The 7 C’s – A guideline to effective communication

Effective communication is one of the master skills to boost your productivity. A communication is said effective when your message will be received and understood the way you intended. A very helpful guideline to effective communication is given by the 7 C’s. These seven communication principles provide a checklist for making sure that every kind of communication, such as emails, calls, reports, and presentations, is well-constructed and straightforward.

According to the 7 Cs, effective communication needs to be

  • Clear
  • Concise
  • Concrete
  • Correct
  • Considerate
  • Complete
  • Courteous

Let’s consider the 7 C’s in detail:

1) Clear – Clarity makes comprehension easier

Be clear about your goal or message, when writing or speaking to someone. What is your purpose in communicating with this person? Answer this question before addressing the receiver. Make sure that it’s easy for the receiver to understand your meaning. People shouldn’t have to “read between the lines” and make assumptions on their own to understand what you are trying to say.

Clarity in communication means to

  • minimize the quantity of ideas in each sentence
  • use exact, appropriate, and simple words
  • construct effective sentences and paragraphs

2) Concise – Conciseness saves time

Follow the golden rule “as much as necessary – as little as possible”. A concise message uses brief and to the point sentences, thus, saves time of both the sender and the receiver.

Conciseness in communication means to

  • avoid wordy expressions and repetition
  • convey in least possible words without forgoing the other C’s of communication
  • eliminate adjectives or filler words/phrases like “for instance,” “you see/know,” “definitely,” “actually,” “kind of,” “literally,” “basically,” or “I think that”

3) Concrete – Concreteness enhances credibility

Concrete communication implies being definite, clear and specific rather than vague and general. In order to make your message solid, a concrete communication uses specific facts and figures.

Concreteness in communication means to

  • use words that are clear and statement-like
  • choose vivid, image-building words
  • use active verbs rather than passive
  • when appropriate, use analogies to make comparisons

4) Correct – Correctness helps in building confidence

Besides proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling, correctness means an appropriate communication style that fits your audience in terms of status, knowledge, and educational background. Beyond that, all information should be accurate and timely.

Concreteness in communication means to

  • use the right level of language
  • choose non-discriminatory expressions
  • spell all names and titles correctly
  • send proof read messages

5) Considerate – Consideration means understanding

Consideration means to put yourself in the place of receiver while composing a message. Ask yourself: “Why should my reader spend time reading this?” The capacity to envisage your audience’s needs, their requirements, emotions, as well as problems will make you an effective, well-liked communicator.

Consideration in communication means to

  • focus on “you”, instead of “I” or “we”
  • show receiver’s benefit or interest in receiver
  • emphasize positive or pleasant facts
  • lay stress on positive words

6) Complete – Completeness brings the desired response

Your message is “complete” when it contains all facts the receiver needs for the reaction you desire. Remember that communicators differ in their mental filters; they are influenced by their backgrounds, viewpoints, needs, attitudes, status, and emotions.

Completeness in communication means to

  • answer all questions asked
  • provide all information
  • check for the five W’s (who?, where?, why?, when?, what?)
  • include a “call to action”, so that the receiver clearly knows what you want her or him to do

7) Courteous – Courtesy strengthen relations

Courteous communication is friendly, open, and honest. Courtesy implies taking into consideration both viewpoints as well as feelings of the receiver. It is not merely politeness with mechanical insertions of “please’s” and “thank-you’s.” Then courteous message helps you to strengthen present relations and make new friends.

Courtesy in communication means to

  • be sincerely tactful, thoughtful, and appreciative
  • omit expressions that irritate, hurt, or belittle
  • be positive and focused at the receiver
  • answer mails promptly

Further information? | Communication and Thinking Skills

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