Seven C’s of Effective Communication
There are 7 C’s of effective communication which are applicable to both written as well as oral communication.
These are as follows:
- Completeness – The communication must be complete. It should convey all facts required by the audience. The sender of the message must take into consideration the receiver’s mind set and convey the message accordingly. A complete communication has following features:
- Complete communication develops and enhances reputation of an organization.
- Moreover, they are cost saving as no crucial information is missing and no additional cost is incurred in conveying extra message if the communication is complete.
- A complete communication always gives additional information wherever required. It leaves no questions in the mind of receiver.
- Complete communication helps in better decision-making by the audience/readers/receivers of message as they get all desired and crucial information.
- It persuades the audience.
- Conciseness – Conciseness means wordiness, i.e, communicating what you want to convey in least possible words without forgoing the other C’s of communication. Conciseness is a necessity for effective communication. Concise communication has following features:
- It is both time-saving as well as cost-saving.
- It underlines and highlights the main message as it avoids using excessive and needless words.
- Concise communication provides short and essential message in limited words to the audience.
- Concise message is more appealing and comprehensible to the audience.
- Concise message is non-repetitive in nature.
- Consideration – Consideration implies “stepping into the shoes of others”. Effective communication must take the audience into consideration, i.e, the audience’s view points, background, mind-set, education level, etc. Make an attempt to envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions as well as problems. Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and their emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in message to suit the audience’s needs while making your message complete. Features of considerate communication are as follows:
- Emphasize on “you” approach.
- Empathize with the audience and exhibit interest in the audience. This will stimulate a positive reaction from the audience.
- Show optimism towards your audience. Emphasize on “what is possible” rather than “what is impossible”. Lay stress on positive words such as jovial, committed, thanks, warm, healthy, help, etc.
- Clarity – Clarity implies emphasizing on a specific message or goal at a time, rather than trying to achieve too much at once. Clarity in communication has following features:
- It makes understanding easier.
- Complete clarity of thoughts and ideas enhances the meaning of message.
- Clear message makes use of exact, appropriate and concrete words.
- Concreteness – Concrete communication implies being particular and clear rather than fuzzy and general. Concreteness strengthens the confidence. Concrete message has following features:
- It is supported with specific facts and figures.
- It makes use of words that are clear and that build the reputation.
- Concrete messages are not misinterpreted.
- Courtesy – Courtesy in message implies the message should show the sender’s expression as well as should respect the receiver. The sender of the message should be sincerely polite, judicious, reflective and enthusiastic. Courteous message has following features:
- Courtesy implies taking into consideration both viewpoints as well as feelings of the receiver of the message.
- Courteous message is positive and focused at the audience.
- It makes use of terms showing respect for the receiver of message.
- It is not at all biased.
- Correctness – Correctness in communication implies that there are no grammatical errors in communication. Correct communication has following features:
- The message is exact, correct and well-timed.
- If the communication is correct, it boosts up the confidence level.
- Correct message has greater impact on the audience/ readers.
- It checks for the precision and accurateness of facts and figures used in the message.
- It makes use of appropriate and correct language in the message.
Awareness of these 7 C’s of communication makes you an effective communicator.
Improving Communication Skills in Business and Relationships
Effective communication helps us better understand a person or situation, enables us to resolve differences, build trust and respect, and create environments where creative ideas, problem solving, affection, and caring can flourish. As simple as communication seems, much of what we try to communicate–and others try to communicate to us–gets misunderstood, which can cause conflict and frustration in personal and professional relationships. By learning these effective communication skills, you can better connect with your spouse, kids, friends, and coworkers.
What is effective communication?
In the information age, we have to send, receive, and process huge numbers of messages every day. But effective communication is about more than just exchanging information. Effective communication requires you to also understand the emotion behind the information. It can improve relationships at home, work, and in social situations by deepening your connections to others and improving teamwork, decision-making, caring, and problem solving. It enables you to communicate even negative or difficult messages without creating conflict or destroying trust. Effective communication combines a set of skills including nonverbal communication, attentive listening, the ability to manage stress in the moment, and the capacity to recognize and understand your own emotions and those of the person you’re communicating with.
While effective communication is a learned skill, it is more effective when it’s spontaneous rather than formulaic. A speech that is read, for example, rarely has the same impact as a speech that’s delivered (or appears to be delivered) spontaneously. Of course, it takes time and effort to develop these skills and become an effective communicator. The more effort and practice you put in, the more instinctive and spontaneous your communication skills will become.
Effective communication skills #1: Listening
Listening is one of the most important aspects of effective communication. Successful listening means not just understanding the words or the information being communicated, but also understanding how the speaker feels about what they’re communicating.
Effective listening can:
- Make the speaker feel heard and understood, which can help build a stronger, deeper connection between you.
- Create an environment where everyone feels safe to express ideas, opinions, and feelings, or plan and problem solve in creative ways.
- Save time by helping clarify information, avoid conflicts and misunderstandings.
- Relieve negative emotions. When emotions are running high, if the speaker feels that he or she has been truly heard, it can help to calm them down, relieve negative feelings, and allow for real understanding or problem solving to begin.
Effective communication skills #2: Nonverbal communication
When we communicate things that we care about, we do so mainly using nonverbal signals. Wordless communication, or body language, includes facial expressions, body movement and gestures, eye contact, posture, the tone of your voice, and even your muscle tension and breathing. The way you look, listen, move, and react to another person tells them more about how you’re feeling than words alone ever can.
Developing the ability to understand and use nonverbal communication can help you connect with others, express what you really mean, navigate challenging situations, and build better relationships at home and work.
- You can enhance effective communication by using open body language—arms uncrossed, standing with an open stance or sitting on the edge of your seat, and maintaining eye contact with the person you’re talking to.
- You can also use body language to emphasize or enhance your verbal message—patting a friend on the back while complimenting him on his success, for example, or pounding your fists to underline your message.
Tips for improving how you read nonverbal
- Practice observing people in public places, such as a shopping mall, bus, train, café, restaurant, or even on a television chat show with the sound muted. Observing how others use body language can teach you how to better receive and use nonverbal signals when conversing with others. Notice how people act and react to each other. Try to guess what their relationship is, what they’re talking about, and how each feels about what is being said.
- Be aware of individual differences. People from different countries and cultures tend to use different nonverbal communication gestures, so it’s important to take age, culture, religion, gender, and emotional state into account when reading body language signals. An American teen, a grieving widow, and an Asian businessman, for example, are likely to use nonverbal signals differently.
- Look at nonverbal communication signals as a group. Don’t read too much into a single gesture or nonverbal cue. Consider all of the nonverbal signals you receive, from eye contact to tone of voice and body language. Anyone can slip up occasionally and let eye contact slip, for example, or briefly cross their arms without meaning to. Consider the signals as a whole to get a better “read” on a person.
Tips for improving how deliver nonverbal communication
- Use nonverbal signals that match up with your words. Nonverbal communication should reinforce what is being said, not contradict it. If you say one thing, but your body language says something else, your listener will likely feel you’re being dishonest. For example, you can’t say “yes” while shaking your head no.
- Adjust your nonverbal signals according to the context. The tone of your voice, for example, should be different when you’re addressing a child than when you’re addressing a group of adults. Similarly, take into account the emotional state and cultural background of the person you’re interacting with.
- Use body language to convey positive feelings even when you’re not actually experiencing them. If you’re nervous about a situation—a job interview, important presentation, or first date, for example—you can use positive body language to signal confidence, even though you’re not feeling it. Instead of tentatively entering a room with your head down, eyes averted, and sliding into a chair, try standing tall with your shoulders back, smiling and maintaining eye contact, and delivering a firm handshake. It will make you feel more self-confident and help to put the other person at ease.
Effective communication skills #3: Managing stress
In small doses, stress can help you perform under pressure. However, when stress becomes constant and overwhelming, it can hamper effective communication by disrupting your capacity to think clearly and creatively, and act appropriately. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to misread other people, send confusing or off-putting nonverbal signals, and lapse into unhealthy knee-jerk patterns of behavior.
How many times have you felt stressed during a disagreement with your spouse, kids, boss, friends, or coworkers and then said or done something you later regretted? If you can quickly relieve stress and return to a calm state, you’ll not only avoid such regrets, but in many cases you’ll also help to calm the other person as well. It’s only when you’re in a calm, relaxed state that you’ll be able to know whether the situation requires a response, or whether the other person’s signals indicate it would be better to remain silent.
Learn to recognize & reduce hidden stress
When stress strikes, you can’t always temper it by taking time out to meditate or go for a run, especially if you’re in the middle of a meeting with your boss or an argument with your spouse, for example. By learning to quickly reduce stress in the moment, though, you can safely face any strong emotions you’re experiencing, regulate your feelings, and behave appropriately. When you know how to maintain a relaxed, energized state of awareness—even when something upsetting happens—you can remain emotionally available and engaged.
To deal with stress during communication:
- Recognize when you’re becoming stressed. Your body will let you know if you’re stressed as you communicate. Are your muscles or your stomach tight and/or sore? Are your hands clenched? Is your breath shallow? Are you “forgetting” to breathe?
- Take a moment to calm down before deciding to continue a conversation or postpone it.
- Bring your senses to the rescue and quickly manage stress by taking a few deep breaths, clenching and relaxing muscles, or recalling a soothing, sensory-rich image, for example. The best way to rapidly and reliably relieve stress is through the senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. But each person responds differently to sensory input, so you need to find things that are soothing to you.
- Look for humor in the situation. When used appropriately, humor is a great way to relieve stress when communicating. When you or those around you start taking things too seriously, find a way to lighten the mood by sharing a joke or amusing story.
- Be willing to compromise. Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone concerned. If you realize that the other person cares much more about something than you do, compromise may be easier for you and a good investment in the future of the relationship.
- Agree to disagree, if necessary, and take time away so everyone can calm down. Take a quick break and move away from the situation. Take a stroll outside if possible, or spend a few minutes meditating. Physical movement or finding a quiet place to regain your balance can quickly reduce stress.
Effective communication skills #4: Emotional awareness
Emotions play an important role in the way we communicate at home and work. It’s the way you feel, more than the way you think, that motivates you to communicate or to make decisions. The way you react to emotionally-driven, nonverbal cues affects both how you understand other people and how they understand you. If you are out of touch with your feelings, and don’t understand how you feel or why you feel that way, you’ll have a hard time communicating your feelings and needs to others. This can result in frustration, misunderstandings, and conflict. When you don’t address what’s really bothering you, you often become embroiled in petty squabbles instead—arguing with your spouse about how the towels should be hung, for example, or with a coworker about whose turn it is to restock the copier.
Learn to recognize & accept your emotions
Emotional awareness provides you the tools for understanding both yourself and other people, and the real messages they are communicating to you. Although knowing your own feelings may seem simple, many people ignore or try to sedate strong emotions like anger, sadness, and fear. But your ability to communicate depends on being connected to these feelings. If you’re afraid of strong emotions or if you insist on communicating only on a rational level, it will impair your ability to fully understand others, creatively problem solve, resolve conflicts, or build an affectionate connection with someone.
How emotional awareness can improve effective communication
Emotional awareness—consciousness of your moment-to-moment emotional experience—and the ability to manage all of your feelings appropriately is the basis for effective communication.
Emotional awareness helps you:
- Understand and empathize with what is really troubling other people.
- Understand yourself, including what’s really troubling you and what you really want.
- Stay motivated to understand and empathize with the person you’re interacting with, even if you don’t like them or their message.
- Communicate clearly and effectively, even when delivering negative messages.
- Build strong, trusting, and rewarding relationships, think creatively, solve problems, and resolve conflicts.
Effective communication requires both thinking and feeling
When emotional awareness is strongly developed, you’ll know what you’re feeling without having to think about it—and you’ll be able to use these emotional cues to understand what someone is really communicating to you and act accordingly. The goal of effective communication is to find a healthy balance between your intellect and your emotions, between thinking and feeling.
Emotional awareness is a skill you can learn
Emotional awareness is a skill that with patience and practice can be learned at any time of life. You can develop emotional awareness by learning
how to get in touch with difficult emotions and manage uncomfortable feelings, including anger, sadness, fear, disgust, surprise, and joy. When you know how to do this, you can remain in control of your emotions and behavior, even in very challenging situations, and communicate more clearly and effectively.