The Ultimate Guide to Business Communication


An ultimate list of business communication methods with examples

The rate of progress in communication technology is constantly increasing, and it can be challenging to keep up with which channels are current versus which have become obsolete. To help, Grammarly has compiled a quick overview of the main communication methods and when to use them for internal and external communications. Click on the specific communication type below to learn more about it.

Advertisements

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written and/or visual and/or verbal

Description: Written, visual, or video advertisements are some of the oldest methods for companies to reach out to potential customers to share information and convey brand personality. While usually an external form of communication, advertisements may occasionally be used internally as well.

Internal examples: Posting a new job opening or promotion opportunity on a bulletin board

External examples: Television or streaming advertisements, billboards, pay-per-click ads

Blogs/websites

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written and/or visual and/or verbal

Description: Blogs and other website content can be a great way to share more in-depth information about products and services as well as brand identity. Blogs and websites are typically public-facing, though some content may specifically target current and potential future employees.

Internal examples: A company culture page or a “day in the life” blog post that shows potential applicants what to expect if they apply to a specific position within the company

External examples: Product and service web pages or thought leadership content (like this page) that shares helpful information relevant to the company’s products or services

Company intranet

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written

Description: Private web-based communication portals allow team members to communicate with one another and with customers—and organize those communications in a way that promotes productivity. 

Internal examples: A project management platform that allows team members to track and assign tasks, leave comments, and send direct messages to coworkers and managers

External examples: A password-protected client communication portal that may include a support forum, an AI-based chatbot, and/or the option to chat directly with a customer service team member

Email

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written and/or visual

Description: Communications via email that do not fall under the other categories below are ideal for messages that do not require the recipient to respond immediately (if at all).

Internal examples: Conversations between coworkers or project updates from managers to team members

External examples: Potential customers/clients reaching out for more info about a product or mass marketing communications (e.g., newsletters)

Face-to-face meetings

Type: In-person, synchronous, verbal and/or visual

Description: Face-to-face meetings are ideal for conversations that require privacy or are relevant only to a single individual or small group—especially when sensitive topics are involved. 

Internal examples: Candidate job interviews, individual progress reports, or discussing account-specific problems and solutions

External examples: Customer consultations, in-person retail sales, or serving customers at a restaurant 

Live chat

Type: Remote, synchronous, written

Description: Instant messaging via mobile or desktop devices is preferable when communicating remotely but requires immediate responses.

Internal example: Asking a remote coworker a quick question via an internal chat channel

External example: Live chat support for customers

Phone meetings

Type: Remote, synchronous, verbal

Description: While video calls are ideal for building rapport, meeting over the phone may be the better option if participants do not feel comfortable on video or do not have access to quality video conferencing technology.

Internal examples: An employee requesting PTO to recover from an illness or a manager hosting a small team meeting to brainstorm strategies for success

External examples: A customer calling a tech support line for help installing a new product or a client calling a company to request more information about their services

Presentations

Type: Remote or in-person, synchronous or asynchronous, verbal and/or written and/or visual

Description: Presentations can be shared face-to-face or via video and are a tried-and-true method of sharing vital information with specific groups of people. Presentations may be live (ideal if it includes a Q&A session) or prerecorded

Internal examples: A company-wide training on professional conduct or a team lead presenting progress updates on a current project

External examples: Discussing account health updates with clients or webinars discussing new technologies developed by or for the company

Reports (and other business documents)

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written and/or visual

Description: Business documents, including reports, are an excellent way to share information that recipients may need to refer to again in the future, or when a paper trail is needed to ensure accountability. 

Internal examples: Business cases, project proposals, or business memos

External examples: Account health reports for clients or customer service reports

Social media channels

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written and/or verbal and/or visual

Description: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn allow users to post text (and, often, images and video) and reach specific audiences using hashtags, targeted ads, and more. Social media is generally public-facing, although most platforms do offer the option of a more private profile.

Internal examples: Sharing a post about an industry topic employees might find interesting

External examples: Posting about a new product or sharing a quick “behind-the-scenes” video clip

Surveys/feedback channels 

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written

Description: Surveys and other “feedback box” options allow employees and customers to share how they feel about your brand. You can then respond directly with an answer or indirectly by using the feedback to make improvements in your processes, products, or services.

Internal examples: A physical box into which employees can drop written feedback or an anonymous online survey about company culture

External examples: Online customer reviews and ratings or client satisfaction surveys

Texting 

Type: Remote, asynchronous, written

Description: Unlike live chat, text communications may be responded to quickly, slowly, or not at all, depending on the context. Text is ideal for both one-on-one conversations and mass communications.

Internal examples: A team member texting a coworker in another building to ask a brief question or a manager sending a text reminder to all team members about an upcoming company event

External examples: Sending a customer an automated text thanking them for a purchase or for making a reservation or sending a mass text to opted-in subscribers about a limited-time offer

Video conferences

Type: Remote, synchronous, verbal

Description: Live video calls are ideal when you need to speak face-to-face with a group or individual but cannot do so in person. Keep in mind that for a video call to be successful, you need a stable platform and internet connection to avoid distracting technical difficulties.

Internal examples: A team lead introducing new team members to a remote team or a manager discussing performance issues with an individual employeeExternal examples: Introducing a client to the remote team assigned to their account or walking a customer through troubleshooting an issue with a product



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