The 7 Cs of Communication
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 C's provide a checklist for making sure that your meetings , emails , conference calls , reports , andpresentations 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.
I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel Kadar, who's working in your department. In recent weeks, he's helped the IT department through several pressing deadlines on his own time.
We've got a tough upgrade project due to run over the next three months, and his knowledge and skills would prove invaluable. Could we please have his help with this work?
I'd appreciate speaking with you about this. When is it best to call you to discuss this further?
This second message is much clearer, because the reader has the information he needs to take action.
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?
Watch what happens when we're concise and take out the filler words:
I wanted to quickly discuss the email marketing campaign that we analyzed last Thursday. Our target market will want to know about the company's philanthropic efforts, especially our goals to become sustainable and help local schools.
This would make a far greater impact, and it would stay in their minds longer than a traditional sales pitch.
What do you think?
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.
How much time do you spend every day packing your kids' lunches? No more! Just take a complete Lunchbox Wizard from your refrigerator each day to give your kids a healthy lunch and have more time to play or read with them!
This copy is better because there are vivid images. The audience can picture spending quality time with their kids – and what parent could argue with that? And mentioning that the product is stored in the refrigerator explains how the idea is practical. The message has come alive through these details.
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.
I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you finished last week. I gave it to Michelle to proof, and she let me know that there are a few changes that you'll need to make. She'll email you her detailed comments later this afternoon.
Notice that in the good example, Michelle does not mention Friday's meeting. This is because the meeting reminder should be an entirely separate email. This way, Traci can delete the report feedback email after she makes her changes, but save the email about the meeting as her reminder to attend. Each email has only one main topic.
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?
I just wanted to remind you about tomorrow's meeting on the new telecommuting policies. The meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. in the second-level conference room. Please let me know if you can't attend. See you then Chris
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.
I wanted to write you a quick note to ask a favor. During our weekly meetings, your team does an excellent job of highlighting their progress. But this uses some of the time available for my team to highlight theirs. I'd really appreciate it if you could give my team a little extra time each week to fully cover their progress reports.
Thanks so much, and please let me know if there's anything I can do for you!
What a difference! This email is courteous and friendly, and it has little chance of spreading bad feelings around the office.