Business Communication vs. Communication

What's the Difference?

Business communication and communication are two related but distinct concepts. Communication is a broad term that encompasses the exchange of information, ideas, and emotions between individuals or groups. It is a fundamental aspect of human interaction and can occur in various forms, such as verbal, non-verbal, written, or visual. On the other hand, business communication refers specifically to the communication processes and practices within a business or organizational context. It focuses on the effective transmission of information, ideas, and instructions to achieve specific business goals and objectives. While both types of communication share the goal of conveying messages, business communication is more structured, goal-oriented, and often involves specific tools and strategies to ensure clarity and effectiveness in a professional setting.


AttributeBusiness CommunicationCommunication
DefinitionThe process of exchanging information and ideas within an organization or between organizations and their stakeholders.The act of conveying information, ideas, or feelings between individuals or groups.
PurposeTo facilitate effective and efficient communication within a business context, aiming to achieve organizational goals.To facilitate understanding, convey messages, and establish connections between individuals or groups.
TypesFormal, informal, upward, downward, lateral, external, written, verbal, non-verbal.Verbal, non-verbal, written, visual, interpersonal, mass, group, public.
FocusPrimarily on business-related topics, objectives, and strategies.Can encompass a wide range of topics, both personal and professional.
ChannelsEmail, memos, reports, presentations, meetings, video conferences, phone calls, etc.Face-to-face conversations, phone calls, emails, letters, social media, video calls, etc.
ImportanceCrucial for effective decision-making, collaboration, employee engagement, and maintaining relationships with stakeholders.Essential for building relationships, expressing thoughts, resolving conflicts, and conveying information accurately.
SkillsListening, speaking, writing, presentation, negotiation, persuasion, intercultural communication, etc.Listening, speaking, writing, empathy, non-verbal communication, active listening, etc.

Further Detail


Communication is an essential aspect of human interaction, enabling the exchange of information, ideas, and emotions. It plays a crucial role in both personal and professional settings. While communication is a broad term encompassing various forms and contexts, business communication refers specifically to the communication processes within an organizational or business environment. In this article, we will explore the attributes of business communication and compare them to communication in general.

1. Purpose

One of the primary differences between business communication and communication in general lies in their purpose. Communication, in its broader sense, serves the purpose of conveying information, expressing thoughts, and establishing connections between individuals. On the other hand, business communication has a more specific purpose within an organizational context. It aims to facilitate the achievement of business goals, enhance collaboration, and ensure effective coordination among employees, departments, and stakeholders.

2. Formality

Another distinguishing attribute of business communication is its formality. While communication in general can be informal, casual, or even non-verbal, business communication tends to be more structured and formal. It often follows specific protocols, guidelines, and professional etiquette. This formality is necessary to maintain professionalism, establish credibility, and ensure clarity in conveying business-related information. In contrast, communication in personal relationships may involve more informal language, gestures, and expressions.

3. Audience

The audience or recipients of communication also differ between business communication and communication in general. In general communication, the audience can be diverse, ranging from friends, family, acquaintances, or even strangers. It may involve one-on-one conversations, group discussions, or public speaking. On the other hand, business communication is primarily directed towards individuals within an organizational context, such as colleagues, superiors, subordinates, clients, or other stakeholders. The audience in business communication is often more specific and targeted, requiring tailored messages to suit their needs and expectations.

4. Channels

The channels or mediums used for communication also vary between business communication and communication in general. In general communication, individuals have a wide range of options, including face-to-face conversations, phone calls, text messages, emails, social media platforms, and more. The choice of channel depends on personal preferences, convenience, and the nature of the message. In contrast, business communication often relies heavily on formal channels such as emails, memos, reports, presentations, and meetings. These channels provide a structured framework for conveying information, ensuring accountability, and maintaining a record of communication within the organization.

5. Tone and Language

The tone and language used in business communication differ from communication in general. Business communication requires a professional tone, using formal language, appropriate vocabulary, and industry-specific jargon when necessary. The tone should be respectful, concise, and focused on the intended message. In contrast, communication in personal relationships allows for a wider range of tones, including casual, emotional, humorous, or even sarcastic, depending on the nature of the relationship and the context of the conversation.

6. Structure and Organization

Structure and organization play a crucial role in business communication. Messages need to be well-structured, coherent, and organized to ensure clarity and avoid misunderstandings. Business communication often follows a specific format, such as the use of headings, bullet points, and paragraphs, to enhance readability and comprehension. In general communication, while structure and organization are still important, there is more flexibility in terms of the conversational flow and the absence of strict formatting requirements.

7. Feedback and Accountability

Feedback and accountability are more emphasized in business communication compared to communication in general. In a business setting, feedback is crucial for evaluating performance, improving processes, and ensuring effective communication. It allows individuals to provide constructive criticism, suggestions, or praise to enhance collaboration and achieve desired outcomes. Additionally, business communication often involves a higher level of accountability, as individuals are responsible for their actions, decisions, and the impact of their communication on the organization's success.

8. Legal and Ethical Considerations

Business communication is subject to legal and ethical considerations that may not be as prominent in general communication. Organizations must adhere to laws and regulations regarding privacy, confidentiality, intellectual property, and fair competition. Moreover, ethical considerations play a significant role in business communication, as organizations strive to maintain transparency, honesty, and integrity in their interactions with stakeholders. In general communication, while ethical considerations are still important, they may not be as explicitly defined or regulated.


While communication is a fundamental aspect of human interaction, business communication has its unique attributes that distinguish it from communication in general. The purpose, formality, audience, channels, tone, structure, feedback, accountability, and legal/ethical considerations all contribute to the distinct nature of business communication. Understanding these differences is essential for individuals operating within a business environment to effectively communicate, collaborate, and achieve organizational goals.

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