Effective Presentation Skills for Business Communication

Effective Presentation Skills for Business Communication

Professional presentation skills matter, and not just in the obvious way that you stand in front of the class and give your presentation. They matter even more in business communication, where you must be able to get your point across, persuade your audience and move them to action.

Your presentation skills can make or break your success as an entrepreneur, whether it’s getting investors on board or closing a high-stakes contract with another company.

These are the top 10 reasons why presentation skills matter in business communication and why they should be front and centre in any business communications strategy.

Why Presentation Skills Matter in Business Communication

1) you have to be clear.

You may have heard the saying a picture is worth a thousand words. This could not be more accurate than when you are trying to communicate with your audience.

The power of visuals can convey the message you want to share and demonstrate how your product or service solves its problem in seconds.

A presentation should be thought of as a conversation, where you are talking with your audience. You want them to feel engaged and excited about what they see and you want them to know that there is a solution for their need. But if they don't understand what's being communicated, it can be confusing and frustrating for everyone involved.

2) You have to be concise

In business communication, presentation skills are vital. This is because you only have a short window of time to make a lasting impression on your audience.

With this being the case, it is important to ensure that you use your words and body language to convey your message. To do this, you need to be concise with your words as well as ensure that your posture and gestures match up with what you're trying to say.

Doing so will help ensure that the person listening will understand what you're trying to convey and feel confident in making a decision based on it.

3) You have to be credible

This may seem like a no-brainer, but credibility is crucial to everything you do. If you're not credible, your business will never get off the ground.

There are many ways to build credibility, and you can start by being honest with yourself and others about what you don't know.

Honesty earns trust and leads to opportunities for growth. It's also important to avoid blaming others when things go wrong; instead, use it as an opportunity to learn how you can improve.

If possible, provide feedback that doesn't hurt feelings. Lastly, be realistic about where you're at in life and your career so that you stay motivated rather than discouraged.

4) You have to be able to connect with your audience

No matter how good your product or service is, if you can't effectively communicate the value proposition to a potential customer, you're not likely to make a sale. To do this, you'll need to have excellent presentation skills so that people can connect with what you're saying and understand why they should buy from you.

To start with, your message must resonate with your audience. This means understanding their background knowledge on the topic and what interests them so that you can speak to these interests.

You should also be able to draw similarities between your product or service and something of interest to them - such as showing how it benefits both parties involved in a transaction.

5) You have to be able to control the room

Presenting your pitch is an opportunity to show the world what you're made of. It's not just a way to get your ideas across; it's a chance to sell yourself, and show people why they should believe in you.

You have to be able to control the room and make them understand what you're saying. The best way to do that is with strong presentation skills.

That means speaking, succinctly, and without rambling or going off on tangents. You also need to know how to handle objections: What if someone brings up some flaw in your business plan? How will you counter their point?

Know how to answer these questions before you start presenting so you can keep the conversation on track while still addressing their concerns.

6) You have to be able to handle questions

You will always be faced with questions about your business. There is no way to avoid it. You have to be able to handle them so that you can maintain your composure and control of the conversation. If you answer with confidence, you'll come across as confident and professional, which will make the prospect more likely to buy from you.

Another important skill is being able to close a sale: When a prospect comes into contact with your company, they're already interested. But not all prospects are going to buy right away. A good salesperson knows how to close a sale at just the right time so that they can get their commission and leave happy knowing they've sold something.

Presentation skills in general are crucial for any profession: These days, presentation skills matter for any profession--not just public speaking or marketing, or teaching--to attract potential clients or customers to hire you or visit your company or class.

7) You need to know your material

Knowing your material is a big part of having strong  professional presentation skills . This is one of the most important skills to develop as it shows you have confidence and know what you're talking about.

For example, if you're presenting at an event and someone asks a question that you don't know the answer to, this will show. You want to practice answering all questions so that you feel comfortable and confident when speaking about your topic or company.

And it's always best to have some backup facts handy just in case someone throws a curveball at you! You need to be able to effectively communicate with people: For communication to happen, you need good listening skills and verbal communication skills.

It's easy for us humans to get carried away with our thoughts and not listen to what the other person is saying, but successful communication requires active listening - hearing and understanding both verbal language (words) and nonverbal cues (body language).

Sometimes we find ourselves caught up in our own emotions or thoughts and forget about others' feelings too. To communicate successfully, try asking open-ended questions that invite conversation like what do you think instead of closed-ended ones like do you agree?

8) You need to be passionate about your topic

Whether you're presenting to a small group or a large crowd, your ability to capture and maintain the audience's attention is crucial. Communicating effectively is all about getting your message across.

The way you deliver that message, with enthusiasm and the appropriate tone of voice, will have a direct impact on how well people can understand what you have to say. You want them to walk away from your presentation feeling empowered and excited about what they've learned – not confused or bored.

And when it comes down to it, isn't that really what any good speaker wants? A big part of being an effective presenter is understanding the needs of your audience.

How much background knowledge do they have on the subject at hand? What are their questions and concerns? Do they need to know more about a certain topic before diving into your main idea?

That requires deep research before going into an important meeting or speech - as does tailoring content specifically for an audience, whether it's adapting some existing material to fit their needs better or coming up with new examples that speak directly to their challenges.

9) You need to be prepared for the worst

You never know what will happen during a presentation, so it's best to be prepared for anything. You may need to speak on your feet and inform the audience of something that just happened, or you may need to step back from the podium and take an important phone call.

Whatever the scenario, you'll want to be able to handle it as smoothly as possible. That's where presentation skills come into play.

They're essential for anyone who needs to get their message across in a public setting - whether that means delivering an oral report or giving a speech at a conference.

10) Practice, practice, practice!

Practice, practice, practice! In the words of the famous American football coach Vince Lombardi, Practice doesn't make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect. Practice your  presentation skills with a friend or in front of a mirror to get feedback and see what parts need more work.

You'll also want to rehearse your slides and make sure they work on your computer before you present them to an audience. Avoid reading from the slides, as this can lead to a lack of eye contact with your audience.

Effective Presentation Skills Every Business Person Needs to Know

Do you have an upcoming presentation at work? Whether it’s in front of your boss or customers, giving a great speech can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. By being prepared, taking control of your fears, and engaging with your audience, you can give yourself the best possible chance of nailing that presentation! Here are 10 skills that will help you do just that.

1) The ability to capture and hold the attention

The ability to capture and hold attention is essential for any presentation. This can be done through the effective use of PowerPoint slides, voice inflection, and eye contact.

Slides should be designed with a clear message in mind and they should be kept simple so that the audience doesn't get bored or confused. Voice inflection is important because it allows the speaker to emphasize certain words or sentences which helps keep the audience engaged.

Eye contact is key because it allows the speaker to make a connection with those watching and makes them feel like they are being heard.

Effective communication skills are needed for this type of interaction because there need to be good listening skills as well as the ability to understand how another person is feeling based on their tone, body language, and facial expression. Good communication also means being able to say no without offending someone if necessary.

2) Strong eye contact

Strong eye contact is one of the most important things you can do in a presentation. Making eye contact with your audience will make them feel like they are being listened to and respected. It will also help keep their attention on what you're saying.

One way to maintain strong eye contact is by looking at the person who asked the question first and then glancing around the room before answering so that others can see that you're acknowledging their presence.

3) A clear, strong voice

To have a strong, clear voice, it is important to use proper breathing techniques and speak from the diaphragm.

This will allow you to speak loudly without straining your voice. To practice speaking with a strong voice, try this exercise: Stand up and place both hands on your stomach. Now exhale all of the air in your lungs (don't force the air out).

As you inhale, push your stomach out against your hands as though you are inflating a balloon. Keep pushing until you feel that your lungs are full of air and not empty. When you are ready, start speaking in an assertive tone.

If this exercise doesn't seem like it is working for you, try reading aloud from a book or magazine for about five minutes.

4) Enthusiasm

Many skills are important for business success. Knowledge of the industry, excellent negotiation skills, and knowing how to navigate a tricky situation can all come in handy. However, there is one skill that trumps them all:  effective presentation skills .

There is nothing more important than being able to communicate clearly and effectively with others. You need to be able to speak with confidence and sound like you know what you are talking about even if you don't have a clue what's going on!

What should I do? I'm so nervous! What's my audience going to think about me? These are just a few of the thoughts that run through one's mind during the lead-up to a presentation.

It's understandable and important that people should be nervous when it comes time for them to present, but it can be detrimental if they let those nerves get the best of them. For this reason, here are some tips on how you can help your business presentation go off without a hitch.

Practice  oral presentations   in business communication in front of friends or family before presenting. Make sure you have all your materials and notes in order beforehand so you don't have any distractions while presenting.

6) Confidence

One of the most important aspects of  presentation skills in business communication is being confident. It's not enough that you have a well-thought-out idea and are prepared to back it up with facts and figures, if you don't believe in your presentation, then why should anyone else?

To make a great first impression, stand up straight with your shoulders squared. Smile when you make eye contact with people, even if it feels fake at first. When speaking, don't mumble or rush your words. Speak clearly and slowly so that people can follow along easily.

Poise is the most important aspect of a presentation. It's what keeps the speaker calm, confident, and in control. Here are a few tips for maintaining poise:

  • Stand up straight with your shoulders back, looking at the audience instead of your notes. This will make you feel more confident and poised. 
  • Try not to shift around too much and keep your hands at your sides or on the podium unless they're gesturing while you talk. 
  • Use an even tone of voice that is neither too loud nor too soft. -Don't move around excessively and avoid distracting movements like fidgeting or chewing gum. Practice making eye contact with the audience, but don't stare them down since this can make people uncomfortable or nervous.

8) The ability to handle questions with ease

No matter how well you have prepared, there is always a chance that someone will ask a question you haven't anticipated. This is where your presentation skills come in handy.

Be sure to always have an answer and be able to present it confidently. You don't want your audience wondering if you know what you're talking about. Furthermore, if someone asks a question that is outside the scope of your topic, redirect them back with a solid response.

9) Preparation

Before you can even begin the presentation, your preparation will determine the quality of your message and how it resonates with your audience. To ensure that you are ready for any situation, we recommend:

  • Doing some research about the company or organization to which you are presenting. Understanding their core values and what they do makes a big difference in how you deliver your message. 
  • Practicing in front of a mirror or with friends and family until you are comfortable enough with what you want to say and how you want to say it. 
  • Dressing appropriately for the occasion by wearing clothes that won't distract from what you're saying but also fit into the culture of where the event is being held.

10) Naturalness

It's important to be natural when you present. Practice your presentation in front of friends and family members and get their feedback on how you're coming across.

When delivering a presentation, make sure that you are making eye contact with the audience, not looking down at your laptop screen or phone screen, standing up straight, and projecting your voice so that the audience can hear what you are saying.

There is nothing worse than a presenter who walks around the stage or fidgets in place during their presentation because it distracts from the message that they are trying to convey.

It is also important to have good posture when presenting as it will help make you look confident and authoritative. If you find yourself feeling nervous before a presentation, try practicing some deep breathing exercises before going on stage.

As a business person, you know how important is  professional presentation skills to your employees, customers, and other stakeholders.

Of course,  professional presentation skills can also be useful in everyday life, whether you’re selling yourself on the job market or asking your partner to babysit the kids for one more night so you can go out with friends.

Our School of Meaningful Experiences (SoME) creates and delivers transformative communication programs designed to meet the workplace challenges of the post-pandemic 21st century. Effective communication is an essential skill for today's modern professionals and leaders. With it, you can confidently manage conflict, collaborate with others and successfully develop yourself.

We offer both onsite and online training programs based on the needs of your organization; from one-day workshops to three-month diploma programs. Our instructors are highly experienced professionals with extensive backgrounds in different industries such as law enforcement or even diplomacy! They will teach you how to handle difficult conversations in a way that is respectful but also gets results. Whether it's dealing with an argument with a spouse or having difficult conversations at work—we have something for everyone!

What are effective presentation skills?

Effective presentation skills are what every businessperson needs to know. They are a crucial aspect of the business world, and without them, someone may not be able to succeed or thrive in their field. While there is no one right way to give an effective presentation, there are some basics that can help make it as successful as possible.

Why is presentation skill important in business communication?

If you are a business person, you must have strong presentation skills. A presentation is a way for you to tell your story, and it's an opportunity for you to establish credibility with the people in the room. You want them to feel engaged and entertained, but most of all, you want them to feel like they can trust what you say.

What is a presentation in business communication?

A presentation is a short speech delivered in front of an audience. Depending on the type of presentation, the audience may be composed of your coworkers or clients, or a mixture of both. Effective presentations are well-organized and planned with an objective in mind.

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Chapter 10. Designing and Delivering Presentations

In this chapter.

  • Strategies for developing professional oral presentations and designing clear, functional slides
  • Discussion of what makes presentations challenging and practical advice for becoming a more engaging and effective presenter
  • Tips for extending the concepts of high quality presentations to creating videos and posters

Presentations are one of the most visible forms of professional or technical communication you will have to do in your career.  Because of that and the nature of being put “on the spot,” presentations are often high pressure situations that make many people anxious. As with the other forms of communication described in this guide, the ability to present well is a skill that can be practiced and honed.

When we think of presentations, we typically imagine standing in front of a room (or auditorium) full of people, delivering information verbally with slides projected on a screen. Variations of that scene are common. Keep in mind, though, that the skills that make you a strong presenter in that setting are incredibly valuable in many other situations, and they are worth studying and practicing.

Effective presentation skills are the ability to use your voice confidently to communicate in “live” situations—delivering information verbally and “physically,” being able to engage your audience, and thinking on your feet. It also translates to things like videos, which are a more and more common form of communication in professional spheres.  You will have a number of opportunities during your academic career to practice your presentation skills, and it is worth it to put effort into developing these skills. They will serve you well in myriad situations beyond traditional presentations, such as interviews, meetings, networking, and public relations.

This chapter describes best practices and tips for becoming an effective presenter in the traditional sense, and also describes how best practices for presentation skills and visuals apply to creating videos and posters.

Process for Planning, Organizing, and Writing Presentations

Similar to any other piece of writing or communication, to design a successful presentation, you must follow a thoughtful writing process (see Engineering Your Writing Process ) that includes planning, drafting, and getting feedback on the presentation content, visuals, and delivery (more on that in the following section).Following is a simple and comprehensive way to approach “writing” a presentation:

Step 1: Identify and state the purpose of the presentation. Find focus by being able to clearly and simply articulate the goal of the presentation—what are you trying to achieve? This is helpful for you and your audience—you will use it in your introduction and conclusion, and it will help you draft the rest of the presentation content.

Step 2: Outline major sections. Next, break the presentation content into sections. Visualizing sections will also help you assess organization and consider transitions from one idea to the next. Plan for an introduction, main content sections that help you achieve the purpose of the presentation, and a conclusion.

Step 3: Draft content. Once you have an outline, it’s time to fill in the details and plan what you are actually going to say. Include an introduction that gives you a chance to greet the audience, state the purpose of the presentation, and provide a brief overview of the rest of the presentation (e.g. “First, we will describe the results of our study, then we’ll outline our recommendations and take your questions”). Help your audience follow the main content of the presentation by telling them as you move from one section of your outline to the next—use the structure you created to keep yourself and your audience on track.

End with a summary, restating the main ideas (purpose) from the presentation and concluding the presentation smoothly (typically thanking your audience and offering to answering any questions from your audience). Ending a presentation can be tricky, but it’s important because it will make a lasting impression with your audience—don’t neglect to plan out the conclusion carefully.

Step 4: Write presentation notes. For a more effective presentation style, write key ideas, data, and information as lists and notes (not a complete, word-for-word script). This allows you to ensure you are including all the vital information without getting stuck reading a script. Your presentation notes should allow you to look down, quickly reference important information or reminders, and then look back up at your audience.

Step 5: Design supporting visuals. Now it’s time to consider what types of visuals will best help your audience understand the information in your presentation. Typically, presentations include a title slide, an overview or advance organizer, visual support for each major content section, and a conclusion slide. Use the visuals to reinforce the organization of your presentation and help your audience see the information in new ways.

Don’t just put your notes on the slides or use visuals that will be overwhelming or distracting—your audience doesn’t need to read everything you’re saying, they need help focusing on and really understanding the most important information. See Designing Effective Visuals .

At each step of the way, assess audience and purpose and let them affect the tone and style of your presentation. What does your audience already know? What do you want them to remember or do with the information? Use the introduction and conclusion in particular to make that clear.

For in-class presentations, look at the assignment or ask the instructor to make sure you’re clear on who your audience is supposed to be. As with written assignments, you may be asked to address an imagined audience or design a presentation for a specific situation, not the real people who might be in the room.

In summary, successful presentations

  • have a stated purpose and focus;
  • are clearly organized, with a beginning, middle, and end;
  • guide the audience from one idea to the next, clearly explaining how ideas are connected and building on the previous section; and
  • provide multiple ways for the audience to absorb the most important information (aurally and visually).

Developing a Strong Presentation Style

Since presentation are delivered to the audience “live,” review and revise it as a verbal and visual presentation, not as a piece of writing. As part of the “writing” process, give yourself time to practice delivering your presentation out loud with the visuals . This might mean practicing in front of a mirror or asking someone else to listen to your presentation and give you feedback (or both!). Even if you have a solid plan for the presentation and a strong script, unexpected things will happen when you actually say the words—timing will feel different, you will find transitions that need to be smoothed out, slides will need to be moved.

More importantly, you will be better able to reach your audience if you are able to look up from your notes and really talk to them—this will take practice.

Characteristics of a Strong Presentation Style

When it comes time to practice delivery, think about what has made a presentation and a presenter more or less effective in your past experiences in the audience. What presenters impressed you? Or bored you? What types of presentation visuals keep your attention? Or are more useful?

One of the keys to an effective presentation is to keep your audience focused on what matters—the information—and avoid distracting them or losing their attention with things like overly complicated visuals, monotone delivery, or disinterested body language.

As a presenter, you must also bring your own energy and show the audience that you are interested in the topic—nothing is more boring than a bored presenter, and if your audience is bored, you will not be successful in delivering your message.

Verbal communication should be clear and easy to listen to; non-verbal communication (or body language) should be natural and not distracting to your audience. The chart below outlines qualities of both verbal and non-verbal communication that impact presentation style. Use it as a sort of “rubric” as you assess and practice your own presentation skills.

As you plan and practice a presentation, be aware of time constraints. If you are given a time limit (say, 15 minutes to deliver a presentation in class or 30 minutes for a conference presentation), respect that time limit and plan the right amount of content. As mentioned above, timing must be practiced “live”—without timing yourself, it’s difficult to know how long a presentation will actually take to deliver.

Finally, remember that presentations are “live” and you need to stay alert and flexible to deal with the unexpected:

  • Check in with your audience.  Ask questions to make sure everything is working (“Can everyone hear me ok?” or “Can you see the screen if I stand here?”) and be willing to adapt to fix any issues.
  • Don’t get so locked into a script that you can’t improvise. You might need to respond to a question, take more time to explain a concept if you see that you’re losing your audience, or move through a planned section more quickly for the sake of time. Have a plan and be able to underscore the main purpose and message of your presentation clearly, even if you end up deviating from the plan.
  • Expect technical difficulties. Presentation equipment fails all the time—the slide advancer won’t work, your laptop won’t connect to the podium, a video won’t play, etc. Obviously, you should do everything you can to avoid this by checking and planning, but if it does, stay calm, try to fix it, and be willing to adjust your plans. You might need to manually advance slides or speak louder to compensate for a faulty microphone. Also, have multiple ways to access your presentation visuals (e.g., opening Google Slides from another machine or having a flash drive).

Developing Strong Group Presentations

Group presentations come with unique challenges. You might be a confident presenter individually, but as a member of a group, you are dealing with different presentation styles and levels of comfort.

Here are some techniques and things to consider to help groups work through the planning and practicing process together:

  • Transitions and hand-off points. Be conscious of and plan for smooth transitions between group members as one person takes over the presentation from another. Awkward or abrupt transitions can become distracting for an audience, so help them shift their attention from one speaker to the next. You can acknowledge the person who is speaking next (“I’ll hand it over to Sam who will tell you about the results”) or the person who’s stepping in can acknowledge the previous speaker (“So, I will build on what you just heard and explain our findings in more detail”). Don’t spend too much time on transitions—that can also become distracting. Work to make them smooth and natural.
  • Table reads. When the presentation is outlined and written, sit around a table together and talk through the presentation—actually say what you will say during the presentation, but in a more casual way. This will help you check the real timing (keep an eye on the clock) and work through transitions and hand-off points. (Table reads are what actors do with scripts as part of the rehearsal process.)
  • Body language. Remember that you are still part of the presentation even when you’re not speaking. Consider non-verbal communication cues—pay attention to your fellow group members, don’t block the visuals, and look alert and interested.

Designing Effective Visuals

Presentation visuals (typically slides, but could be videos, props, handouts, etc.) help presenters reinforce important information by giving the audience a way to see as well as hear the message. As with all other aspects of presentations, the goal of visuals is to aid your audience’s understanding, not overwhelm or distract them. One of the most common ways visuals get distracting is by using too much text. Plan and select visuals aids carefully—don’t just put your notes on the screen, but use the visuals to reinforce important information and explain difficult concepts.

The slides below outline useful strategies for designing professional, effective presentation slides.

  • Write concise text. Minimize the amount of reading you ask your audience to do by using only meaningful keywords, essential data and information, and short phrases. Long blocks of text or full paragraphs are almost never useful.
  • Use meaningful titles. The title should reveal the purpose of the slide. Its position on the slide is highly visible—use it to make a claim or assertion, identify the specific focus of the slide, or ask a framing question.
  • Use images and graphics. Wherever possible, replace wordy descriptions with visuals. Well chosen images and graphics will add another dimension to the message you are trying to communicate. Make sure images are clear and large enough for your audience to see and understand in the context of the presentation.
  • Keep design consistent. The visual style of the slides should be cohesive. Use the same fonts, colors, borders, backgrounds for similar items (e.g., all titles should be styled the same way, all photos should have the same size and color border). This does not mean every slide needs to look identical, but they should be a recognizable set.
  • Use appropriate contrast. Pay attention to how easy it is to see elements on the screen. Whatever colors you choose, backgrounds and overlaid text need to be some version of light/dark. Avoid positioning text over a patterned or “busy” background—it is easy for the text to get lost and become unreadable. Know that what looks ok on your computer screen might not be as clear when projected.

Key Takeaway

  • Create a structure for your presentation or video that clearly supports your goal.
  • Practice effective verbal and non-verbal communication to become comfortable with your content and timing. If you are presenting as a group, practice together.
  • Use visuals that support your message without distracting your audience.

Additional Resources

Fundamentals of Engineering Technical Communications Copyright © by Leah Wahlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License , except where otherwise noted.

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3 Ways to Keep Your Audience Focused During a Presentation

  • Matt Abrahams

presentation in business communication pdf

Fight back against their tendency to zone out or multitask.

Grabbing and keeping your audience’s focus is critical to communication success. What you have to say is important, so give yourself the best chance to convey your message to your audience by first gaining attention, but then, more importantly, sustaining it. In this piece, the author outlines three techniques — physical, mental, and linguistic — to engage your audience.

Attention is our most precious commodity. In today’s fast-paced world of always-on digital devices and round-the-clock media cycles, getting our audience’s attention is critical to our communication success. With so many distractions vying for our time, we must actively seek and gain our audience’s attention first.

presentation in business communication pdf

  • Matt Abrahams is a lecturer in organizational behavior at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He hosts Think Fast, Talk Smart: The Podcast and is the author of Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot .

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Book Title: Business Communication for Success

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Book Description: Business Communication for Success (BCS) provides a comprehensive, integrated approach to the study and application of written and oral business communication to serve both student and professor. For questions about this textbook please contact [email protected]

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Lasswell (1948) classic definition of communication defines communication as: who (source or sender), says what (message), in which channel (medium), to whom (audience or receiver), with what effect. In other words this model is about process of communication and its function to society. Target customers (receivers) have particular preferences for the message channels. Discrete types of messages are received differing in their various uses. Furthermore the ways that receivers could respond to these messages or those senders of messages will occur in different paths, depend on detached preferences (Westmyer et al., 1998). The classic model of effective communication recommends the highest impact of the message that the sender sends occurs when the sender has thoroughly understood the demands and desires of the receivers. In other words, as Shannon and Weaver claims (1949): communication occurs when the sender encoding of the message corresponds with the receiver decoding of it...

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