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NVQ Level 3: Communicate in a Business Environment

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This unit covers appropriate communication in a business environment.

This unit covers appropriate communication in a business environment.

Communicating in a Business Environment is a Group A, three-credit mandatory unit for the Level 3 National Vocational Qualification Diploma in Business and Administration, offered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This module helps the candidate achieve a thorough understanding of the purpose of communication. Candidates also learn how to communicate both verbally and in writing, how to seek and use feedback (and its importance) and how to develop communication skills for the next levels.

This article will address each of the module's outcomes, explain what they mean, and discuss how to achieve them. It will help you gain an understanding of what candidates are expected to write generally. Depending on your specific job, you will have to modify what's written here for your own work and organisation when preparing your own portfolio.

How to Use This Article

This article covers Outcomes 1 and 2 of Unit 304 for the NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Business and Administration, which covers elements of communication in a workplace setting.

It is purely informative and meant to guide you through the process of compiling your own portfolio. Do not directly copy anything here for your file, as your file needs to be tailored to the specifics of your job and organisation. Copying the language from this article directly is not only dishonest but will also weaken your file.

1.1 Explain the Benefits of Knowing the Purpose of Communication

Communication refers to the transmission of ideas or content between individuals, groups, or individuals and groups. Communication consists of:

  • Source: the person or people who create the message.
  • Message: the content of the communication.
  • Medium: how the communication is being transmitted (email, phone, in-person, etc.).
  • Receiver: the audience or person being communicated to. Receiving skills include listening and reading effectively.

In a business environment, we communicate by listening to each others' problems and by solving day-to-day problems together.

1.2 Explain the Reasons for Knowing the Audience to Whom the Communication Is Being Presented

If you understand your audience, you can more effectively communicate with and persuade them.

To ensure your message will be well-received, you need to learn what your audience expects, what mood they're in, and what questions they may want you to answer.

1.3 Explain the Purpose of Knowing the Intended Outcomes of Communications

Understanding the "intended outcome" of communication means understanding both your own message and how the audience may receive it.

The audience can be:

  • A single co-worker
  • A number of people at a meeting
  • A room full of people

When you communicate, you should know whether you are trying to:

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  • Convey information
  • Persuade
  • Entertain

The effectiveness of your communication depends on how well you understand how your purpose intermingles with your audience's position and expectations.

1.4 Describe Different Methods of Communication and When to Use Them

Communication can be classified as: verbal or non-verbal, formal or informal.


  • Verbal communication is the most important, common, and effective type of communication. Speaking directly and listening helps us understand each others' emotional needs.
  • Effective verbal communication has as much to do with how well you listen to others as it does with how you speak to them.


  • Nonverbal communication means writing, but also refers to sign language, facial expressions, and gestures. Nonverbal communication is less effective than verbal communication—it's always better to be direct—but it's still important for you to pick up on non-verbal cues.
  • Nonverbal communication can enhance verbal communication. Body language and facial expressions are usually honest, and can help convey sincerity.
  • Some people—including but not limited to those who are hard of hearing—primarily use nonverbal communication in the form of sign language, gesture and facial expressions.

Informal Communication

  • Informal communications are face-to-face interactions that occur incidentally throughout the day. They can be work-related or not, verbal or nonverbal.
  • Some examples are: a chat about something non-work related in the lunch room, a quick email asking about the status of a project, or a sticky note asking for an impromptu meeting, to name a few.

Formal Communication

  • Some types of communication conform to official expectations or protocol, are recorded in some way, or are planned and rehearsed ahead of time.
  • An example of formal verbal communication would be a scripted presentation. Nonverbal formal communication includes written items such as annual reports, terms of employment, and contracts.

2.1 Identify Relevant Sources of Information That May Be Used When Preparing Written Communication

Sources of information can be classified as primary or secondary.

Primary Source

  • A primary source is produced during an event. This type of information is gathered by a person directly in contact with the incident or event.
  • These sources can be diaries, letters, newspapers, court records, interviews, surveys, etc.
  • Primary sources are usually unadulterated, and closest to the events themselves.

Secondary Source

  • This type of information is filtered through someone removed from the primary event.
  • These sources can be interpreted or analysed literature of the primary source, and include books, interpretive documents, or an outsider's account of an event.
  • Normally, secondary sources interpret an event and may be produced after it.

2.2 Describe the Communication Principles for Using Electronic Forms of Written Communication in a Business Environment

Electronic communication refers to email, faxes, or any written communication transmitted and stored electronically.

  • Effective electronic communication involves some degree of technical mastery. You should be skillful enough to transmit information over telecommunication technologies and know how to use the requisite software.
  • When choosing electronic communications for exchange of information, you should think carefully and decide which is the best and most efficient method of communication.
  • In an office environment, you should be able to interpret information from electronic sources and have good paraphrasing skills.

2.3 Explain Different Styles and Tones of Language and Situations When They May Be Used for Written Communications

Colloquial, casual, and formal writing are different styles with their own expectations and outcomes. The style of writing you use depends on your intentions, your medium, and your audience.

  • Casual language is informal and conversational. It's how you write in friendly text messages or chats. Likely, you only use casual language judiciously at work, particularly with your superiors. Casual language is the way you speak with your peers.
  • Colloquial language is similar, and refers to the language we use to communicate with family and close friends. Colloquial language includes slang and dialect.
  • Formal language is used in business communications, and is used when you want to come across as professional and authoritative. It also depends on the words and tone you use. In formal writing, your language should have proper syntax, vocabulary and grammar.