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BOOK REVIEW

Communication for Business


A Practical Approach
4th Edition

Book review by:


Book review by: Sigridur T. PETURSDOTTIR
s.petursdottir@toulouse-bs.org
October 2012

COMMUNICATION
Communication may be defined as:
Communication
giving,
receiving or exchanging
information, opinions or ideas by
writing, speech or visual means, so
that the message communicated is
completely understood by the
recipient(s), Shirley Taylor.

Communication it the heart of every


organisation, Shirley Taylor.
All day, every day, we are
communicating, Shirley Taylor.

Communication may be defined


Publisher: PEARSON Longman
Date: 2005
Subject: Communication
Author: Shirley Taylor
ISBN-10: 0 273 68765 4
ISBN-13: 978 0 273 69765 8

Keywords
Communication, Business, Telecommunication, Internal Communication,
Public Relations, Persuasive Communication

About the author


Shirley Taylor has established herself as a leading authority in
business writing and communication skills. She is the author of several
popular, best-selling books. For example; Model Business Letters, Emails & Other Business Documents, 6th edition.
Shirley is a trained teacher from the UK and took up her first teaching
post in Singapore in 1983. She has also worked as a Head of
Department and Senior Lecturer in Bahrain, Arabian Gulf, as well as in
Canada and the UK, where she worked for many years.
For more information visit her website: www.shirleytaylor.com

Shirley Taylor is the


author of several
popular, best-selling
books.

This book aims to:

Stimulate interest in the use of business


English so that it can be written more
accurately, clearly and concisely.

Provid specimen layouts of all business


documents.

Discuss essential theory on each topic to help


develop understanding.

Offer a wide range of authentic documents for


interes and reference.

Supply a variety of assignments to


reinforce learning.

Help readers to develop confidence


and expertise in composing effective
business communication.

Highlit common errors in spelling and


written expressions, to clarify effective
business communication.

Make learning fun!

Main ideas
1. The nature of Communication
All day, every day we are communicating. Communication is the heart of every organisation.
Everything you do in the workplace results from communication. Therefore good reading, wirting,
speaking and listening skills are essential if tasks are going to be competed and goals achieved.
2. Business Letters
Communication with people oudsite your organisation is vitally important. This is your means of
establishing contact with the outside world. Despite the many modern communication methods
available today, business letters are still often the main means of establishing business relations with
other organisations.

3. Telecommunication
Businesses today operate in a highly competitive market in which hig-speed communication and
information transfer I essentional. Most of the activities in todays offices are electronic, using
computer based technology. For example; Fax and email.

4. Internal Communication
Internal Communication is very important in every organisation. Important tools in internal
communication are for example; Memos, reports and meetings. Memo is a written communication
form from one person to another (or a group of people) within the same organisation. Reports are a
very important method of gaining and giving information. Although many reports are presented orally,
reports are usually presented in writing. Many meetings take place in business and an effective
meeting is an efficient tool in the communication process.

5. Persuasive Communication

Quotes

Many communication in business call for a persuasive approach. Circulars, sales letters, press releases,
notices - they all attempt to influence the reader in some way. Composition of persuasive documents is a
demandin skill. It depends as much on marketing and sales skills as on language ability.
The public relations (PR) function in any organisation is usually carried out by staff who have specialised in
this sector. PR is all about the relationship between the organisation and the general public through the
mass media, e.g. newspapers, television, radio, information services and sponsorship. Important tools for
PR people are for example; News releases and press conferences.

All day, every day we are communicating the more we write and the more we
speak, the more we improve our communication skills, Shirley Taylor.
The key to effective communication is ensuring that your message is understood,
Shirley Taylor.
Your aim should be to try to treat people not in the way you wish to be treated, but
rather treat them the way they want to be treated, Shirley Taylor.
Communication is a two-way process. Listening is just as important as speaking.

Summary
1.

The nature of communication

We are always communicating. Whether it is talking people on the telephone or in person, taking
dictation and transcribing business correspondance, liaising with colleagues and staff, writing letters,
faxes, reports and emails. It is essential to learn from our communications. The most successful
organisations understand that if they are to be successful in todays business world, good
communications at all levels is essential.
Effective communication will help you to:

Get a job

Do your job

Keep you job

Earn promotions

Communication is the heart of every organisation. Everything you do results from communication.
Therefore the communication skills of the employees are very important. Lets look at some
communication skills:

Oral communication skills: In your business life you will probably spend much more of your time
talking and listening to your colleagues and clients than you will writing and reading.

Speaking skills: To make sure the the understanding is complete and effective, your spoken
language needs to be chosen carefully.

Listening skills: Listening is half of the oral communication, and it is a skill that needs to be
practised and taken equally as seriously as speaking an writing. All effective leaders and managers
realise the importance of aquiring good listening skills.

Intercultural sensitvities
When communicating we have to be aware of cultural
differences and be sensitive to them. When you communicate
with someone from a different culture, you do so using the
theories and beliefs of your own culture. However, when your
audience receives your message, they do so based on the
assumptions
of
their
own
culture.
As
a
result,
misunderstandings could easily occur.
People can improve their communication skills by recognising
cultural differences, be willing to accept that other people
have different beliefs and assumption, by being open mind ed
and not to pre-judge. Your aim should be to treat people the
way they want to be treated not in the way you would like to
be treated.

It is all about understanding

Communication, whether oral or written, is all about understanding. Your aim should be to communicate
your message successfully so that it is received as you intended, without any misunderstanding. You can
achieve effective communication by following theese steps:

1.

What and why?


What is your objective and why do you have to communicate the message?

2.

Select channel
When communicating, whether it is internally or externally it is important to carefully decide
what channel to use. The channel means how you are going to send the message. Through oral
channels, written channels or electronic channels. When choosing channels you have to think
about what outcome you want. For example; if your message is fairly simple and you need
immediate respons you will use oral channels. When your message is fairly detailed or requires
careful planning and you dont need immediate response you will use written channels. When
speed is important and you are maybe in a different time zone you should use electronic
channels.

3.

Select encoding technique


Encoding means choosing the manner in which we send our message. For example the
language you choose, the tone of your voice etc. The language you use is important. The
English should be simple, courteous, relaxed and straightforward.

4.

Consider barriers
You have to consider all possible barriers that may influence the recipients understanding of
the message. If the barriers are likely to interfere with the recipients understanding, you
might need to return to step 1 or 2.

5.

Send the message


Having gone through the other steps you can send the message.

6.

Check for understanding


After sending the message it is important to check whether the recipient has understood the
message as you intended.

7.

Obtain feedback from recipient


This step is essential! You must optain feedback from the recipient so that you know if your
communication has been effective.

2.

Business letters

Communication with people outside your organisation is vitally important. This is your means of
establishing contact with the outside world.
Business letters are an ambassador for your company, so a good first impression is essential. The four
key areas for a business letters are:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Printed stationery
Presentation
Structure
Language and tone

There are many different catergories of business letters. For example:

Letter of confirmation
Acknowledgement
Enquiry
Complaint
Collection letters

Business letters can be written in a much more relaxed style then the were decades ago. Your aim should
be to put across your message naturally, in a friendly, informal style. You should use plain language as if
you were having a conversation.

Key rules of good writing:

1.

Come straigt to the point

2.

KISS
That means; keep it short and simple!

3.

Use active not passive voice


Passive: The study was completed by the
marketing director.
Active: The marketing director completed
the study.

4.

Use modern language


Write as you speak. Dont use to
complecated language.

3.

Telecommunications

Business today operate in a highly competitive market in which high-speed communication and
imformation transfer is essential. Most of the activities in todays offices are electronic. We have for
example Electronic mail and Fax messages.
The advantages of E-mail

Saves a lot of time and effort in producing formal, printed


memos, faces and letters.
High speed send/reveive cycle
Direct input and retrieval from keyboard
Virtually instant despatch/retrieval
Simultaneous circulation to pre-selected groups
Other files can be attached to e-mails.

The advantages of Fax:

Inexpensive and essential


Transmits and receives any kind of message
Takes only short time to transmit a fax message

4 Internal communication
Internal communication is very important in every organisation. To make the internal communcation more
effective the employees have certain tools to use. Lets look at them:

1. MEMOS:
The memo is a written communication from one person to another within the same organistaion. They
serve a variety of purposes:

To
To
To
To

inform of decisions, actions, etc


remind someone of action required
provide information of any kind
request decisions, actions, etc

Memos are usually written in an informal style as you most likely know your recipients fairly well. You
should aim to put over your message as concisely as possible while still being courteous, clear, concise
and correct. Before writing a memo ther are some key points to remember. For example:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.

Make a plan before writing a memo


Use simple, clear language that the reader will understand
Give your memo an appropriate subject heading
Adopt a tone that reflects the status of the sender and the reader as well as the topic of the memo
Use lists and bullets where appropriate
Avoid unnecessary expressions like thank you and regards
Sign your memo in the usual way

2. REPORTS:
Many reports are written in business. They are a very important method of gaining and giving information.
Although many reports are presented orally, reports are usually presented in writing. Business reports
help companies to make decisions and solve problems.
Lets look at different examples of reports:

Routine reports
Special reports
Formal reports
Proposals

3. MEETINGS:

Many meetings take place in business and an effective


meeting is an efficient tool in the communication proccess.
Meetings enable face to face contact of a numer of people at
the same time. They provide a useful opportunity for sharing
information, making suggestions and proposals, taking decision
and optaining instant feedback. Employees can have different
types of meetings. For example; Formal meetings, informal
meetings or departmental meetings.

Meeting are used for a variety of purposes:

To
To
To
To
To
To

co-ordinate or arrange activities


report on some activity or experience
put forward ideas or grievances for discussion
give information to a group of people
optain assistance
create involvement and interest

Meetings probably account for 50-60% of a managers time in business. When they are conducted
efficiently, meetings are a very effective way of helping the decision making process, briefing teams,
exhanging information and problem-solving. However, it is a sad fact that many meetings in business are
unproductive because of poor management or because of being unsure of each individuals role in
meetings.

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5. Persuasive communication
Many communication in business call fo a persuasive approach. Circulars, sales letters, press releases,
advertisements and leaflets, allt theese are persuasvie documents because they try to influence the reader
in some way. Composition of persuasive documents is a demanding skill. It depends as much on
marketing and sales skill as on language ability.
One kind of persuasive communication is public relations.

Public relations (PR) is all about the relationship


between the organisation and the general public.
The job of the PR person is to be constantly on the
lookout for newsworthy events, products,
developments and human interest stories and then
turn them for example into:

A news release
A press conference
A photo opportunity for newspaper coverage
Corporate material for direct mailing
Briefing packs for potential customers
Free educational packs for schools and
colleges
The PR person is the link between the company and
the general public.

5.

Visual and oral communication

Visual presentation of information is having an increasing impact on our lives. It is beneficial for many
reason. For example:

Complex facts and figures can be much mor easily absorbed


It adds impact to the information
It enables quicker understanding due to its simplified format

To ensure the effectiveness of the presentation, it is importand to select the most appropriate method.
There are many ways in which information can be presented:

Tabulated data
Line graphs
Pie charts
Gantt charts

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Comments
This book aims to get people to improve their communication skills. Everyone can improve their
communication skills, says Shirley Taylor in the book. That is exactly what the book has done for me.
This book is a very good book for people who want to learn more about communication. That is what I
wanted to do and that is what I did. The book teaches the reader everything from how to communicate
with people from different culture to how to write a business letter and what lies in the job of the PR
person. The author takes the reader through the different ways of communicating, for example; which
channels to use, what language and tone etc.
There are many examples and project that you can solve in the book. It helps ther reader to get a better
and a deeper knowledge on the subject. You can learn how to write a business letter, a memo, what kind
of English to use to name a few.
After reading the book you can see the importance of communication. Good communication is essential for
all companies!

Example of the importance of communications:


Many companies have failed in China because of different ways in communcation. For example; Ebay and
Groupon. The companies go in the country with their believes and try to do the communication that way.
Many other examples exists that show the importance of good communication. In Iceland, during ther
cirsis, there were a lot of examples like that. Some employees heard about the collapse of their company
on the news to name something. That had a lot of effect on the people. Good internal communcation was
vital during that time.

To go further
Books:

Websites:
http://www.shirleytaylor.com

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