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Select a channel used for business communication. What are the advantages and challenges of that form of communication?

Updated on January 1, 2015

As a recent University of Phoenix MBA program graduate, I would like to share some of the discussions from my experience with the University. These discussion questions are here to give you an idea of what to expect during the program. Of course, they are meant to encourage your own thoughts and responses. Please, please, don't simply turn in my work as your own. That's just obnoxious... and it's plagiarism, which will get you expelled from the University.

Also, please have a look at an excerpt from the course syllabus below... compare to your own to ensure that you are, in fact, following the proper course.

This is Week 1, Discussion Question 1 of MGT/521, v5.

Intro to Course Syllabus (including "materials" used).  Please ensure that you are following the proper course.
Intro to Course Syllabus (including "materials" used). Please ensure that you are following the proper course.

Week 1 - Discussion Question 1

Select a channel used for business communication.

  • What are the advantages and challenges of that form of communication?
  • Provide an example when you have used that form of communication or when someone else has used that form of communication with you.
  • Did it work well for that situation? Why or why not?


Sample Answer

In business communication that involves anything particularly "important," I'm a firm believer in using e-mail. The previous version of this written communication was, of course, the "cold letter(s)" that some have referred to. In today's age, however, e-mail has replaced the need for paper and pen. I like to use e-mail simply because it allows for easy documentation of a conversation... a transcript, if you will. We no longer have to say things like "but I thought you told me (whatever)" or "no, I specifically stated that (whatever)" when following up on specific projects. Yes, I know tone can be misinterpreted. Yes, I know facial expressions are invisible. Yes, I know there is no way to "hear" the discussion. Oh, it's painful sometimes to think how e-mails can be misconstrued! BUT, there is documentation for everything.

Personal Example: I've been working on a web site change (well, several actually) for two weeks... two weeks! The site was originally custom-built by a third party for my employer at a cost of roughly $5K (and it's a "custom" web site that's not very "customizable," but that's a frustrating discussion for another time). The changes must be made by the site provider and will cost nearly $1K. I've been communicating solely by e-mail with the provider's representative so that I can have documentation of our requests and their deliverables. Unfortunately, the process is rather slow as I can expect a response from the rep once (at most, twice) per day to an e-mail that I send. Additionally, the rep doesn't seem to pay much attention to my writing, I must refer him to my past e-mails and repeat myself every two days or so. It has been quite the excruciating process, but we're finally on the right track for changes to be complete this week.

Needless to say, I've seen my fair share of disadvantages to e-mail communication in this example alone! However, I have written correspondence for everything related to this issue and I can use it to my advantage if things don't go as planned. There are other advantages too, of course. Professional communication is easier to write than to speak, in my opinion. I tend to read my own e-mails two or three times before sending them, making changes for better wording as necessary. Perhaps most importantly, there is little risk in an e-mail of "saying" something that can't be corrected, as there is with a verbal conversation. No "foot-in-mouth" disorder, so to speak. In my case, the only thing faster than my brain is my mouth...

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