Using Dance as a Lens to Understand Business Communication

22 Oct

Using Dance as a Lens to Understand Business Communication

We often use vivid, viewable activities to explain more abstract ideas.  One such abstract idea is effective business communication.  What is effective business communication?  To understand this, we can take a look at something much more concrete: dance.  In essence, an effective business communicator is like a fine dancer.

  • Appropriateness.  A good dancer knows how to respond to different types of music.  Different sounds solicits different styles, movements, and expressions.  On the other hand, effective business communication requires using an appropriate tone in different situations.  For example, when a company announces that it will lay-off employees, management must communicate in a way that is not too direct and harsh but also transmits the message.
  • Clarity.  Just as experienced dancers use all movement for a function, business writers/speakers need to know how to make every word, phrase, and sentence count.  A dancer must showcase everything he/she practiced in a concise fashion in the time allocated for a performance.  Likewise, a businessperson usually has limited time and/or space to convey all their ideas.  Thus, clear, concise communication is essential.
  • Relevancy.  Different styles of dance are relevant for different types of music.  For example, you would not do ballet to hip-hop (at least I hope you wouldn’t!).  Likewise, in business, certain forms of communication are more suitable than others in various situations.  When working on a time-sensitive project, you might use short, concise text messages rather than extensive emails to collaborate with your colleagues.
  • Purpose.  The ultimate purpose of dance is to express music through movement.  A good dancer uses all different types of motion to convey what he/she feels to an audience.  Essentially, movement is a dancer’s tool to achieve a purpose.  The main tool in business communication is language.  Just as a dancer uses movement to express music, a communicator must use language to effectively convey their ideas.

Viewing business communication through the lens of something we can see, dance, can help us better understand what makes effective business communication.  We can draw parallels between the two in the elements of appropriateness, clarity, relevancy, and purpose.

by Raymond Pang

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One Response to “Using Dance as a Lens to Understand Business Communication”

  1. Shiv Bery November 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    I am impressed that you were able to make a clear parallel between dancing and effective communication. I think you really helped readers understand what exactly you mean by appropriateness, relevancy, purpose, and clarity.

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