AQA Applied business unit 5

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  • Created on: 25-05-13 10:34

Business Communications

Types of communitction

Poor communication - costly mistakes, poor decision-making and tasks not being undertaken. 

good communication enables:

  • effective messages to be sent to customers 
  • correct orders to be sent to suppliers 
  • employess to know what they are ment to be doing. 
  • good decision making 
  • improved motivation and industrial relations 
  • accurate gathering of information 
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Business Communications...

Formal communications

formal communication are interactions or exchanges that takes place using an organisation's approved channels of communication. The communication is documented, traceable and follows an ordered structure. It can be writtern (letter) or verbal (face-to-face interview) but communication will have a defined role and purpose. 

Informal communications

informal communication take place outside an organisation's recognised communication channels and methods. Include communications that have no specific order, structure or traceability, although they might still impart useful conversations, telephone calls, messages on notice boards and unofficial meetings. 


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Business Communications...

Internal communications 

communication must be in a way that information flows freely through an organisation & reaches the people who need to act on it. Large amount of internal communication takes place through face-to-face or telephone conversations, but frequently a written record is required. It includes; memorandums, agendas, minutes and reports. 

Internal letters, papers and briefs

Notice boards and newsletters 

Bespoke documents 

Electronic communications 

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Business Communications...

External Communications 

Communications with customers, suppliers and other external bodies such as accountancy firms and government agencies are just as important as internal communication. Many communications (customer enquiry) take place informally, but others will require formal records. The public image and preception of a business is greatly influenced by the way in which it presents and mangers its external communication. This can affect:

  •  corporate image & reputation 
  • customer perception and sales figures 
  • the ability to attract potential employees 
  • the organinsations ability to attract potential investors or to secure finance. 

It is important that business choose the correct form of communication to reach the target audience. Formal communication includes advertising, press releases and annual reports, as well as more individualised communication such as letters.

  • Letters 
  • Forms 
  • Other formats
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Communication Methods

Confidentiality

All business need to be aware that they hold potentially sensitive information that needs to be kept confidential. 

  • Confidential communication - exchanges of information that need to be kept private/ restricted 
  • Non Confidential communication - open communications where anyboady is allowed access to the information. 

Most business possess information about employees and customers that should be kept confidential. However much detailed knowledge about a business's own operation should be restricted to select individuals who have a need to know and act on the information. This includes:

  • financial information e.g. bank details
  • confidential meterials about products or new product development 
  • job application forms
  • market research data 
  • information on structual change in the business 
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Communication Methods

Access to sensitive information needs to be restricted to those employees who need to know it for operational reasons. Confindential can be maintained by passwords protecting files/documents, having restricted access areas, or by using sealed and marked envelopes. other policies could be ensuring that computer monitor re not left switched on displaying information, or locking workstations where employees are away from their post. 

Failure to take proper steps to keep sensitve information confidentail can be costly. 

Not all information is confidential.Many aspects about a business - information about the availability of its products. 

Methods of communication:

  • Letters 
  • Memorandums 
  • Agendas 
  • Minutes 
  • Reports 
  • Notices 
  • Itineraries 
  • Schedules 
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More communication methods

Verbal communication

Most communication in any business setting is verbal. This communication ranges from face-to-face discussions, meetings and interviews to telephone calls and video conferences. 

Verbal communication has some advantages over written communications. They are quick and cost effective, and a considerable amount of information can be exchanged rapidly. Verbal communication also has the advantage of being almost instantaneous - there is very little delay between exchanges of information. The recipient can respond immediately and seek clarification if anything is not understood. 

  • One-to-one discussions 
  • Meetings 
  • Interviews 
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More communication methods

Non-verbal Communication 

'Action speak louder than words?' In person-to-person communications, messages are sent on 2 levels. 1. verbal language 2. non-verbal signals including facial expressions, eye contact, tone of voice, body posture and movements. NV also include way we wear clothes, where we position ourselves in a group, and, sometimes, just keeping silent. 

NV communication can help in reinforcing any verbal message ans aaaiat in putting across its meaning and importance. They can also help put customers and employees t ease. Somefiels trains it employess to use the acronym GUEST:

G - Greet the customer 

U - understand the customers needs

E - Eye contact 

S - Smile 

T- Thank the customer 

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More communication methods

  • Expression 
  • Body language 
    • Posture
    • physical contact 
    • gestures
  • Graphs, charts and pictures
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Exchanging information

Choosing the medium 

The most important aspect of communication is that the recipient is able to understand the messahe, interpret its underlying tone and act on the communication accordingly. However, it is also important that the communication is made in the most effecient and cost-effective way, taking into consideration any need for speed, confidentiality and security. 

The medium used to send the communication and look at the advantages and disadvantages of various mediums. These are several factors to be considered when determining the most appropriate medium of exchanging communications:

  • Cost of the communication method 
  • Ease of use of the method chosen 
  • Accessibility of any information sent by the chosen method
  • Accuracy of the method
  • Time taken for the communication exchange 
  • Confidentiality and Security of the information 

some methods of communication can be quick & cost effective, but they may not be suitable if the recipient cannot access the information. 

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Exchanging information

  • Post 
  • E-mail
  • Video Coferencing 
  • Internet 
  • Intranets 
  • Face-to-face communication 
  • Telephone 
  • Print advertising 

Communication design

First impressions count - type, design, layout and first visual impressions. Companies spend considerable time and effort ensuring presentation communication is effective. 

The manner in which the communication i presented is vital in portraying the right image and emphasising the message it wishes to convey. (font size, bold,layout, colour and italics- key points) 

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Information systems and flow

In any organisation, information can flow downwards, upwards or horizontally across the different hierarchal or management levels. 

Directors and management must be able to inform subordinates of company aim, objectives and polices. These downloads communication tend to be for giving instructions, keeping employees infromed and up to date, and making checks. 

Information also needs to flow in the opposite direction, as subordinations discuss matters with superiors. Communication - feedback on progress, confirmation of activites and task, and asking for clarification. 

Upwards and downwards communication often takes place at the same time, although face-to-face meetings and variety of formal and informal exchanges. 

Horizontal communication takes place across a business. information and instructions often need to be passed from one area to another/one department to another employees on the same level of hierarchy. Enables information to flow around as well as through a company. 

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Information systems and flow

Types of information

Qualitative information

Cannot be expressed in numercial terms. Business can collect a considerable amount of qualitative information on issues such as customer opinions and prefernces. this type of information helps a business understand its staff and customers and develop  its product. It results from investigation into people's likes and dislikes and the motivation behind buying behaviour. Also employees motivation. QI may be generated through:

  • Consumer panels/ focus groups 
  • Observation of behavioural patterns 
  • Surveys and questionnaires 

Quantitative information

can be expressed numerically - value that can be measured e.g. size of population/volume of sales in the market.QL much easier to manipulate and process, (IT system). QL can be processed & anaysed to find historic trends,size of market, seasonal variations/ operational factors e.g. productivity rates/ level of staff absences. QL can also be extrapolated to provide predicitions of likely future outcomes. 

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Information systems and flow

Information Processing 

  • Storing information 
  • Process information 
  • Retrieving data 
  • Information dissemination 
  • Validation and Verifiction 
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Business Software

IT in business

Most business large or small need to consider computering aspects of their operations. When managed properly, computerisation provides: 

  • increased efficiency in work tasks and process 
  • better communications with staff and customers 
  • imprived financial management 
  • easier compleion of tax returns and payroll

There are some pitfalls to computerising system. it can be easy to overspend by buying software the company doesnt nees. There are unforeseen costs such as IT advice, printing costs & training. There are legal requirements and business needs to ensure that they comply with the data protection act and other legislation. 

To avoid there problems, the advice of business link is useful. it is important that companies analyse their IT needs accurately and the only purchase and use software applications that would be of real business benefits. 

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Business Software

Spreadsheets 

Word processing software 

Databases 

Graphics software 

Presentation software 

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The Data Protection Act

Protecting Privacy



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