The Seven C’s of Communication

If you have ever sent an email to a co-worker or friend only to discover you left out key information, you are not alone. Yes, I admit it. I have been that person who sends someone 4 emails to get my point across. Do I let that happen anymore? Not a chance. I put myself in the recipient’s shoes – do I want to read multiple emails to get one point? No way. It’s definitely worth spending the extra 2-5 minutes rereading the message and editing as necessary.

Recently, our team had a chance to talk about how we (as a company) can improve our daily communication skills. We focused on something you might have heard about – The Seven Cs of Communication. To be an effective communicator, it is important to keep these in mind.

  • Completeness – You don’t want to send a message or have a conversation with someone and leave out important information. Ask yourself… did you include all of the facts? Have you answered all potential questions? Above all, did you plan your message beforehand?
  • Conciseness – Cover everything you need to in as few words as possible. Being concise can (if nothing else) save you and the client time by getting straight to the point. Did you jump right into the subject of your message? Have you avoided adding unnecessary information?
  • Consideration – Considering the recipient of the message is important, especially in the business world. Remember to put the client first – did you highlight their interests and talk in their language? You can easily make the client feel like they are your one and only client by being considerate.
  • Clarity – Be clear with your message. It’s that simple. Needless to say, it is especially important to be clear when you are providing instructions to a client or co-worker. Did you avoid technical terms and use language that the reader can understand? Did you present one idea in each sentence?
  • Concreteness – One of the biggest mistakes communicators can make is lacking concreteness. To avoid your message from becoming misinterpreted, provide facts and figures. Do your images make the presented facts vivid? Did you give the client the crisp details they need? Most importantly, are the details razor-sharp?
  • Courtesy – It should go without saying, but being kind and courteous will get you further than negativity ever will. Have you thanked your client lately for their business? Even if you disagree with a client or a co-worker, everyone needs to know they are appreciated. Saying “please” and “thank you” can go a long way.
  • Correctness – Conveying correct information is more important that the message itself at times. Be sure to reread your message before sending to catch punctuation and grammar mistakes, as well as muddled language. Make sure you spell names correctly and check all your facts – these can make or break your message.

Communicating effectively is essential in the professional world. Whether your business is a restaurant, retail store, or a Fortune 500 company, you cannot be successful without good communication.

To communicate effectively, you must remember to consider the following:

  • What is the ultimate goal of the conversation? Where do you want the conversation to go, and what do you wish to accomplish?
  • Every interaction with a client will do one of two things: bring them closer or push them away.
  • Be positive! Communication that is negative

No one is born a superb communicator. It is a learned skill, and must be perfected by practice. Communication skills are acquired over time. Mistakes have to be made to learn the ability to communicate effectively.

“Skill in the art of communication is crucial to a leader’s success. He can accomplish nothing unless he can communicate effectively.” – Norman Allen