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Business Communication: The 7 Cs of Communication

- Ayushi Negi, Kartikeya Jain, Akul Jhajharia, Chanakya Khandelwal, Ankit Sinha

Introduction 1. Clear 2. Concise 3. Concrete 4. Correct 5. Considerate 6. Complete 7. Courteous Variations Key Points

3 4 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21


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:

Clear. Concise. Concrete. Correct. Considerate. Complete. Courteous.

In this project, 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. Bad Example Hi John, 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. Best, Skip 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. Good Example Let's see how we could change this email to make it clear. Hi John, 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? Best wishes, Skip This second message is much clearer, because the reader has the information he needs to take action. Getting the meaning from your head to the head of your reader (accurately) is the purpose of clarity. Of course you know it is not simple. We all carry around our own unique interpretations, ideas, experiences associated with words. Choose precise, concrete and familiar words:- Clarity is achieved in part through a balance between precise language and familiar language. Precise words need not be pretentious. Familiar About After Home For Example - Use Simple & Popular words. - Write your purpose clearly. Pretentious Circa Subsequent Domicile e.g.

Construct effective sentences and paragraphs:- At the core of clarity is the sentences. This grammatical statement, when clearly expressed, moves thoughts within a paragraph. Important characteristics to consider are length, unity, coherence, and emphasis. Unclear: Being an excellent lawyer, I am sure you can help us. Clear: Being an excellent lawyer, you can surely help us. - Length. (Sentence <40 words)

- Unity. (One main idea in one paragraph) - Coherence. ( Say clearly) - Emphasis. (Choose correct sentence to focus on it.

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?

Bad Example Hi Matt, I wanted to touch base with you about the email marketing campaign we kind of sketched out last Thursday. I really think that our target market is definitely going to want to see the company's philanthropic efforts. I think that could make a big impact, and it would stay in their minds longer than a sales pitch. For instance, if we talk about the company's efforts to become sustainable, as well as the charity work we're doing in local schools, then the people that we want to attract are going to remember our message longer. The impact will just be greater. What do you think? Jessica This email is too long! There's repetition, and there's plenty of "filler" taking up space. Good Example Watch what happens when we're concise and take out the filler words: Hi Matt, 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? Jessica

Conciseness is saying what you want to say in the fewest possible words without sacrificing the other C qualities. A concise message is complete without being wordy. To achieve conciseness, observe the following suggestions; Eliminate wordy expressions. Use single words in place of phrases. Even Winston Churchill made extensive use of simple, one syllable words. Wordy Wordy: At this time Wordy: Due to the fact that Wordy: We hereby wish to let you know that our company is pleased with the confidence you have respond in us. Include only relevant material. - Stick to the point. - Delete irrelevant statements. - Avoid long introductions and Unnecessary explanations . - Talk to the point. Avoid unnecessary repetition. Concise Concise: Now Concise: Because Concise: We appreciate your confidence.

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 laserlike focus. Your message is solid. Bad Example Consider this advertising copy: The Lunchbox Wizard will save you time every day. A statement like this probably won't sell many of these products. There's no passion, no vivid detail, nothing that creates emotion, and nothing that tells people in the audience why they should care. This message isn't concrete enough to make a difference. Good Example 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. Communicating concretely means being specific, definite, and vivid rather than vague and general. Often it means using donatives (direct, explicit, often dictionary based) rather than connotative words (ideas or notions suggested by or associated with a word or phrase). The following guidelines should help you compose concrete, convincing message; Use specific facts and figures. Use precise statements instead of vague words. It is desirable to be precise and concrete in both written and oral business communication. Vague Student GMAT scores are higher. Concrete In 1996, the GMAT scores averaged 600; by 1997 they

had risen to 610.

Put action in your verbs. Verbs can activate other words and help make your sentences alive, more vigorous. - Use active rather than passive verbs. - Put action in your verbs rather than nouns and infinites. Choose vivid, image building words. Business writing uses less figurative language than does the world of fiction. Bland This is a long letter. Vivid This letter is three times as long as you said it would be.


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?

Bad Example Hi Daniel, Thanks so much for meeting me at lunch today! I enjoyed our conservation, and I'm looking forward to moving ahead on our project. I'm sure that the two-weak deadline won't be an issue. Thanks again, and I'll speak to you soon! Best, Jack Miller If you read that example fast, then you might not have caught any errors. But on closer inspection, you'll find two. Can you see them? The first error is that the writer accidentally typed conservation instead of conversation. This common error can happen when you're typing too fast. The other error is using weak instead of week. Again, spell checkers won't catch word errors like this, which is why it's so important to proofread everything! At the core of correctness is proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. However a message may be perfect grammatically and mechanically but still insult or lose a customer. The correctness, as applied to business messages, also means the following three characteristics: Use the right level of language.


- Informal writing is more characteristics of business writingeven more so if that writing occurs in an E-mail message. More Formal Participate Procure Endeavour Less Formal Join Get Try

Check accuracy of figures, facts, and words. A good check of data is to have another person read and comment on the validity of the material. Maintain acceptable writing mechanics.


5. Considerate
Consideration means preparing every message keeping the message receiver in mind; Being considerate means you dont loose your temper, you do not accuse or charge them without facts, in other sense consideration covers other six Cs of effective communication Consideration comprises of the following points to be kept in mind a. Focusing on you instead of I and we The message should focus on how message receivers will be benefited, what they would receive and what they need to know should be emphasized. Many people have ideas of individual gain for better standard of living. Example:

We-attitude: I am delighted to announce you that we will be extending our hours to make shopping more convenient. You-attitude: You will be able to shop in evenings with the extended hours.

b. Showing audience benefits or interest in the receiver If possible you must show how your receivers will benefit from whatever the message asks or announces. Receiver will be more likely to react favorably and do what do you suggest if you show that benefits are worth the effort and cost you are asking them. c. Emphasize positive, pleasant facts A third way to show consideration for your receivers is to accent the positive. This means stressing what can be done instead of what cannot be done, and focusing onwards your recipient can consider favorably. Example: Situation 1:


Unpleasant: We dont refund if the returned item is soiled or unsalable. Pleasant: We refund when the returned item is clean and resalable.

Situation 2:

Unpleasant: When you travel on company expense, you will not receive approval for first class fare. Pleasant: When you travel on company expense, your approved fare is for tourist class


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?

Bad Example Hi everyone, I just wanted to send you all a reminder about the meeting we're having tomorrow! See you then, Chris This message is not complete, for obvious reasons. What meeting? When is it? Where? Chris has left his team without the necessary information. Good Example Hi everyone, 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 secondlevel conference room. Please let me know if you can't attend. See you then, Chris

Business message is complete when it contains all facts the reader or listener needs for the reaction you desire. As you strive for completeness, keep the following guidelines in mind;


Provide all necessary information - Answering the five Ws helps make messages clear: Who, What, When, Where, and Why. Answer all questions asked - Look for questions: some may even appear buried within a paragraph. Locate them and then answer precisely. Give something extra when desirable - Use your good judgment in offering additional material if the senders message was incomplete.


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. Bad Example Jeff, I wanted to let you know that I don't appreciate how your team always monopolizes the discussion at our weekly meetings. I have a lot of projects, and I really need time to get my team's progress discussed as well. So far, thanks to your department, I haven't been able to do that. Can you make sure they make time for me and my team next week? Thanks, Phil Well, that's hardly courteous! Messages like this can potentially start officewide fights. And this email does nothing but create bad feelings, and lower productivity and morale. A little bit of courtesy, even in difficult situations, can go a long way. Good Example Hi Jeff, 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! Best, Phil What a difference! This email is courteous and friendly, and it has little chance of spreading bad feelings around the office.

True courtesy involves being aware not only of the perspective of others, but also their feelings. Courtesy stems from a sincere you-attitude. The following are suggestions for generating a courteous tone; Be sincerely tactful, thoughtful, and appreciative. - Though few people are intentionally abrupt or blunt, these negative traits are a common cause of discourtesy. Tactless Stupid letter; I cant understand any of it. Clearly, you did not read my latest fax. Tactful Its my understanding Sometimes my wording is not precise; let me try again

Use expressions that show respect. - No reader wants to receive message that offend. - Skip Irritating Expressions You are a delinquent You failed to Contrary to your inference Inexcusable Simply nonsense

Choose nondiscriminatory expressions. - Another requirement for courtesy is the use of nondiscriminatory language that reflects equal treatment of people regardless of gender, race, ethnic origin, and physical features. Questionable Freshman Manpower Neutral Entering students; first year student. Workers; employees; work force personnel.


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

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.

Bad Example Traci, I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you finished last week. I gave it to Michelle to proof, and she wanted to make sure you knew about the department meeting we're having this Friday. We'll be creating an outline for the new employee handbook. Thanks, Michelle As you can see, this email doesn't communicate its point very well. Where is Michelle's feedback on Traci's report? She started to mention it, but then she changed the topic to Friday's meeting.

Good Example Hi Traci, 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. Thanks, Michelle 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.

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.