The seven Cs of Communication

How often you communicate with people during your day? How clear is your communication? This article, published on Mind Tools, shares the seven Cs of communication to ensure you’re communicating in the most clear and effective way possible

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 seven Cs of communication provide a checklist for making sure that your meeting, emails, conference calls, reports, and presentations are well constructed and clear – so your audience gets your message.

According to the seven Cs, communication needs to be: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete and courteous.

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.

1. Clear

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.

Information and actions required, must be clear so the reader has the information they need to take action.

2. Concise

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?
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3. Concrete

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.

4. Correct

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?

5. Coherent

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.

6. Complete

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?

7. Courteous

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.

Note:

There are a few variations of the 7 Cs of Communication:

  • Credible – Does your message improve or highlight your credibility? This is especially important when communicating with an audience that doesn’t know much about you.
  • Creative – Does your message communicate creatively? Creative communication helps keep your audience engaged.

Key Points

All of us communicate every day. The better we communicate, the more credibility we’ll have with our clients, our boss, and our colleagues.

Use the 7 Cs of Communication as a checklist for all of your communication. By doing this, you’ll stay clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.

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