Business communication: types and characteristics

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Joe Dispenza

Business communication: types and characteristics

Discover all the different types of business communication used today.

Last update: May 23, 2020

The world of work is made up of companies and entrepreneurs, VAT numbers, small and medium-sized enterprises, retailers, multinationals, family businesses and so on. The set of these subjects forms a conglomerate that works on the basis of a fundamental tool: corporate communication. Today we will discover the different types and characteristics.

For the success of a company, in addition to a good organization, it is very important to know how to communicate better internally so that each member works together to achieve the same goal.

At an external level, correct business communication is absolutely necessary and convenient, which will serve to maintain relationships with institutions, customers, suppliers, etc. The success or failure of the business will depend on it.

The importance of business communication

A resource so important that it requires an in-depth analysis: business communication consists of the set of procedures that the company implements to transmit and receive the necessary information to its correct functioning.

The transmission of information takes place in two ways. On an internal level, that is, between the members of the company, managers, departments, employees etc; on an external level, with all the external actors with whom relations are maintained.

When there is good business communication at all levels, organizations function excellently, and this is because everyone involved knows how to respond to every situation.

Doubts are thus eliminated, safety is increased, errors are limited, motivation and interaction are stimulated… As a result, productivity and problem solving increases in a more satisfying way for everyone.

Types of business communication

As we know, not all firms are identical nor do they have the same needs; consequently, not all of them use the same communication channels. Here are which channels exist and can be adopted.

"He who knows how to think but cannot express what he thinks is on the same level as he who does not know how to think"


Internal and external communication

It is the basis of a good business organization and for this reason we have already mentioned it. The internal one refers to all the components of the company, workers and departments.

The external one takes place between the company and external agents, such as financial institutions, customers, suppliers, public bodies, etc.

Ascending, descending and horizontal

This differentiation refers to the hierarchical structure involved during communication, in particular to the issuer and the recipient. In ascending communication, the issuer will be an employee and the recipient a superior; the message moves vertically from bottom to top, respecting a hierarchical order.

If not, when it is the superior who communicates to the employee, communication is descending, as it goes from top to bottom. In the case of horizontal communication, communication takes place between people of the same level within the organization.

One way or two way

Two-way communication is the most common and the most used e involves at least two subjects, an issuer and a recipient, both active during the communication exchange.

In the event that a superior gives an order, only the issuer acts and there is no response from a second person; in this case the communication becomes one-way.

Formal and informal

This difference is very common and is based on the interacting subjects. It is formal when it is directed externally towards agents external to the company, in particular official entities, financial entities or external services; this type of communication is more serious, respectful, legal and technical.

Conversely, when communication takes place between colleagues from the same company, it tends to be more conversational and direct, being a more familiar context. In internal contexts the protocol rules are looser.

Characteristics of business communication

The characteristics that define business communication are perfectly definable and are based on the set objectives. The types of communication and their correct use will therefore be established according to the goals that the company wants to achieve.

"The most important aspect of communication is listening to what is not being said."

-Peter Drucker-

There are, however, some objectives that are present in any company and that can be defined as transversal and independent of the context. One of them is that the communication must be sufficiently clear for the recipient to understand it. If this were not the case, in fact, the entire communicative exchange would lose its meaning.

Finally, it should be noted that a message transmitted and perceived correctly minimizes misunderstandings that can otherwise cause a bad environment within the business context.

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