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This blog site will feature essays, columns and musings that deal with the intersection of Christianity and journalism and the American Songbook.

Business Communication (speech)

The Future of Knowledge and Communication Symposium
March 26, 1981

I. What is the main problem with business communication?

Answer: The effective telling in an understandable way of the story of business: The crucial connection between a healthy business environment and a healthy society.

The world of the market place is the only sector of society which generates products and services which meet society’s demands and expectations and even dreams. When the local market place does this effectively, jobs and subsequently, tax revenues are provided. When not done effectively, then neither jobs nor tax are provided. They both go elsewhere, i.e., foreign locales.

Those successfully engaged in the market place have historically been pragmatic risk-takers and expeditors, and not wordsmen or philosophers. And so the conceptualizing of the role and importance of the market place in our society (a free society) has never been adequately and continuously explained, and disseminated to the public. When you combine the lack of philosophic bent of most businessmen with the very favorable social climate in America for the businessman until just recently, then it is easy to see why the world of American commerce has found it difficult to gear itself for a valid defense of its importance in American life.

II. What factors hinder effective business communication?

A) To the general public:

1. The general lack of training of businessman in the area of communications, i.e., writing, speaking, conversation interchange, communication logic and style.

2. The world of business attracts people who find the risk-taking and expediting and the creating and controlling of a product or service more stimulating than the more prosaic world of thoughts and expression and intangible ideas.

3. The expeditious factor in – successful market place participate leaves little time for what is considered by most businessmen as extraneous endeavors, such as, trying to explain and even defend what one does for a living. Part of the reasoning is that: “If one doesn’t like what I do or make just don’t buy my product or service. Buy it from a competitor or substitute. But don’t expect me to philosophically defend my business when I provide more jobs and pay more taxes than my inquisitors.”

4. A general suspicion of profits that has been given a set of teeth by recent U.S. governments. Whether or not the suspicion is wholly justified is another question.

B) To the government:

1. The government has taken the role of adversary, vis-a-vis, business, in response to pressure from so-called “consumer groups.”

2. The federal government has also stepped in to regulate business when business has failed to regulate itself properly.

3. The modern purpose of government and the functioning of business have a tendency to dissolve into an adversary relationship, much more so than labor and business, both of which operate in the market place and depend on the market place for their survival. Government operates through its police powers and eminent domain philosophy.

4. Big business has frightened government with its power and influence and wealth. Unfortunately, little business is lumped together with its big brother and is castigated in the same breath for abuses it can only dream of.

III. What is the future of business communications?

Answer:

1. I believe one of the answers to business communications can be seen in the aggressive, positive campaigns of Exxon to educate the general public as to its position on various economic matters. Also, Portland Cement campaign in major metropolitan newspapers. See other examples in Wall Street Journal.

2. Another answer is for business to hire skilled communicators to present their story. This is not hyping a particular product or service, but rather the hyping of their raison d’être.

3. Another solution is the hiring of top executives with a flair for communicating, or at the very least, an appreciation for the need of effective communicating. This skill may reside with the CEO or with a Vice-President for communication. NSDA Director of Communication.

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