Communication Skills - Business Analyst

Oral Communications

1. Purpose

Oral communication skills enable business analysts to effectively express ideas in ways that are appropriate to the target audience.

2. Definition

Oral communication skills are used to verbally express ideas, information, or other matters. Oral communications are a rich channel that allows for the efficient transfer of information, including emotional and other non-verbal cues. Effective oral communication skills include both the ability to make oneself understood and the active listening skills that ensure that the statements of others are accurately understood. The business analyst must have an understanding of tone and how it can positively or negatively influence the listener. Oral communication is most effective when the information being communicated will be used in the short term.

3. Effectiveness Measures

Effective oral communication skills can be demonstrated through:

  • Effectively paraphrasing statements to ensure understanding.
  • Effectively facilitating sessions, ensuring success through preparedness and co-ordination.
  • Developing and delivering powerful presentations by positioning content and objectives appropriately (i.e. positive vs. negative tone).
  • Can communicate the criticality or urgency of a situation in a calm, rational manner with proposed solutions.

Teaching

1. Purpose

Teaching skills are required to ensure that business analysts can effectively communicate issues and requirements and to ensure that the information communicated is understood and retained.

2. Definition

Teaching requires an understanding of how people learn and the ability to use this understanding to effectively facilitate the learning experience. Effective communication of requirements requires teaching skills, as it frequently requires that the business analyst educate implementation SMEs about the context that a solution will be implemented in. A business analyst must be aware of different learning styles, including:

  • visual learners (who learn best through the presentation of visual guides and models).
  • auditory learners (who learn best through oral communication and written language).
  • kinesthetic learners (who learn most effectively through doing).

The business analyst should understand how different learning styles may determine the form of requirements communication. The business analyst may also teach the use of analysis techniques to stakeholders in order to allow them to participate more fully and directly in the analysis process. Effective teaching also requires an understanding of methods that may be used to confirm that the student has learned and can apply what they have learned.

3. Effectiveness Measures

Effective teaching skills can be demonstrated through:

  • Verifying that learners have acquired information that has been imparted to them.
  • Ability of learners to use new skills or demonstrate new knowledge.

Written Communications

1. Purpose

Written communication skills are necessary for business analysts to document elicitation results, requirements, and other information for which medium-to-long term records are required.

2. Definition

Written communication involves the use of symbols to communicate information. It includes the ability to write effectively for various contexts and audiences. Written communication is required when information will be used at a time or place that is remote from the time and place it was created. Effective written communication requires that the business analyst have a broad vocabulary, strong grasp of grammar and style, and an understanding of which idioms and terms will be readily understood by the audience. Written communications are capable of recording a great deal of information, but it is frequently challenging to ensure that the written text is correctly understood.

3. Effectiveness Measures

Effective written communication skills can be demonstrated through:

  • Ability to adjust the style of writing for the needs of the audience.
  • Proper use of grammar and style.
  • Appropriate choice of words.
  • Ability of the reader to paraphrase and describe the content of the written communication.

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