NVQ Level 3: Communicate in a Business Environment

Updated on May 6, 2015
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Livingsta shares her positive experience in business administration, customer service and education.

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 and plan 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 is the first of a two-part series. It 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 Page

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 it will weaken your file.

Outcome 1: Understand the Purpose of Planning Communication

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:

  • 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.

Outcome 2: Understand How to Communicate in Writing

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.

2.4 Explain the Reasons for Selecting and Using Language that Suits the Purpose of Written Communication

Communication is a process of exchanging information, ideas, thoughts, feelings and emotions through speech, signals, writing, or behaviour. The language that we use should be easily understandable, accurate and tactful.

Every type of message—complaints, minutes and grievances, to name a few—demands different levels of tact.

  • Particularly when writing something critical, always try to address the organisation or group generally rather than making it personal.
  • Start with positive points before negative ones, so that the receiver isn't put on the defensive right away.
  • Explain the facts straightforwardly, rather than using vague or indirect language.
  • While writing, avoid using bold or all-capital letters. This comes across as hostile in written communication.

2.5 Describe the Ways of Organising, Structuring and Presenting Written Information so It Meets the Needs of Different Audiences

When organising, structuring and presenting written information, bear in mind the following:

  • When making a presentation, prepare all necessary documents ahead of time. These may include PowerPoint presentations (or similar slideshow software), handouts or a script for yourself.
  • Keep documents in the correct order, so that the communication flows without confusion or error. Double-check the order in advance.
  • While presenting, be clear about your objectives. Provide an introduction about what you are going to present, your motives in presenting, why the attendees are there and why the topic is important.
  • Present your work step by step, clearly using proper references where needed.
  • In the end, conclude by explaining how all of your objectives were met.
  • Take time to answer questions.

2.6 Describe Ways of Checking for the Accuracy of Content in Written Information

Any written communication needs to be accurate, professionally formatted and free of spelling or grammatical errors. Check the following before the document is finalised to be sent to its recipients.

Check Points for Accuacy

  • Inaccuracies can hurt your reputation and that of your organisation. Depending on the problem, the effects can range from embarrassing to disastrous.
  • Details to be double checked include: dates, names, statistics, events and quotations.
  • If you are unsure of anything, make sure you check with someone knowledgeable or experienced.

Check Spelling and Grammar

  • Most word processors and email systems have built-in spell-checkers. Use your judgment though, as they are not always accurate, particularly when it comes to people's names or industry-specific jargon.
  • Always read through a document twice yourself before finalising.
  • Have someone else read and edit the document for you. A fresh pair of eyes will notice errors you have missed.

Use a Template

  • Many organisations have in-house styles for different documents. They will all be available as templates into which you can easily input information.
  • If the communication doesn't have a prescribed template, you should research the correct style depending on your organisation or department's needs. Ask your colleagues or locate similar documents to get a sense of the proper style.

2.7 Explain the Purpose of Accurate Use of Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling

  • Proper grammar, punctuation and spelling ensure your reader will have an easy time reading your communication, making communication more efficient.
  • When a document has factual errors, readers tend to distrust the entire thing. Perceived unreliability could have a negative impact on your reputation, and thus your standing within your organisation.

2.8 Explain What is Meant by Plain English, and Why it is Used

Plain English is language that emphasises clarity and avoids technical language or jargon. It is especially important when talking to people outside of your profession, who need technical language translated into something easier to understand.

Plain English:

  • Can be used to communicate with anyone, regardless of their reading skills or knowledge.
  • Clear and direct, with nothing hidden, free of unnecessary words or ideas.
  • Free of technical jargon or slang.

2.9 Explain the Purpose of Proofreading and Checking Written Work

You should proofread all written work. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Grammatically correct writing reflects well on your professionalism and fastidiousness, as well as that of your organisation. Others will judge you based on how polished your written work looks.
  • Well-written prose is less time consuming for your reader than error-riddled text, making written communication more efficient.

All written work, from email to meeting minutes to formal reports, should be proofread for errors.

2.10 Explain the Purpose of Recognising Work that is iImportant and Work that is Urgent

In our day-to-day work, we have a mix of tasks, some important, some urgent and some of low priority. All tasks have deadlines that need to be met. However, importance and urgency are two different things. Some tasks may be both, but recognising which tasks are more one than the other will help you prioritise work-related communication. You should rush to complete urgent tasks, but prioritise quality in important tasks.

Urgent tasks:

  • Have fast-approaching deadlines.
  • Completion on time is slightly more important than perfecting the quality.
  • Likely not incredibly complicated.
  • Others or other tasks depend on timely completion.

All tasks have to be completed before the deadlines, as it is very important for the progress and running of the organisation. Urgent tasks are not necessarily complicated, so try to finish them before moving onto more complicated important ones.

Tasks should be organised based on how urgent they are, or how much attention to detail they require.

  • Physically separate different types of tasks or correspondence. Put urgent tasks in a separate folder or pile from longer-term ones. This way, you know what to do first.
  • Create a to-do list for your tasks that categorises them by both urgency and importance.
  • Figure out how to make your days most productive. For example, I try to work on complicated tasks early in the morning, when the office is quieter and I can concentrate better.

2.11 Describe Organisational Procedures for Saving and Filing Written Communications

Every organisation has its own policies and procedures for saving and filing documents, which you should adhere to. Records can be kept in physical file folders, on your personal computer or a shared drive, in a database or in a document management system. If you need to make your own filing system, consider the following:

  • Documents with similar information or which are part of the same project can filed together for ease of accessibility.
  • Documents that need to shared with other departments and other staff are often stored on shared drives.
  • Be diligent about the storage of confidential or sensitive information, and follow the correct protocol.

Outcomes 3 and 4

A new article for Outcomes 3 and 4 have been created upon request. It covers:

  • Outcome 3: How to communicate verbally.
  • Outcome 4: Understand the purpose and value of feedback in developing communication skills.

Communicate in a business environment-NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Business and Administration-Part II

Questions & Answers


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      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 22 months ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Farhan, thank you for stopping by and I am pleased that you found this helpful.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 22 months ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Joe,

        Sorry for the late response. I am not sure if you checked the entire list, but there is this hub that I have published on handling mail. Please follow the link below.


        I hope this helps. All the best!

      • Ferhan Patel profile image

        Ferhan Patel 2 years ago from Montreal, Canada

        This is a really great and comprehensive article. Thank you for sharing!

      • profile image

        joe 2 years ago

        Can you please cover handling mail. Thanks

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Alexis,

        Sorry for the late response. I have gone through this hub and can see that there are information related to identifying the purpose and audience of the information to be communicated. It also has a lot of information on communicating in writing in a business. Did you go through the entire hub? If yes, could you please be more specific on what exactly you are looking for?

        Thank you

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Stephen Kalu, thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I am glad that you like this :-)

      • profile image

        alexis 2 years ago

        Hi Livingsta do you have any information on Unit 3 Communicate in a Business Environment. (Be able to communicate in writing in business)

        The first question in my nvq states

        2.1 Identify the purpose and audience of the information to be communicated.

        Cant seem to find the information throughout the documents you have uploaded.

        Many Thanks

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello A, sorry I do not have in hand at the moment. Do you require any help with that? If yes, please drop a line. Take care and all the best! :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Han, you're welcome. All the best! :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Lola, there is a hub on my profile titled, "Different types of Documents Produced in a Business Environment - NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Business and Administration." Please have a look at that for reference! All the best :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Lillybeth, you're welcome. Sorry for not replying earlier. I was away. Do you still require help with the above? If yes, please drop a line. Take care and all the best! :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello naved007, you're most welcome! All the best! :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Carly Willis, thank you for dropping a line. I am glad that you found this useful. All the best! :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Lauren, the unit maybe a level 2 unit, but the qualification is Level 3 qualification. You are allowed to choose a combination of level 2, level 3 and level 4 units while working towards your Level 3 qualifications. I am sorry if you are doing your qualification with a different board and the rules / criteria there are different. Take care and all the best!

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Matt, I am pleased that these hubs were of help to you. All the best! :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 2 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Bertha, sorry for the late response. I am hoping that you have completed your qualification successfully. Take care and all the best! :)

      • profile image

        2 years ago

        Hi Livingsta,

        Do you have any information on Unit 01 Principles on business?

      • profile image

        Han 2 years ago

        Thanks Livingsta really excellent information you have uploaded.

      • profile image

        lola 2 years ago

        Describe different types of business documents that may be produced and the format to be followed for each (e.g. letter, forms, emails etc)

      • profile image

        Lillybeth 3 years ago


        Thank you ever so much for your help with the units.

        I'm just wondering if you can help me with 1.1 describe different ways of organising data that has been researched?

      • Stephen Kalu profile image

        stephen kalu 3 years ago from Nigeria

        very great. In business you may have a good idea but if you don't have a good communication skill, you may not go for. I love this so much.

      • naved007 profile image

        naved007 3 years ago


      • profile image

        Carly Willis 3 years ago

        That comment below is cheeky as, thanks for this though!

        Helped me so much throughout Level 2 & 3 and I felt like I had somewhere to turn to when I found I was struggling

      • profile image

        Lauren 3 years ago

        This is Lvl 2...

      • profile image

        Matt 4 years ago

        This helped soo much. I was over complicating it all to much. This is a great essay that holds all of the info and is all relevant.

      • profile image

        bertha 4 years ago

        Can someone help me with this! Briefly discuss the principles of searching electronic sources. I'm finding it hard.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Charlotte, thank you for the feedback. Yes I passed. Assessments are not just based on what you write down. There are various types of assessments associated with each unit. Candidates are graded based on the combined performance.

        I had always been in touch with my assessor with any queries that I had, in fact, where there were insufficient answers, my assessor had professional discussions and question/answer sessions where my knowledge was tested and apart from this, observation and work evidence, witness testimonies, personal statements and so on...

        Sorry that you felt this way. You can alwasys feedback on any areas that need improvements, I will look into that when possible.

        Thank you for stopping by and sharing your views. All the best.

      • profile image

        Charlotte 4 years ago

        Hi Livingsta,

        Out of interest... did you pass this course?

        From reading your answers to the understanding questions, I find it hard to believe that these answers were sufficient. As an example of why I say this, 1.4 asks for 'methods of communication' yet your answer contains only 'types of communication'. I know that assessors tend to say that you cannot answer these incorrectly but at least you could answer it. There are other examples I could give but I have my own assignment to write at the moment and popped by here for a little insight. Sorry if this seems pedantic but I am truly interested in what your assessors said to these answers!

        Kind regards


      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Misslong, thank you for the visit and for sharing your thoughts and views on this topic. I am glad that you found this interesting. Have a good day!

      • misslong123 profile image

        Michele Kelsey 5 years ago from Edmond, Oklahoma

        I really liked the way you explained the importance of knowing your audience. It is so crucial to do that. If you format your speech, presentation, or written communication for the wrong audience, they will most likely misunderstand it, or at least not get the message you are trying to convey. If they don't get the point, they will learn nothing; nothing will change, and they can't change. Understanding communication is the only way to learn, change, and improve. Excellent job in conveying the information professionally!

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Scott, thank you for reading and the feedback. I will have a look through this and revise it.

      • profile image

        scott 5 years ago

        good article but 2.1 is wrong, you need to change what is a primary source and what is a secondary source.


      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Jmr, I am glad it was helpful!

      • profile image

        jmr 5 years ago

        thanks so much for this, it has helped me hugely!!

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Llo, thank you for reading and for your honest feedback. I am sorry about the error , I will revise and update it as soon as possible.

      • profile image

        llo 5 years ago

        I thought this was really helpful and good, but some of your anwers don't really actually answer the questions themselves, they kind of go off on a tangent and do not adress what the question is actually asking e.g 2.4

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Gage, I am glad it helped! :-)

      • profile image

        Gage 5 years ago

        this information is has helped me livingsta, shedding a lot of light for me, thank you :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        You're welcome Vistorina! Glad it was useful!

      • profile image

        vistorina 5 years ago

        thank you, this information really help.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Kev,

        Email me here on livingsta@gmail.com

        Hope this helps!

      • profile image

        Kev 5 years ago

        Can I find you email on here anywhere? or should I just stick them in a comment?

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hi Kev, did you want to send me the sections that you find difficulty with via email? I will look through and get back to you.

      • profile image

        Kev 5 years ago

        Hey Livingsta

        Do you have the section:

        701.1 Understand processes and procedures for storing and retrieving information

        Finding it a little difficult to answer some sections and require a little help.

        Thank you :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Glad it helped Shelley!

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Niall Szalkai. I am glad it helped.

        It has to be generalised. You can relate it to your job or organisation and write relevant primary and secondary sources of information that you come across or use. Hope this helps!

      • profile image

        NiallSzalkai 5 years ago

        Firstly thank you for this, its been a great help!

        "2.1 Identify relevant sources of information that may be used when preparing written communication."

        I was just wondering if you could help me on this part, Do you have to actually source the information as part of the unit or do you just have to explain it in the sense that you have ie Primary source/ Secondary source?

        Thanks :)

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Ben. Glad it helped.

        Enjoy your holidays! :-)

      • profile image

        dale-dude 5 years ago

        That top link was spot on! just what i was after, yno i don't feel as if there so much work to do now. Your so helpful and you breakdown the workload into manageable chunks i can handle.

        My apprenticeship lasts until 18 Oct 2013 so ive got a long way yet, if ive got any questions ill be sure to ask you for help :). I better get cracking anway one more day before holidays so ive gotta try to get this last part finished before i go away.

        Thanks again for replying quickly, it really is very helpful to me i can't explain lol.


      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Hello Ben, I am glad you have completed a unit, and also happy that these helped you in some way. For "Improve own performance in business environment" did you go through this hub below?


        Also did you go through this hub below?


        It has a list of all the units that I covered to complete my qualification. If you need any help, any time at all, please feel free to ask. I am more than happy to help :-)

        Thank you again for your valuable feedback and appreciation!!!

      • profile image

        dale-dude 5 years ago

        3 & 4 were just as good only with 4 they've worded my question differently so i can't use yours as help but never the less ive got it finished - Would you have any info on section, Improve own performance in a business envrionment? just the first section is good, and also do you mind me asking you the next time i get assigned work sections or do you already have the whole course in notes?

        Sorry to ramble on but your work is great and i find it so suited to my style of learning i don't want to keep surfin the web for more results.

        Thanks for all the help, really useful, you should be proud of your work!

        Many Thanks Ben.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you so much Dale-Dude. I am so glad it was helpful. I hope the rest of the sections will be useful for you too!

        Thank you for your kind and sincere feedback.

      • profile image

        dale-dude 5 years ago

        Im a Business Admin Apprentice and im doing the level 2 course, with working all the time, i don't really get much time to actually research the work so this info is exactly what i needed.

        Very helpful im glad i found this link, great explanation and not hoards of details. Simple, to the point but most importantly, its effective!

        Thanks for the upload i look forward to reading your 3 & 4 sections now.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Izzy, I am glad it helped!

      • profile image

        izzy 5 years ago

        Thanks a lot for this, it has helped me a lot.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Shelby, I am glad it helped. I do understand what you mean now. I have uploaded 3 and 4 now, please follow link below!


        Also, for the rest of the chapter up till 8.2, you will have to cover it through personal statement, witness testimony, work evidence etc. If you get stuck with anything and need more help, please feel free to contact me!

      • profile image

        Shelby 5 years ago

        Thank you for uploading this, helped me out so much with the coursework! I am doing level 3, but my written coursework goes up to 8.2, does your coursework finish at 2.11? That is what everyone is getting at with the 3-4 remarks. The unit does not finish at 2.11, it carries on to 8.2! do you have any help for the other questions? x

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Maddie. Hope it was useful What is that 3 and 4 you are looking for? Could you please elaborate?

      • profile image

        Maddie 5 years ago

        Thank you very much! i haven't copied but it is nice to have a few ideas on what you should be saying! if you've done 3+4 that would be awesome! these questions are so confusing!

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Sup, you need to tell me what exactly you need help with!

      • profile image

        sup 5 years ago

        hey , Can you upload learning outcome 3 and 4?

        Ur really helpful x

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Wendy, I am glad it was helpful. What is it exactly you need more info about? I am glad to help!

      • profile image

        Lol 5 years ago

        "1.Check the ponts written down:

        Whatever we write has to be accurate,"

        The irony ;)

        P.S thanks for doing my business admin coursework for me.

      • profile image

        Wendy 5 years ago

        Hi I have found this very helpful and it has given me good information. What I can not seem to find is any thing that could inspire me with outcome 3 and 4 from the unit.

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Chris! I am glad it was helpful!

      • profile image

        chris 5 years ago

        really helpful information, thanks a lot!!!

      • livingsta profile image

        livingsta 5 years ago from United Kingdom

        Thank you Z!

      • profile image

        5 years ago



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