Think of how often you communicate with people during your day. You write emails, facilitate meetings, participate in conference calls, create reports, devise presentations, debate with your colleagues… the list goes on.
We can spend almost our entire day communicating. So, how can we provide a huge boost to our productivity? We can make sure that we communicate in the clearest, most effective way possible.
This is why the 7 Cs of Communication are helpful. The 7 Cs provide a checklist for making sure that your meetings, emails, conference calls, reports, and presentations are well constructed and clear – so your audience gets your message.
According to the 7 Cs, communication needs to be:
In this article, we look at each of the 7 Cs of Communication, and we’ll illustrate each element with both good and bad examples.
When writing or speaking to someone, be clear about your goal or message. What is your purpose in communicating with this person? If you’re not sure, then your audience won’t be sure either.
To be clear, try to minimize the number of ideas in each sentence. Make sure that it’s easy for your reader to understand your meaning. People shouldn’t have to “read between the lines” and make assumptions on their own to understand what you’re trying to say.
When you’re concise in your communication, you stick to the point and keep it brief. Your audience doesn’t want to read six sentences when you could communicate your message in three.
- Are there any adjectives or “filler words” that you can delete? You can often eliminate words like “for instance,” “you see,” “definitely,” “kind of,” “literally,” “basically,” or “I mean.”
- Are there any unnecessary sentences?
- Have you repeated the point several times, in different ways?
When your message is concrete, then your audience has a clear picture of what you’re telling them. There are details (but not too many!) and vivid facts, and there’s laser like focus. Your message is solid.
When your communication is correct, it fits your audience. And correct communication is also error-free communication.
- Do the technical terms you use fit your audience’s level of education or knowledge?
- Have you checked your writing for grammatical errors? Remember, spell checkers won’t catch everything.
- Are all names and titles spelled correctly?
When your communication is coherent, it’s logical. All points are connected and relevant to the main topic and the tone and flow of the text is consistent.
In a complete message, the audience has everything they need to be informed and, if applicable, take action.
- Does your message include a “call to action”, so that your audience clearly knows what you want them to do?
- Have you included all relevant information – contact names, dates, times, locations, and so on?
Courteous communication is friendly, open, and honest. There are no hidden insults or passive-aggressive tones. You keep your reader’s viewpoint in mind, and you’re empathetic to their needs.