All communication, whether personal or business requires planning. Thirukkural says “whosoever one might be, one should guard his tongue”. You can easily offend a person or damage a situation by the slip of the tongue or a wrong gesture. In situations of personal communication, planning is done quickly and most times the situation or the context helps the planning. But in business communication planning is definitely a prerequisite.
In business communication, the first principle is planning. Any message, communicated without proper planning is bound to be haphazard and disjointed. The exercise of planning, though apparently time consuming, will be rewarding. Abraham Lincoln’s most celebrated emotional speech known as the Gettysburgh address, where he dedicated the cemetery to war heroes is acclaimed to be outstanding for its spontaneity and brevity. But the truth of the matter is that Lincoln spent hours and days to refine and polish the speech as evidenced from the records in the archives.
Stages of Planning
Planning and preparation bring extra dividends. Planning leads to better organization of the message and produces the desired results. When we say desired result, we agree that every communication exercise is a means to an end. The communicator must be able to clearly identify the end. In short, he should identify the purpose for which he is sending the message. The purpose may be to remind about a due, or may be to give some new information, or may be to point out a lapse or may be just a courtesy with the underlying purpose of promoting goodwill. Once you have identified the purpose, you must make an evaluation of the receiver. It means you should have an understanding of the mental attitude of the receiver. Is he going to be responsive or indifferent, interested or apathetic to your message. You have to adopt your message to the mental attitude of the receiver. This is easier in the case of an individual than in the case of a group at the receiver’s end. If it is a group, you should be able to identify the minimum communication response expected of the group and adopt the message to it. The next stage would be to collect the ideas and gather data to make the communication effective. Finally, the message should be organized by preparing rough drafts. If all these steps are not carefully gone through, the message would appear disjointed, ill-organized and become ineffective. On the other hand, if the purpose is identified, the receiver evaluated, ideas gathered and message organized, the communication would become effective. Before one makes a speech or sends across a letter, or conceives an advertisement, one has to go through the steps of planning such as identifying purpose, evaluating the audience, collecting all relevant information and finally organizing the message. Once the message is organized, the sender should choose the proper medium for transmitting the message.