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What Is Business Communication?

Monday, August 01, 2016
By Nandkumar Y Sanglikar

Nandkumar Y Sanglikar Communications Consultant

Subliminal method of communication:
Subliminal perception refers to an individual’s ability to perceive and respond to stimuli that are below the threshold or level of consciousness, which proved to influence thoughts, feelings or actions altogether or separately. There are four distinct methods of communicating subliminally. These are visual stimuli in movies, accelerated speech, embedded images in a print advertisement, and suggestiveness which is not normally seen at first glance. Focusing on Subliminal Communication through visual stimuli, Marketing people have adopted this method even incorporating it films and television shows.

Subliminal method of communication first made its debut in a 1957 advertisement, during which a brief message flashed, telling viewers to drink Coca-Cola. A slide saying ‘Drink Coca-Cola’ used to be flashed for a brief while, for less than 1/16th of a second. And this used to be flashed very often in popular movies. Since human eye can actually see an image that is shown for at least 1/16th of a second, this message ‘ Drink Coca-Cola’ was not ‘seen’ by the movie viewers but it was getting perceived by their brain and hence, it used to get registered in their minds. Sale of Coke started getting a significant sales boost. The rival companies went to the court of law and sought a ban on this way of advertising which was granted by the judge! Since that time, subliminal communication has occupied a controversial role in the advertising landscape, with some people claiming it's omnipresent, while others emphasize it's not real.

As of publication, there is still an ongoing scientific debate about whether subliminal advertising works. Subliminal messaging is a form of advertising in which a subtle message is inserted into a standard ad as stated above. This subtle message influences the consumer's behavior, but the consumer does not know she's seen the message. For example, a marketer might incorporate a single frame telling consumers to drink tea in a movie. In print media, advertisers might put hidden images or coded messages into ad text.

Arguments for Effectiveness:
A 2009 study at the University College of London found that people were especially likely to be affected by negative subliminal communication. For example, a cosmetic advertisement conveying to a consumer that she is ugly might be more effective. Subliminal ads "prime" the brain to seek out stimuli that match the message in the advertisement, according to a 1992 study published in "Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin." This can affect behaviour, particularly when a message addresses an individual's insecurities or behavioural tendencies and when a consumer is in a context that allows her to act on the ad's message.

Business writing process:
The challenge of the communication process is for the sender and receiver to gain a mutual understanding about the meaning of the message. A writer can put his or her words on paper, but the reader may not react to the words as the writer intended. Most writers are much more effective, successful, and productive if they spend time thinking about the communication situation before beginning to write. Successful writers approach writing as a three- step process that involves planning before starting to write, drafting with the audience (the reader) in mind, and revising the document to determine if it meets the audience’s needs and if it represents the organization well.

Step I - Planning:
You should spend more time planning and revising your document than you spend writing. Dr. Ken Davis suggests effective writers spend as much as 40% of writing time on planning the document.

Step II - Drafting:
Once you have planned the purpose of your message, considered how your audience might react to the message, gathered your information, decided on an order for your information, and selected your medium for delivery, you are ready to compose your document. About 20% of your writing time should be spent drafting the document.

Do not be concerned with perfection as you draft your message. Write in a conversational tone, without using slang; write as you would speak in a workplace environment. One guideline that helps in the drafting stage is to write as though you are presenting the information to a friend. Rather than thinking of the audience as just “someone out there,” think of the audience as a specific person with whom you are building or maintaining a relationship.

Step III – Revising or re-writing:
Revising is more than checking your spelling and punctuation. Revising requires you to check every part of your message to see if it is clear, concise, and correct and will take approximately 40% of your writing time. You want to look at every word to see if you selected the most appropriate one, at every sentence to see whether the structure is the best it can be, and at every paragraph to see whether it includes a well-developed argument. Finally review the document design to look for an attractive, professional appearance that meets your employer’s and your reader’s expectations.

(Continued from last week)

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