments to work together on common goals efficiently.

5. Improves Productivity

One of the major drains of workplace productivity is miscommunication or unclear communication. Ensuring a structured and transparent platform for communication to manage your workflow by delegating tasks, taking updates, and giving feedback, among others, becomes more efficient. It can lead to optimum utilization of your resources and understanding areas of improvement.  

What are Communication Tools?

Now that we know what is business communication, it's important to recognize strategies and methods to leverage to establish structured communication procedures in the workplace. 

Business communication tools, which refer to the software and applications that facilitate the internal and external transmission of information, are one such method. These tools enable employees to connect, collaborate, and communicate through various channels such as messaging, email, video conferencing, workflow management platforms, and phone calls. The effectiveness of these business communication tools can impact operations and overall productivity.

Choosing the right communication tools for your business can be challenging. Whether for internal collaboration or external interactions, the right applications can transform your business and assist you with better resource management. 

How to Setup Your Business Communication Process?

A reliable and solid business communication process is essential to keep your employees and customers happy. Besides, it leads to financial stability as well. Around 29% of employees report that the internal business communication tools do not work effectively, and the possible reasons are lack of transparency, organizational silos, information overload, and sometimes even the absence of a solid communication channel.

Besides, according to an Apollo Technical report, around 86% of employees and executives think that improper communication channels and ineffective communication are the main reasons behind workplace failures.

To avoid such things happening at your workplace, here is how you can set up a proper business communication process for your small business: 

Step 1. Conduct an audit. 

Conducting an audit helps to find the most crucial area that requires improvement at the instant. Here are some situations that require a quick solution: 

  1. Lower personnel satisfaction or high turnover 
  2. Decreased productivity outputs across the organization
  3. Quick growth, leading to losing track of information 
  4. Lack of transparency due to remote work

By analyzing what situation needs urgent attention, you can deploy the most appropriate solutions. Based on the situation, you can create your goals, such as employee satisfaction rates, customer satisfaction rates, and improved interactions across departments. 

Step 2. Identify the main groups in your organization.  

Consider your organization structure and all the groups involved in its ability to function to find a reliable business communication tool. You classify on the following basis:

  1. Horizontal classification, like sales, marketing, accounting, finance, customer support, human resources, design, and other departments 
  2. Vertical classification, like managers, team leaders, department heads, executives 
  3. External groups, like customers, suppliers, and partners

After analyzing the structure, you will have to map out how the different departments communicate to get things done. You can ask different questions, like:

  1. Which teams and employees need to talk to whom daily? Similarly, consider which teams need to connect weekly, biweekly, and monthly.
  2. What type of communication happens when there’s an ongoing crisis?
  3. How do managers and team leaders communicate with their teams?
  4. Can a knowledge library reduce the back-and-forth associated with communication?
  5. What projects need approval from other people in the company, and how are approvals requested or facilitated?

The answer to these questions accurately reflects the number of emails, messages, calls, meetings, and documents required to ensure seamless communication.  

Step 3. Define channels of communication. 

The next step is to find the best communication methods that align with your company goals and help you overcome the challenges. Some common modes of communication are web-based communication, telephone meetings, face-to-face meetings, reports and official documents, surveys, forum boards and FAQs, and presentations.

The decision to choose an appropriate communication channel depends on the team. For instance, if your organization is a five-member start-up, you will have face-to-face meetings, web communications, reports, and official documents. However, a team of 50 members working remotely will require phone, email, and video conferencing tools, presentations, messaging, and other such tools.

Step 4. Select the right tool.

Once you have identified the mode of communication channel, then you will have to select the right tool to implement in your operations. Here are some tips to keep in mind: 

  1. Use cloud storage to preserve all the documents and create a backup in case there is a mishap and you lose all the critical information. 
  2. Choosing a single tool for chat messaging, like some people use WhatsApp and others use Slack in the organization, can lead to problems in establishing transparent and quick communication. 
  3. Use a single email platform to create employees' email IDs with your business's custom domain and to access their calendars to schedule meetings. 
  4. implement easy-to-use and robust VoIP phone systems if many meetings happen remotely.

Step 5. Document the process.

Note everything and document the process so you have a well-established guidebook that anyone can use to learn about the communication process and tools that the company is using. 

What Problems Does Business Communication Resolve?

Here’s the list of problems that business communication resolves: 

  1. Email overload can distract employees, so a central business communication system allows employees to reduce digital distractions. 
  2. Silos can form when teams, managers, and employees aren’t able to share data seamlessly. 
  3. Poor communication with the remote team. 
  4. Low employee engagement and turnover. 

Best 5 Tools for Work Communication 

The right business communication tools are essential for maintaining productivity, collaboration, and employee satisfaction in a robust and adaptable work environment. Here are the top five tools for work communication that stand out for their features, usability, and overall impact on business operations.

1. Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 for businesses offers dynamic communication features beyond business email services. It also offers tools like Teams for easy collaboration, Microsoft Loop to create dedicated workspaces, and SharePoint to share files and other information effectively. Moreover, Microsoft 365 allows you to host virtual meetings and create team calendars and schedules for effective task management. 

Key Features:

  • Chat and Messaging: Real-time messaging with direct messages and group chats.
  • Video Conferencing: High-quality video calls and meetings with screen sharing and virtual backgrounds.
  • File Sharing: Seamless integration with OneDrive and SharePoint for file storage and sharing.
  • Collaboration: Comes integrated with Office 365 apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for collaborative editing.

2. Slack

Slack is a popular messaging, collaboration, and automation platform that facilitates team communication and productivity. It is known for its intuitive interface and powerful integrations with other tools. Furthermore, its features, including multimedia file sharing, workflow builder, and creating Huddles, make it one of the best business communication tools available. 

Key Features:

  • Channels: Organize conversations into channels by topic, project, or team.
  • Direct Messaging: Private messages and group chats for focused communication.
  • Integrations: Connects with over 2,600 apps, including Google Drive, Trello, and Zoom.
  • File Sharing: Easily share and collaborate on documents within Slack.

3. Zoom

Zoom is a leading video conferencing tool that gained massive popularity for its ease of use and reliability, especially during the rise of remote work. However, it offers more than just online meeting tools. It also offers an enterprise solution to level up your workflow with collaboration tools like Whiteboard, dedicated spaces for workspace reservation and visitor management, and Workvivo for employee engagement. 

Key Features:

  • Video Meetings: High-definition video and audio meetings with up to 1,000 participants.
  • Employee Engagement: With Workvivo, you can create digital signage, live streams, and podcasts, as well as share goals and feeds, to keep your employees engaged and aware of the company’s activities. 
  • Breakout Rooms: Divide meeting participants into smaller groups for focused discussions.
  • Feedback Gathering: Workvivo also allows you to gather employee feedback, conduct surveys, create dashboards, and analyze various analytics.  

4. Asana

Asana is a project management tool that helps teams organize their work, track progress, and collaborate on various projects effectively. Furthermore, it provides cross-functional team engagement, improves your email marketing efforts with robust campaign management, and offers workflow automation with its AI, which is still in beta testing and will be released soon. 

Key Features:

  • Task Management: You can create tasks and subtasks for your team and track them.
  • Project Timelines: Visualize project timelines with Gantt charts and calendar views.
  • Collaboration: Comment on tasks, share updates and attach files.
  • Integrations: Connects with tools like Slack, Google Drive, and Microsoft Teams.

5. Trello

Trello is one of the most flexible project management and business communication tools. It offers boards, lists, and cards to give you an insight into your team's workflow. Moreover, with brainstorming sessions, project management tools, and a dedicated resource hub to help your team access important information without any hassle. 

Key Features:

  • Boards and Cards: Visualize projects with boards containing lists and cards.
  • Drag-and-Drop Interface: Easily move tasks between different stages of completion.
  • Collaboration: Assign tasks, comment on cards, and attach files for seamless collaboration.
  • Integrations: Connects with tools like Slack, Google Drive, and Jira.

Neo’s Rating: Comparison Table

Let’s look at the standout features of these business communication tools to help you choose the one that suits your organization the best. We will rate them based on their features, functionality, and usability.

Tool Rating Reviews Features
Microsoft 365 4.2/5 Microsoft Office 365 is known for its robust integration with other Microsoft products, making it an ideal choice for businesses already familiar with the Microsoft desktop productivity suite. Its comprehensive features make it suitable for both small teams and large enterprises - Comprehensive productivity suite, custom email domain support, advanced security
Slack 4.5/5 Slack’s user-friendly design and extensive app integrations make it a versatile tool for various business needs. Its channel-based organization helps teams keep discussions structured and accessible - Dedicated chat spaces, Huddle feature, Easy integration with third-party apps
Zoom 4.4/5 Zoom is praised for its high-quality video and audio, making it a top choice for virtual meetings and webinars. Its reliability and scalability make it suitable for both small businesses and large enterprises. - Easy video conferencing infrastructure - Workvivo for employee engagement - Create various dashboards and gain content analytics
Asana 4.6/5 Asana’s project management capabilities are highly regarded for keeping teams organized and on track. Its visual project planning tools help teams manage deadlines and dependencies efficiently. - In-depth project management tools and support - Streamlined team collaboration - Seamlessly integrates with your native platform
Trello 4.5/5 Trello’s simple and intuitive interface makes it easy for teams to adopt and use. Its visual approach to project management is particularly beneficial for teams that prefer a more hands-on, interactive method of organizing their work. - Intuitive insight into workflow - Whiteboard collaboration and brainstorming session organizations - A resource hub for easy access to company information

Wrapping up

Choosing the right communication tools for your business can significantly enhance productivity, collaboration, and employee satisfaction. Each tool offers unique features and benefits, making it easier for businesses to find the perfect fit for their needs. 

Investing in these tools will help ensure your team stays connected, engaged, and productive, no matter where they work. Besides that, all the tools can easily integrate with your email platform, whether Zoho Mail or Neo. 

Suppose you are looking for a vibrant and adaptive email platform that can help you streamline your email communication with robust email marketing tools, read receipts features, and a custom domain for email correspondence. In that case, Neo is the right choice for you. Sign up for Neo and integrate any tools on our list for easy collaboration and streamlined communication channels. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Are these tools suitable for remote teams?

Yes, these business communication tools are designed to support remote teams, offering features like video conferencing, real-time messaging, and project management.

Q2. Can these tools integrate with other software?

Most of these tools offer extensive integrations with popular software and apps, enhancing their functionality and convenience.

Q3. Do these tools offer free versions or trials?

Many of these tools offer free versions or trials, allowing teams to test their features before committing to a paid plan.

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