Why Business Communication Skills Are the New Currency

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Miscommunication can cost an organization $5,200 annually per employee, according to Skip Weisman, president of communication consultancy firm Weisman Success Resources Inc. For organizations with hundreds of thousands of employees, poor communication is a costly expense that can be minimized. Individuals across all levels of an organization – entry level, management and executive leadership – need to recognize common communication pitfalls and take steps to improve their business communication skills.

To learn more, check out the infographic below created by the Rider University Online Master of Business Communication program.

How effective communication can be key to creating a positive workplace environment.

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Business Communication Costs and Expectations

The estimated annual cost of poor communication for companies with 100 employees is $420,000; for companies with 100,000, that number rises to $62.4 million.

Communication at Work

Employees spend an average of 4.1 hours each day checking email, and more than three-quarters of employees check their work email while on vacation. However, more than three-quarters of organizations believe email is no longer a viable tool for effective communication.
Nonetheless, roughly one-fourth of workers feel pressured to respond to work communication outside work hours. Texting is also a big work tool, as 80% of professionals use texting for work purposes.

Employee Expectations for Communication

A 2019 survey of 1,001 U.S. employees by Dynamic Signal found 90% of employees believe good communication is key to a positive workplace environment, and 80% experience stress over ineffective company communication. 63% of those polled have also considered quitting their jobs because poor communication interfered with their ability to work. The majority of polled employees feel companies fail here – 60% would not recommend keeping their CEOs due to poor communication, and 52% have seen poor communication lead to poor financial outcomes.

Benefits of Clear and Effective Communication

There are numerous pluses to quality communication. These include greater productivity, improved morale, lower turnover rates, and a stronger company culture.

10 Common Communication Mistakes and Pitfalls

Professionals across all levels of an organization are prone to making communication mistakes. To develop strong communication skills, it’s important to recognize and correct poor communication habits.

For instance, using non-specific terms like “ASAP” and “urgent” don’t offer a clear deadline. Offering negative instructions is also not good, as it doesn’t provide guidance for future behavior. Additionally, using “but” after a compliment negates any prior positive feedback. Professionals should also be aware of tone and body language when engaging employees. Being unfocused and distracted is another issue, as it makes other feel less valuable. A lack of directness can also be detrimental since it delays confrontation. Additionally, professionals should respond to situations instead of reacting to them with anger and frustration. Also, assuming a message was understood can lead to issues. Professionals should also stay focus on what they need to say. Finally, professionals need to be wary of making the same communication tactics rote.

Tips and Advice for Effective Business Communication

There are many leaders, managers and employees can improve their communication skills. There are numerous ways for them to do so.

For instance, it’s crucial that professionals clearly define the “why” behind a project or organization’s goals. It’s also important to make communication a priority without assuming clear communication habits will just occur naturally. Additionally, it’s important to understand the communication preferences and personalities of co-workers and managers and adapt communication to fit their style.

Another way to improve business communication is to be mindful of nonverbal communication elements such as posture and eye contact. The use of storytelling and nonverbal cues are also important tactics to utilize, as they make what’s being said more memorable. Additionally, active listening naturally demonstrates a genuine interest to the other person’s thoughts and contributions and will give professionals greater insight into how to respond. Professionals should also take accountability for miscommunication, as employees respect managers and leaders who accept responsibility for communication and mistakes.

It can also be crucial to create an internal stakeholder map, as this can allow leaders to clearly understand how information flows throughout an organization and are responsible for ensuring each employee receives the same message. Additionally, being authentic with a fellow employee can go a long way in cultivating good communication and a sense of employee loyalty. Finally, it’s important to regularly practice self-awareness, reflecting on relationships that need extra attention.

Conclusion

Learning how to adapt to others’ communication styles and preferences will inevitably teach professionals more about their own communication habits and help them identify areas of improvement. The benefits of developing effective communication skills extend well beyond the workplace, enriching all areas of an individual’s life.