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What Are the Different Types of Business Communication?

Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Kenneth W. Michael Wills

Business communication is a dialogue that focuses on the exchange of ideas, thoughts and opinions, and serves to disseminate information and elicit feedback, both internally and externally. In the context of economics, types of business communication are generally categorized as internal communications and external communications. Generally, there are six techniques of communication commonly utilized, employed through a variety of different channels and tools to accomplish intended objectives. It is important to note that effective communication is often cited as a common predictor of business performance. As such, almost all types of business communication are most effective when well thought-out and deliberately deployed.

Internal communication focuses on communicating messages within an organization. Effective internal communication seeks uniformity throughout the organization and covers a broad range of topics and concerns. These may include business policy, marketing and sales messages, employee relations, disclosure and confidentiality, and communicating business objectives across the organization. Within the classification of internal communication, there are usually two types in the typical company: bottom-up communication and top-down communications. Bottom-up usually, but not always, consists of feedback communication, while top-down is consistently utilized to disseminate information and elicit feedback.

Group of businesspeople in a video conference.
Group of businesspeople in a video conference.

External communication, on the other hand, most commonly refers to communication with those outside the organization. Such communication happens with a number of factors to include the media, general public, vendors, customers, regulators and others who may potentially have a stake in, or concern with, the organization. For example, effective dissemination of marketing and sales messages is a common objective of external communication, with the intent of eliciting feedback to improve upon products or services offered, while simultaneously driving profitability of the organization.

Email is becoming the primary means of communication between businesses.
Email is becoming the primary means of communication between businesses.

Consideration of the different types of business communication also needs to take into account the main techniques involved. Those techniques are verbal, non-verbal, written, employment and electronic communications. Verbal communication emphasis the spoken word, while non-verbal consists of body language and other physical cues for communicating. Written communication is concerned with preserving communication for repeated usage and exposure, while employment communication often addresses the human capital concerns and includes interacting with the public. Electronic communication employs some techniques, or all the above, to effectively disseminate information regarding the company.

Co-workers may text each other.
Co-workers may text each other.

Understanding the different types of business communication can help business communicators select the right techniques to use in any given situation and determine the appropriate tool to use. Businesses use a variety of channels and tools to communicate both internally and externally. Those tools include email, memos, advertisements, letters, physical meetings, reports and presentations, for example. Channels of communication include broadcasting, video conferencing, social media, electronic media and print media, among others. Selecting the right types of business communication and using the right techniques deployed through the most efficient medium often impacts the success of the message itself, just as much as the content of the message.

Discussion Comments


Before, paper advertisements and ads on TV and radio were the main types of communication a business used to reach consumers. Now, there are so many different types. Paper, TV and radio ads are still used. But now there are also online ads, email ads and communications through social media sites.

Business have their official websites, and they also have accounts on social media sites where they reach their customers. I think that the internet and social media has added a whole new dimension to external business communication.

Who here follows a business on a social networking site online?


@burcinc-- Yes, the communications team manages both internal and external communications. But a company may have a separate team for external communications or various public relations and advertisement projects. So not all communications leads deal with both types of communications.

I'm not an expert on internal communications. But there needs to be someone supervising communications within the company to make sure that there aren't barriers. For example, a newsletter may be disseminated among employees once a week or once a month to keep everyone updated on developments within the company.


Does the communications department at a business manage both internal and external communications? And what can be done to improve internal communications at a business/company?

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    • Group of businesspeople in a video conference.
      Group of businesspeople in a video conference.
    • Email is becoming the primary means of communication between businesses.
      By: kreizihorse
      Email is becoming the primary means of communication between businesses.
    • Co-workers may text each other.
      By: Andres Rodriguez
      Co-workers may text each other.