Introduction: Effective Business Communication

Linda Macdonald and Miguel King

To be an effective business communicator, you will need

  • an awareness of your core values and social identities,
  • skills in developing relationships with various audiences, and
  • techniques for organizing and designing your messages.

This textbook will move you forward in achieving these goals.

Identifying your core values helps you determine who you are at this time. As we age and experience new things, our values can shift. Have you ever watched someone speak and thought they were “fake” or insincere? This sense comes from our perception that the speaker’s words are not aligned with their true feelings and actions. Our core values are personal, but they also emanate from our social identities. If you are from a culture that celebrates collectivism, you may have adopted strong personal values around community and collaboration. If you are from an individualistic culture, you may have adopted the values of autonomy and self-reliance. Awareness of your personal and social identities helps you to communicate with authenticity. Awareness also helps you to identify similarities and differences between you and others so that you can find common ground while acknowledging areas that require inclusion, adaptation, or acceptance. Part 1 is dedicated to this awareness.

In addition to awareness of your core values and social identity, effectiveness in communication depends on your skills in developing relationships. In this textbook, we develop these skills through knowledge of rhetorical devices. This knowledge can be applied to oral and written forms of communication. Part 2 focuses on why and how to apply your knowledge in communicating with various business audiences.

In applying knowledge to oral and written forms, you will need techniques for arranging and designing information. These practical techniques help your audience understand and accept your message. The selection of appropriate techniques is an illustration of your skill in developing business relationships through communication. Part 3 focuses on techniques used in oral communication, and Part 4 focuses on techniques for written communication.

As you work through the textbook, you will be asked to engage with the ideas through readings, videos, practice writings, and self-assessments. You will move through the textbook differently from the way you move through traditional textbooks. You will, for example, sometimes move and click between videos, slide decks, written text, and Check Your Knowledge questions.

You may also notice that the authors of chapters vary. Some chapters are modifications of existing work by other Pressbooks authors. Other chapters feature student writers who have contributed to the textbook from their lived experience as Dalhousie University Commerce Co-op students. This textbook changes as the business environment and the needs of our students change. We invite you to participate as readers and future collaborators.

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Building Relationships With Business Communication by Linda Macdonald and Miguel King is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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