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WHAT DO WE MEAN BY BUSINESS COMMUNICATION SKILLS?

The client, who “didn’t understand that when you print on uncoated paper rather than coated

paper, the color wouldn’t be the same.” The new designer used the word “match” in an e-mail, and

the client took that to mean the colors would be exactly the same. This miscommunication led to

disagreements and disappointment about what should have been a routine matter, and the new

designer had to learn the hard way that written and oral communication are as important as visual

communication when everyone gets down to business. That’s the reason why the want ads for

new designers state, “Excellent Communication Skills Required.” Some of you claim in a line on

your resumés that you have “excellent communication skills,” and no doubt you have developed a

skill or two in a college research, writing, or speech class or through your work experience. But the

industry leaders we interviewed tell us that while you may think you have overall good written and

oral communication skills, most recent graduates and new designers are abysmally lacking in

these areas. These industry leaders have noticed that many newly hired designers seem unaware

of their communication deficiencies and, what’s more, don’t know or care about what they’re

missing. Either way, the leaders in your field are not happy about it. So all other things being equal,

those of you who develop your business communication skills will be recognized and valued more

than those who don’t bother. You’ll come out ahead. WHAT DO WE MEAN BY BUSINESS

COMMUNICATION SKILLS? When we talk about business communication, we’re referring to the

variety of ways that people send and receive business messages. The more you understand and

practice the following communication modes, the more skilled you’ll become as a business

communicator. • Writing/reading • Oral presentations/listening • Nonverbal signals/observing You

can see that this list is formatted in a way that highlights the sending/ receiving dynamic of

communications. As a design professional, you’ll need to practice both halves of each equation: •

Writing messages for others to read, and critically reading material written by others • Giving

presentations and interviews that others listen to/interpret, and actively listening to what others

have to say • Behaving in a manner that signals professionalism, and consciously observing the

gestures and mannerisms of others Notice that we characterize your role as receiver with these

words: critically, actively, and consciously. That’s where the skill development comes in. You all

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