Communication as strategic imperative

Effective articulation of ideas is must for establishing qualitative connections, says Hariraj Vijayakumar, global head, Cognizant Academy.

Effective articulation of ideas is must for establishing qualitative connections, says Hariraj Vijayakumar, global head, Cognizant Academy.

Effective communication forms the cornerstone of successful businesses. With businesses no longer defined or separated by geographical boundaries, the realm of business communication too has undergone a significant transformation. Today, it is not just about confidence, but also about credibility.

In the new-age knowledge economy, the performance and growth of an organization rests on excellence embodied by each and every employee. Increasingly, competitiveness and differentiation are as much about the power of ideas as about their effective articulation. This is where communication excellence has evolved beyond the fundamentals of fluent and correct verbal and written communication to become an art of expressing oneself for greater impact and a science of establishing qualitative connections with others.

What add to the demands of effective business communication in modern-day enterprises are the challenges stemming from the global and ever-more complex nature of businesses: working virtually, overcoming cultural barriers to win and sustain client confidence, consuming and interpreting enormous volumes of information, driving negotiations and fostering agreements across disparate stakeholders, motivating teams, tiding over the diversity of languages and accents, and listening to verbal and non-verbal cues.

Each of these challenges takes on very complex dimensions when it comes to working with geographically dispersed—and often unseen—coworkers, partners and clients. This arrangement entails a new kind of work dynamic, where the real skill is not just communicating effectively, but also avoiding miscommunication.

Business communication has been impacted by technological advancements as well. A growing choice of communication channels—ranging from email and mobile phones, to social media and video conferencing—further fuels the need to not just communicate more, but also tailor that communication to the channel in use. While the millennial generation takes to these channels like fish to water, they can leverage those channels most effectively only when they master the finer nuances of new-age business communication.

In such a dynamic environment, the first signs of deficient business communication can include customer dissatisfaction and attrition, lack of collaboration among stakeholders within and outside the organization, unmet individual and organizational goals, an increase in errors, slippages, blame games and employee turnover, and a dip in motivation and productivity. These are classic signs of business communication falling apart. It is in such situations that organizations tend to resort to training interventions aimed at enhancing business communication skills.

However, developing business communication skills must be a broad-based activity. We should start with the belief that every individual has a unique style of communicating, which makes a one-size-fits-all approach ineffective. We therefore should focus on grooming them for their core skills in keeping with their professional and personal aspirations.

Effective business communication is no longer just a choice, but a strategic imperative. And regardless of the job title or the type of organization or industry one works for, it is as much about good content as about impactful delivery, both within and outside the workplace.