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7 Cs of Business Communication

Why do we write a business letter?

When we write a business letter, we are

trying to convince someone to act or react in
a positive way.

Our reader will respond quickly only if our

meaning is crystal clear.
The 7 C’s of effective
1. Completeness
2. Conciseness
3. Consideration
4. Concreteness
5. Clarity
6. Courtesy
7. Correctness
 Your business message is complete when it contains all
the facts, the reader or listener needs for the reaction you
 Communicators-Sender and receivers-differ in their mental
filters; they are influenced by their backgrounds,
viewpoints, needs, experiences, attitudes, status, and
 Because of these differences, communication senders
need to assess their messages through the eyes of
receivers to be sure they have included all relevant
 Provide all necessary information
• Who, what, where, when, why, how?
 Answer all questions asked
 Give something extra, when desirable
Completeness - examples
 Q: How come my request for an interview
did not receive a response?
• A: When was the letter sent? To whom? Who
sent it?
 Q: I’m new to the city, and would like to
join your club. When is the next open
• A: Where are we? How to get here?
 Conciseness is saying what you have to
say in the fewest possible words without
sacrificing the other C qualities.
 Eliminate wordy expressions
 Include only relevant material
• Stick to the purpose of the message
 Avoid unnecessary repetition
• Leads to dullness
Eliminate Wordy Expressions:

 At this time
 Now

 Due to the fact that

 Because

 Have need for

 Need

 In due course
 Soon
 Omit unnecessary expressions
• Allow me to say how helpful your last response was
• Your last response was helpful
 Replace wordy conventional statements
• Please find attached the list you requested
• The list you requested is attached
 Avoid overusing empty phrases
• There are four rules that should be observed
• Four rules should be observed
 Omit “which” and “that” clause whenever possible.
• She bought desks that are of the executive type.
• She bough executive-type desks
 Eliminate unnecessary prepositional phrases.
• The issue of most relevance is teamwork.
• The most relevant issue is teamwork.
 Limit use of passive voice
• The reports are to be submitted by employee prior tp
5:00 at which time they will be received by Mr. Jones
• Please submit your reports to Mr. Jones by 5:00
 Consideration means preparing every message with the
message receiver in your mind.
 You are considerate when you do not lose your temper, you do
not accuse, you do not charge them without facts.

 Focus on you instead of I and we

• You are foremost aware of their desires, problems, circumstances,
emotions, and probable reactions to your request.
• This thoughtful consideration is also called “you attitude,” empathy, the
human touch, and understanding.

 Show audience benefit or interest in the receiver

• Readers react positively when benefits are shown to them
 Emphasise positive, pleasant facts
• Readers will react positively or negatively to certain words
 I am delighted to announce that we will be
extending our hours to make shopping more
 You will be able to shop evenings with the
extended hours…(Focus on “You” Instead of “I”)

 It is impossible to open an account for you today.

(Negative, Unpleasant)
 When we receive proof of ID we will gladly open an
account for you (Emphasis on Positive, Pleasant Facts)
 Communicating concretely means being specific,
definite, and vivid rather than vague and general.

 Often it means using denotative (direct, explicit, often

dictionary based) rather than connotative words (ideas or
notions suggested by or associated with a word or

 Thus, the term female may appear in a personal folder

as a part of a job description, yet widely different
connotations may occur when using terms as wife,
mother, spinster, widow, maiden, matron, or dowager.
Guide Lines for creating concrete messages:
 Use specific facts and figures
• It is desirable in both oral & written communication

 She’s a brain (Vague, General, Indefinite)

 Her grade-point average in 2006 was 3.9 on a

four-point scale. (Concrete, Precise)
Guide Lines for creating concrete messages:
 Put action in your verbs
• Verbs propel thought: Verbs can activate other words and help
make your sentences alive, more vigorous. That is to have dynamic
sentences in your communication. Active verbs help your sentence more:

1. Specific: “The dream decided” is more explicit than “A decision has been
2. Personal: “You will note” is both personal and specific; “It will be noted” is
3. Concise: The passive requires more words and thus shows both writing
and reading. Compare “Figures show” with “It is shown in the figure.”
4. Emphatic: Passive verbs dull action. Compare “The students held a
contest” with “A contest was held by the students.”
Getting the meaning from your head into the head of your
reader – accurately
Guideline No.1 for Communicating with Clarity
• Your audience will understand better if you Choose precise,
concrete and familiar words

Familiar Pretentious
About circa (L)
After subsequent
Home domicile
For example e.g. (L)
Pay remuneration
Invoice statement for payment
Example of Unfamiliar/Familiar sentences:
After our perusal of pertinent data, the conclusion is that
lucrative market exists for the subject property.
The date we studied show that your property is profitable
and in high demand.
Guideline No. 2 for Communicating with Clarity
• Your audience will understand better if you construct
effective sentences and paragraphs. This includes:
• Length of sentence: Try for 17-20 words per sentence
• Unity: In a sentence keep one idea at a time. If you want
to add another idea, it should be closely related to the
first one.
• Example: “I like Jim, and Eiffel Tower is in Paris”
• Above sentence is obviously is not a unified sentence.
• Coherence: In a coherent sentence the words are
correctly arranged so that the ideas clearly express the
intended meaning.
Example of Coherent and non-coherent sentences:
 Unclear: Being an excellent lawyer, I am sure you can help us

 Clear: Being an excellent lawyer, you can surely help us

 Unclear: Our report is about testing, broken down in unit and

functional methods

 Clear: Our report on testing focused on unit and functional methods

 Unclear: After planting 10, 000 berry plants, the deer came into our
botanist’s arm and crushed them.

 Clear: After our botanist had planted 10,000 berry plants, the deer
came into his farm and crushed them
 The courtesy involves being aware not only of the
perspective of others, but also their feelings.
 Knowing your audience allows you to use statements of
 Be sincerely tactful, thoughtful and appreciative
 Use expressions that show respect
 Choose non-discriminatory expressions, for example in
order to avoid gender discrimination you can use:
 Entering student instead of freshman
 Workers, employees instead of manpower
 The best candidate for the position instead of the best man for
the position.
 Clearly, you did not read my latest fax
 Sometimes my wording is not precise; let me try again

 Manpower vs. Employees (More Desirable as its non-sexist term)

 Man-made vs. manufactured
 The best man for the job vs. The Best Candidate
 Anyone who comes to the class late will get his grade
 Students who come late to class will have their grades
reduced (Avoid using he/him)
 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 term “Correctness,” as applied to business
messages, also means the following three
 Use the right level of language
 Check accuracy of figures, facts, and words
 Maintain acceptable witing mechanics.
 Use the right level of Language: There are three levels of language: formal,
informal, and substandard.
 Formal writing this often associated with scholarly writing: doctoral dissertations,
scholarly articles, legal documents, top level government agreements, and other
material where formality is demanded.
 Informal writing is more characteristic of business writing. Here you use words that
are short, well known, and conversational as follows:
• Formal vs. informal
• Participate/join
• Procure/get
• Endeavour/try
• Ascertain/find out
• Deem/think
Check accuracy of figures & facts
 Verify your statistical data.

 Double-check your totals

 Avoid guessing at laws that have an impact on your, the

sender and your message receiver

 Have someone else read your message if the topic involves

 Determine whether a “fact” has changed overtime.
Avoid using substandard language:
Substandard vs. more appropriate
• Ain’t vs. isn’t
• Aim at proving vs. aim to prove
• Irregardless vs. regardless
• Should of vs. should have
 Accept vs. except
• Accept is a verb and means to receive; Except is a verb or a
preposition and relates to omitting or leaving out.
 Between vs. among
• Between involves two people, among three or more
 Effect vs. affect
• Effect is a noun, affect is a verb
 Farther vs. further
• Farther used for distance in space, further for distance in time,
quality or degree
 Imply, infer
• Imply means “suggest”; infer means “to conclude”