Chapter 1: Professional Business Communication
Communication is the process of understanding and sharing meaning (Pearson & Nelson, 2000). It’s an activity, skill, and art that incorporates lessons learned across a wide spectrum of human knowledge. You communicate everyday without thinking about that process: from the conversation with your family in the morning, reading a news article on your phone, ordering coffee, participating in class, texting your friends — communication is a primary skill you’ve been practising since birth!
Perhaps the most common and time-honoured form of communication is storytelling. Humans have told each other stories for ages to help make sense of their world, anticipate the future, and certainly to entertain themselves. The art of storytelling draws on your understanding of yourself, your message, and how you communicate it to an audience that is simultaneously communicating back to you. Your anticipation, reaction, and adaptation to the process will determine how successfully you are able to communicate. L earning to communicate well also requires you to read and study how others have expressed themselves, then adapt what you have learned to your present task—whether it is writing an email, presenting your qualifications in a job interview, or writing a business report.
You were not born knowing how to write or even how to talk — but in the process of growing up, you have undoubtedly learned how to tell, and how not tell, a story out loud and in writing. All effective communication takes preparation, practice, and persistence.
There are many ways to learn communication skills; the school of experience, or “hard knocks,” is one of them. But in the business environment, a “knock” (or lesson learned) may come at the expense of your credibility through an ineffective presentation to a client. The classroom environment, with information and resources such as a textbook, can offer you a practice opportunity. During practice, you get to try out new ideas and skills before you have to use them to communicate effectively to make a sale or form a new partnership. Listening to yourself, or perhaps the comments of others, may help you reflect on new ways to present, or perceive, thoughts, ideas, and concepts. The net result is your growth; ultimately your ability to communicate in business will improve, opening more doors than you might anticipate.
The material in this text will help give you the skills, confidence, and preparation to use communication in furthering your career.
Open Textbook Design
This open textbook is designed in 12 chapters featuring a spectrum of current and relevant Canadian business communication topics.
In chapters 2 to 12 of this open textbook you will be introduced to three business professionals in three different disciplines as follows:
Each of these professionals encounters communications successes and challenges in their everyday work, and their stories will be featured as reflection guidance through the textbook.
In addition, each chapter will provide learning outcomes, a list of chapter topics (Chapter Preview), “Check your Knowledge” quizzes, a chapter glossary, and additional resources.
Chapter 1 Learning Outcomes
- Recognize the importance of communication.
- Define communication the communication process.
- Identify and describe the eight essential components of communication.
- Explore the different contexts affecting communication.
- Discuss the responsibilities of a business communicator.
- What is Communication?
- The Communication Process
- Eight Essential Components of Communication
- Why is it important to communicate well?
- Communication in Context
- Your Responsibilities as a Communicator