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.
I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel, who’s working in your department. He’s a great asset, and I’d like to talk to you more about him when you have time.
What is this email about? Well, we’re not sure. First, if there are multiple Daniels in John’s department, John won’t know who Skip is talking about.
Next, what is Daniel doing, specifically, that’s so great? We don’t know that either. It’s so vague that John will definitely have to write back for more information.
Last, what is the purpose of this email? Does Skip simply want to have an idle chat about Daniel, or is there some more specific goal here? There’s no sense of purpose to this message, so it’s a bit confusing.
Let’s see how we could change this email to make it clear.
I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel Kedar, 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.
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