How Does Business Communication Differ from General Conversation?

It can be rare for a person not to speak to anyone on a single day, especially if are employed. After all, how else will you report your finds in a meeting or how else will you say “pass the salt” on the dinner table? What people do not realize is not all interactions are the same. Such is business communication and the regular (more often called general) conversation. Notice it in your office; there is a world of difference on the way you speak to your boss and colleagues as compared to the way you speak to your friends, family and the mailman. To find out more, read on for the difference between usual and business conversation.

Target Audience

When it comes to usual conversation, this can be just about anyone from a little child to your next door neighbor to your local storekeeper to your best friend. For business communication, the target audience is most likely to be someone along the lines of your boss, colleague, lawyer or client.


When you are speaking to someone, a reply is wanted but it is not necessarily needed. There are times when it can be a one sided conversation, with the other party there solely for the purpose of listening. For example, when one is scolding the other. This is your usual conversation. The opposite is warranted for business communication; a response is not just wanted, but needed. Whether the response is positive, negative or indecisive it does not matter as the response would indicate the attempt at a business communication was successful. For example, one party is asking the other if their company has accepted the proposal. The response here can either be a negative, positive or a request for more time. Whichever result, as long as there is a response, it is good and satisfactory business communication.


Business communication tends to be longer than usual communication. This is mainly due to the technical terms used and the avoidance of conjugated and abbreviated words as much as possible. Meanwhile, your usual communication is very much open to shortened words, abbreviations and conjugations. Slang words can also be used.


Sometimes, certain correspondences must be brought to light when the court demands it. Business communication can most certainly be used as evidence or be presented to the authorities when demanded as the data used during the correspondences are accurate and true; papers or documents attached during the interaction can also be used. Meanwhile, your usual communication is usually deemed useless in the law as the correspondence can be not a hundred percent truthful, unless it is supplemented.


The scope of business communication is practical, pragmatic, impartial, objective and truthful content. It is also direct to the point and devoid of any emotion whatsoever. On the other side of the spectrum, usual communication can be personal, subjective, and fictitious. For example, the content regarding a fight. For business communication, the content can be somewhat report-like with the information sticking to what did happened and the logistics of it. For usual communication, the correspondent may choose a side and may put in a bit of drama into the narrative.


Business communication is informative and will be discussing only what is imperative to the interaction; it will be formal and only business shall be discussed. It will also be using a specific format. Usual conversation can be a little flighty and can contain information about anything and everything under the sun; it may not stick to one topic and will be quite informal. In regards to the format, anything can be used.

When it comes to business vs usual communication, just remember that business tends to be more formal, reserved for the office and objective while usual is informal, can be for just about anything and can be partial.  It’s easy to keep in mind, just as long as you read this guide.

Need Training?

American English prides itself on professional, business communications courses to both global and local companies. Visit our corporate training page to find out the range of courses we offer.

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