Communication is the fuel that drives business. For business to function, people must work together to reach common goals. Such an end requires communication. Through communication, teams of people collaborate to share ideas, establish goals, and develop strategies. Consider any business, large or small: at any moment, managers in every business around the world respond to e-mail messages, write reports, draft memos, lead meetings, conduct interviews and participate in teleconferences. And others—employees, clients, supervisors—may not receive and perceive the message that was sent, thus impeding communication. Problems arise when employees lack an adequate understanding of the pillars of communication that ensure communication is carried out with purpose, understanding, honesty and safety in a legal and ethical manner.
What are the 6 Pillars of Communication?
What does it take for business communication to be successful? Regardless of your role in a business, for your communication to be successful, you must communicate with purpose, know your audience, have the resources in place to transmit your message and have it received without interference. You must also follow an ethical code and the laws that govern communication, work cooperatively to integrate diverse ideas and ensure that the communication of sensitive information is conveyed securely.
These six pillars are outlined below.
All communication needs a clearly defined purpose that specifies the objective and supporting information requirements for a particular assignment. Your purpose for a particular communication should define the situation and the need to be addressed. A clearly defined purpose will ensure you reach your objective by communicating the right information.
By defining a detailed purpose, you will be better prepared to identify the quantity and type of supporting information, facts and figures to make your case successful. Think of the purpose of your message as the foundation of a construction project. A poorly developed foundation will not support a building. Therefore, as you construct your purpose, identify and assess the data you need to support your argument or explain your topic. As you define your purpose and objectives, you will also need to consider the information needs of your audience. What sort of background data will your audience need? Will the audience trust the information sources you quote?
Each person belongs to a variety of groups that are based on shared customs, values, attitudes, knowledge, language and beliefs. In some instances, to avoid bias, it is wise to think of your audience as individuals, rather than as stereotypical members of some particular group. In other instances, it may make sense to localize your content or target your communication to specific groups. In these instances, the value of diversity outweighs the few challenges of communication. When addressing some audiences, if you target your message to specific groups, you may create the sense that you are sensitive to diversity and expert in your field.
Messages can be transmitted through oral or written communication. Traditional communication channels include face-to-face meetings, memos and letters. However, new communication channels, such as social media, webinars and teleconferences, are increasingly the norm for business communication. The availability of inexpensive 24 hour translation services allow dissemination to global audiences. When deciding on the type of channel to use to communicate your message, consider the audience, the location of your audience and their access. Embrace familiarity and adoption of new types of communication, but carefully evaluate how the infrastructure in each country limits the access to and effectiveness of types of communication media.
Over the past decade, business ethics has become an increasingly popular concern among business leaders. Today, ethical awareness and training is popular in all businesses. In fact, many businesses have amended their mission statements to include ethical behavior. With harsher punishments being handed down to businesses, employees recognize that they cannot lie, make false claims, stretch the truth or make half-truth claims. Ethics is such an important subject that rules for ethical behavior must be upheld in communication.
Today more than ever, the success of your job and your messages rely on collaborating in cross-functional work teams. Many writing projects require collaboration among engineers, marketers, sales representatives, compliance officials and more. Common types of collaboration projects include sales proposals, employee manuals, training handbooks, websites, marketing collateral and financial reports that require input from multiple departments and disciplines. Since the increasing complexity of the workplace makes it impossible for one person to have the time and expertise to create detailed documents, business communicators require skills in teamwork.
In today’s business world, businesses must be committed to protecting sensitive financial, engineering, marketing, employee and client data. Businesses must ensure the safe handling of all messages and information to prevent corporate crime involving internal and external sources of fraud, theft, insider trading, ethical breaches, and political misconduct. Internal corporate crime, including the misuse of information, is trending upward at a dangerous rate. Because it can destroy a business’s reputation and subject it to legal and social scrutiny, it is toxic and can be lethal.
How To Use the Pillars of Communication
Suppose you are a manager at a marketing firm, and your team has been tasked with developing a new ad campaign for a client. You want to ensure that the communication within your team and with the client is effective and efficient, so you focus on the six pillars of communication:
- Purpose: You define the purpose of the ad campaign, which is to increase brand awareness among a target demographic and ultimately boost sales. You outline the specific objectives of the campaign and the supporting information needed to achieve those objectives, such as market research data, consumer behavior trends, and competitive analysis.
- Audience: You consider the target audience of the ad campaign and their characteristics, such as age, income, lifestyle, and values. You also consider the client’s preferences and goals, as well as the cultural context in which the campaign will be launched. You tailor your communication to resonate with the audience and build trust with the client.
- Resources: You select the appropriate communication channels to convey your message, such as in-person meetings, email updates, and video conferences. You also ensure that the necessary technological and logistical resources are available, such as high-speed internet, project management software, and translation services if needed.
- Ethics: You adhere to ethical standards in your communication, such as honesty, transparency, and confidentiality. You avoid making false claims or misrepresenting information, and you respect the privacy and intellectual property of all parties involved.
- Collaboration: You foster a collaborative environment among your team members, encouraging open communication, feedback, and teamwork. You recognize the expertise and perspectives of each team member and leverage their strengths to create a cohesive and effective campaign.
- Security: You take measures to protect sensitive information related to the campaign, such as proprietary data, trade secrets, and client feedback. You ensure that all communication is secure and encrypted, and you train your team members on best practices for data security and privacy.
By incorporating the six pillars of communication into your management of the ad campaign, you are able to ensure that the communication is purposeful, audience-centered, resource-efficient, ethical, collaborative, and secure. This leads to a successful campaign that meets the client’s objectives and builds a strong relationship between your team and the client.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Six Pillars of Communication are essential components for effective business communication. They include Purpose, Audience, Resources, Ethics, Collaboration, and Security. These pillars help ensure that communication is purposeful, audience-centered, resource-efficient, ethical, collaborative, and secure. By incorporating these pillars into your communication strategy, you can achieve your objectives while fostering a positive and productive workplace environment.
Purpose is crucial in communication because it provides a clear direction for the message. Defining a clear purpose allows you to identify the objective and supporting information requirements for a particular assignment. A well-defined purpose will ensure that you reach your objective by communicating the right information. As you construct your purpose, you need to identify and assess the data you need to support your argument or explain your topic. By doing so, you will be better prepared to communicate your message effectively.
Knowing your audience is essential in communication because it helps you tailor your message to resonate with the intended recipients. Understanding your audience’s characteristics, such as age, income, lifestyle, and values, will enable you to localize your content or target your communication to specific groups. By targeting your message to specific groups, you may create the sense that you are sensitive to diversity and an expert in your field. This will ensure that your message is well-received, and it will build trust between you and your audience.
Resources are essential in communication because they enable you to transmit your message efficiently and effectively. There are various communication channels available today, including face-to-face meetings, memos, letters, social media, webinars, and teleconferences. By selecting the appropriate communication channel, you can convey your message in the best way possible. It is also essential to consider the audience, the location of your audience, and their access to ensure that your message is received without interference.
Ethics is crucial in communication because it upholds the integrity of the message and promotes honesty, transparency, and confidentiality. Business ethics is an increasingly popular concern among business leaders, and many businesses have amended their mission statements to include ethical behavior. By adhering to ethical standards in your communication, you avoid making false claims or misrepresenting information, and you respect the privacy and intellectual property of all parties involved. This will ensure that your communication is carried out with purpose, understanding, honesty, and safety in a legal and ethical manner.
Collaboration is essential in communication because it fosters a sense of teamwork and encourages open communication, feedback, and collaboration. Many writing projects require collaboration among different departments and disciplines, and each team member’s expertise and perspectives are leveraged to create a cohesive and effective message. By fostering a collaborative environment, you can create detailed documents that meet the requirements of the assignment. This leads to a successful project that meets the objectives and builds a strong relationship between team members.