For professionals, effective business communication isn’t just a valuable skill – it’s a critical asset. In this era of rapid change and global connectivity, the ability to convey ideas, collaborate with colleagues, and connect with clients and stakeholders has become more necessary than ever.

In this article, we discover how having proficient communication skills delivers a range of positives for you and your business. We delve into how effective communication contributes to personal and professional success and how an MBA can teach you the communication strategies for business that can accelerate your career.

What is effective communication in business?

Effective communication involves successfully sharing information so all parties feel heard and understood.

When communicating in a business setting, effective communicators will often display the qualities of active listening, such as maintaining eye contact. They use open body language to appear approachable, summarise discussions at the end of a meeting to ensure clarity and are adept at choosing the best channel for the type of message being communicated.

Accredited executive business coach Lisa May has this advice. “It’s really important that whoever’s delivering the communication is not only succinct and able to communicate with clarity but also uses different approaches and adapts their communication style according to the situation and the individuals involved.

“The people who are effective communicators are good at reading body language and non-verbal cues. They are good verbally and will present well, but they are also fantastic listeners.

“In the more junior levels in business, you’re probably speaking 50 per cent of the time and listening 50 per cent of the time. As you get more senior, you should be listening and ensuring you’re adapting your way of thinking and doing things to those who are with you around 80 per cent of the time.”

6 ways effective business communication shapes success

Why is communication important in business? Clear communication across all facets of an organisation allows team members to collaborate, share ideas and make decisions. For stakeholders and customers, business communication is the bridge that keeps them informed about the company’s progress, goals and challenges. In every aspect of business, from internal collaborations to external engagements, effective communication underpins efficiency, clarity and the achievement of organisational goals. Here are six reasons communication is important in business.

1. Fosters a positive environment

Effective communication fosters an environment where employees feel valued and motivated. When leaders and colleagues communicate openly and transparently with each other, it creates a sense of trust and authenticity. Co-workers and staff who feel heard and understood are more likely to be engaged and enthusiastic about their work.

2. Aids improvement and personal growth

Regular communication regarding goals, expectations and performance helps individuals align their efforts with the company’s objectives. It also allows for continuous improvement and professional growth at all levels.

3. Promotes innovation

Innovation thrives in an environment where communication flows freely. Encouraging open dialogue helps generate creative ideas and solutions. When employees can share their perspectives, it leads to a diverse range of ideas that can spark innovation. Effective communication channels between departments allow for the sharing of knowledge and expertise. This cross-pollination of ideas can lead to unexpected breakthroughs and a culture of continuous learning.

4. Enhances teamwork and collaboration

Effective communication is the backbone of successful teamwork and collaboration. When employees can clearly understand and communicate their roles, responsibilities and expectations, it reduces ambiguity and confusion. Clear communication ensures everyone in the business is working towards a common goal.

5. Prevents conflict and misunderstandings

A lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings, which may escalate into conflicts. Open and transparent communication promotes clarity and understanding. When employees feel comfortable sharing their concerns, it allows for timely resolution and prevents conflicts from escalating.

6. Helps leaders and staff adapt to change

The ability to adapt to change and challenges is crucial for businesses to survive. Effective communication enables organisations to navigate change more effectively. Businesses can manage transitions smoothly and minimise resistance by keeping employees informed and involved.

How to improve your communication skills in business

Think your communication skills or those of your team members could be improved? Here are some ways to become a more effective communicator at work.

  • Try role-playing: “I’ve seen role-playing work very well, and it doesn’t require training,” says May. “You can do it with your partner at home or a friend or just practise in front of a mirror.”
  • Undertake training: If you prefer something more formal, try further training or education. “Once you are in a business setting, there are lots of courses available. Most people in management roles and above have had some form of training in communication skills in their careers.”
  • Prioritise empathy: May adds that while communication is a skill most leaders need to cultivate, active listening and displaying empathy are just as important. “This is about working hard to understand other people’s perspectives and ideas because diversity of thought absolutely brings together the best ideas and results. Being able to practise empathy really sets someone apart.”
  • Get a coach or mentor: “In business, feedback is critical. It’s not true that there are good communicators and bad communicators. We can all become better communicators. Having someone who is an ally, who is actively watching you and listening to you, can be really valuable. Be curious all the time and find a trusted person who can give you feedback.”

May adds: “Communication affects every job across every business and probably every aspect of life. So I think it’s a core skill that everybody needs.

“Those who are great at communication will create the most meaningful connections in the organisation and have the biggest impact. The goal of effective communication is the influence you have on the business, on others, on engagement and all different aspects of what you do.”

How an MBA can enhance your business communication skills

An MBA can be a powerful tool to develop a range of business skills, including communication. Activities such as presentations and group projects as part of an MBA course help students develop verbal communication skills. Through written assessments, students learn to articulate their ideas clearly, engage with diverse audiences, and respond confidently to questions and challenges. There’s no doubt that MBA graduates possess important communication skills.

MBA Discovery’s university partners equip current and future business leaders with the skills they need, including effective business communication.

Victoria University’s MBA has several key learning outcomes, including the ability to clearly communicate to a range of audiences. Students will graduate with the confidence to communicate with professional organisations, multi-disciplinary teams and a range of culturally diverse communities and businesses.

MBA courses also give graduates the skills to craft concise and persuasive business documents and convey complex ideas effectively. For example, as part of the Management Communication unit in Southern Cross University’s MBA, students learn persuasive writing techniques and how to apply critical thinking to generate ideas and draw conclusions. They also take part in oral presentations, learn about the difference between business and academic writing and study how to communicate in a diverse world and across cultures.

Many businesses operate in diverse markets, and globalisation has made cross-cultural communication a vital skill for professionals. An MBA course can expose students to diverse cultures and help them navigate cultural differences. For example, learning outcomes for the People and Organisations unit as part of RMIT’s MBA include an understanding of human organisational behaviour, the ability to plan and communicate human resource management solutions, the ability to manage conflict and the expertise to build cross-cultural teams.

James Cook University’s MBA also takes a global focus to create business leaders who are well-prepared to tackle future challenges. The university created this course to improve students’ leadership and management skills, equipping them with strategies to tackle increasingly complex business dynamics. Students are challenged to identify their strengths and areas needing development to lead themselves and others better. Self-reflection is an important factor in improving your business communication skills.

Develop your business communication skills

Strong leaders understand the importance of communication in business, and having well-developed communication skills is a must for professionals who want to succeed. Curious about how an MBA can develop your business skills and help you become the leader you’ve always wanted to be? Speak with a Student Enrolment Advisor to discuss how an MBA can take your business communication skills to the next level.

Speak to a Student Enrolment Advisor

Whether you’re ready to enrol, or just have a quick question, simply fill out the enquiry form below to speak directly to the university’s enrolment team. They will be able to guide you through:

Course eligibility and recognition of prior learning

Course structure and what you will study

Next intakes and how to apply

Fees and time commitments