When talking about good communicators, it’s common to think of orators making inspirational speeches. Historic speakers such as Winston Churchill, Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King Jr., Vince Lombardi and Gloria Steinem, and motivational speakers such as Tony Robbins, Zig Ziglar and John C. Maxwell come to mind. Each one stands out for the message they delivered. Motivating and engaging your workforce is essential, and communication, whether written or spoken, is something you can do well every day to accomplish those goals.
In our busy world, information is exchanged at high speed. The amount of noise and clutter means our message can easily be misunderstood or missed altogether. By using the seven C’s of communication checklist, you can become a more effective communicator. Whether you are talking with others or sending an email, gathering and preparing your thoughts will make your communication more effective.
The seven C’s of communication
- Clear: Be clear about the message to avoid confusion. What is the purpose of your message? What action do you want your audience to take? Being clear improves the likelihood that your message is understood the way you intended. Avoid using technical terms or jargon your audience may not know or understand. To communicate multiple ideas, be sure to express them clearly and separately from one another.
- Concise: Stick to the point and state your thoughts briefly. Avoid using unnecessary words or fillers. The more you say, the greater the chance of misinterpretation. Once you have made a point, don’t restate it in another way.
- Concrete: Ensure your message is laser-focused and don’t leave points up for interpretation. The information you include should be factual and support your primary message.
- Correct: A correct message has multiple parts, especially in written communication. Be sure that your language and terminology fit your audience’s knowledge or education level. Make certain all names, titles and other important information are correct. Proofread and, in some cases, have someone else review your work for correct grammar and spelling. The built-in spell checker doesn’t always catch everything. Errors and mistakes are a quick way to lose credibility with your audience.
- Coherent: Make sure your message is logical and that all the points you make are relevant and tied to the main topic. Use consistent language, tone and style throughout your message.
- Complete: Does your message clearly identify what action you want your audience to take? Part of forming a complete message is ensuring you provide all relevant information. Have you included contact names, specific dates, times, locations, phone numbers, etc.? In written communication, inserting hyperlinks can increase the effectiveness of the message. All necessary information followed by a clear call to action is an excellent formula for successful communication.
- Courteous: While commonly overlooked, being courteous can help your message achieve the desired response. Friendliness and honesty will increase your message’s effectiveness. Take a moment to place yourself in your audience’s shoes. Would you be compelled to take the desired action after receiving the same message? The golden rule of saying “please” and “thank you” can go a long way, even in a business setting.
It will be easier to follow this list in written communications since you have more time to edit your message. While slightly more complicated when speaking, taking the time to prepare and think through all seven C’s will lead to a more effective delivery. If your communication is effective, your audience will understand the message and take the actions you intended, whether you are speaking to a single co-worker, a large group on a job site or a customer over email.
As a more effective communicator, people will hear and understand you above all the noise. Like other skills you look to work on, communicating takes practice and the will to improve. Though the work may be challenging, the benefits will pay off.