By Akshita Kannan
In our school curriculum, we learn about specific subjects, facts, and data, but don’t really learn about necessary life skills such as effectively communicating our ideas. As students and as workers in the future, we will spend our day communicating through writing emails, speaking in meetings, debating with colleagues and peers, and creating presentations. The 7 C’s of communication ensures clear and effective communication of our thoughts by being: clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.
Firstly, we need to be clear about our main idea or message. By being clear, we simplify difficult ideas by using simple language. Avoid jargon or any other confusing language. Ask yourself, “What is your purpose in communicating with this person?” Try to organize ideas in each sentence and make sure your audience has no doubts and won’t need to “read between the lines.”
Along with being clear, we need to be concise and respect our audience’s time and attention. By being concise, we stick to our main idea instead of ranting and getting sidetracked. Make sure you don’t have any unnecessary adjectives, filler words (e.g uh, uhms, like, etc), repeating ideas, and phrases like “literally,” “basically,” and “ I mean.” By making our ideas concise, we also emphasize the 1st C of being clear.
Next, we need to make sure our main point is concrete. The goal is to not only explain the idea to our audience but also extend their knowledge with comparisons, charts, and images. Make sure your audience has a clear picture of your message. We want our communication to be “solid,” with vivid facts and details. Focus on your main idea and avoid having too many supporting details.
Once our idea is concrete, it’s important that we communicate our ideas correctly. This means your communication “fits your audience” and is free of errors. Make sure the audience can understand the technical terms used. In written communication, check for mistakes in grammar, and verify that names/titles are spelled properly.
After these are implemented, effective communication fundamentally calls for coherent ideas. This means that all of our ideas flow logically. Make sure “all points are connected and relevant to the main topic.” Most importantly, make sure your tone and stance stay consistent.
Our message also needs to be complete. We need to make sure our audience is fully informed and understands the context of what we’re communicating. If a “call to action” is necessary, we need to clearly state what we want our audience to do. Make sure all relevant information to our main idea is communicated.
Lastly, remember to communicate your ideas courteously. Be empathetic to the audience and avoid “hidden insults or passive-aggressive tones.” We want to be cordial, open, and sincere to our audience to earn their trust and engagement. Make sure to consider your idea or message from the audience’s point of view and show your audience that you respect them.
There are numerous variations to the 7 C’s of communication that use various orders and words. Outside of this list, numerous people call for credibility, or making sure your message improves your respect and others’ trust in you, and creativity, to keep your audience engaged, in the 7 C’s. Ultimately, any variation of the 7 C’s of Communication serves to increase the effectiveness of your communication. While you communicate daily, try to put the 7 C’s into practice to keep improving your communication.