Communication is the means of transferring information and understanding from one person to another. Good communication skills benefit all types of individuals and organizations. Benefits of good communication include avoiding misunderstandings, good problem solving, effective decision making, good teamwork, and resource security. It also improves interpersonal relationships, but bad relationships are counterproductive, making people confused and passive. There are two types of communication: Verbal and Non-verbal. Verbal communication is the expression of thoughts through sound, words, or different vocal language. Non-verbal communication involves communication through silent language such as facial expressions, eye contact, posture, auditory cues, and creative expression such as dancing, drawing, symbol like status symbols/brands. Effective communication therefore includes certain basic principles to ensure that the recipient understands the message clearly and accurately. Here are 5 C’s of communication to keep in mind when dealing with someone.
- Completeness- Define your message. It must contain all the elements necessary for the recipient to perform the desired action. Provide all the relevant information and don’t let the recipient’s opinions, needs, attitudes, or feelings influence the message you send. A Complete set of information bring more desired result without any additional messages, thus build goodwill. Five questions are required: who, what, when, why, where, and also, how. Answer all the questions asked during the communication, any kind of omissions cast suspicions. Provide honest and accurate information. Give extra information as needed. Sometimes questions maybe inappropriate, use your tact and provide necessary extra answers that are relevant to the information you are providing.
- Conciseness- Conciseness is the ability to speak easily using fewest words without losing the other “C” characteristics of communication. A sentence should not contain unnecessary words or paragraphs or unnecessary sentences with the same meaning. Concise information saves the sender and recipient time, highlights important ideas, and attracts and respects the recipient without cluttering their lives with unnecessary information. Therefore, eliminate wordy expressions like change phrases into single words (eg. Wordy- On the occasion of; Concise- When), avoid empty phrases, use active voice instead of passive voice, avoid unnecessary modifiers, etc. Also eliminate unnecessary repetition like use short forms after mentioning their full forms, use pronounce rather than long names, if possible combine to or even more sentences using subordinate clauses or phrases, avoid using redundant phrases (eg, few in numbers can be replaced by few). Include only relevant material sticking to the purpose of the message, remove rambling sentences, omit obvious informations, avoid long introductions and explanations.
- Consideration/Courtesy- Consideration is the preparation of each message with the recipient in mind. The communication must be handled keeping the recipient’s point of view as well. It is a thoughtful approach based on empathy and an understanding of human nature. It is acknowledging human feelings and knowing the audience. Use non-discriminatory expressions to show respect. However do not overlook the purpose of your message. Focus on ‘you’ rather than ‘I’ and ‘we’, as we tend to focus more on ourself than a third party. But “you” can be sensitive in negative situations. Try to use passive voice in such situations. Show benefits to the receiver whenever possible and true. The rewards must meet the receiver’s needs. Emphasize positive facts. Don’t choose words like no, regret, complain, dissatisfaction that might have an unexpected impact on the recipient’s mind. Focus on positive words such as happiness, sincerity, admiration, goodwill, and positive values that reassure the recipient. Avoid boring language and don’t use questionable humor. that have undesirable effect on the receivers mind. Finally, practice integrity and ethics. Integrity means observance of sincerity and fairness. Both of these qualities are necessary to build trust in a communication.
- Concreteness- Concrete communication is specific, definite and realistic. Concreteness provide message where people can connect with an idea on a fundamental level. Concrete ideas can be grasped by anyone and must pass it’s core message as opposed to an abstract ideas which require prior knowledge and understanding. Concrete messages are understood by people with a wide range of experiences, from novices to experts. Whenever possible use specific facts and figures. Verbs can be helpful in making your sentences alive. Use active voice. Choose image building words to make your message powerful and actionable by sensory appeals, comparisons, figurative language like metaphors, similes and carefully selected adjectives and adverbs.
- Clarity- Clarity implies conveying the meaning of information to the recipient in order to understand it. So choose precise, concrete, and familiar words. Choose a mix of precise and familiar language, appropriate words that conveys meaning, and words that is familiar to the recipient and appropriate for the context. Remember to focus on length, unity, coherence, and emphasis for clarity, when crafting effective writing. Always use short rather than long sentences, as long sentences are often more complex and require more concentration. But don’t make the sentences too short. Otherwise the language becomes very simple and choppy. To make the communication interesting choose a variety in sentence length. Unity in a sentence means you must have one main idea or can have many ideas which are closely related. Unity serve the purpose of an effective communication in a better way. Sentence coherence means arranging words in such a way that they clearly express the main idea. You can use modifiers by placing them as closely as possible to the word that is supposed to be modified. Emphasis gives force to the important part of a sentence. The speaker/sender must decide what they want to emphasize and choose the correct sentence structure. You can choose headings, charts, coloured capitals, wide or short margins while emphasizing through computers.
Also there is a 6th C of communication that is correctness, which involves proper grammar, punctuation and spelling along with appropriate levels of language (formal, informal and substandard), factual and verbal accuracy (fact checking, no guesswork), and acceptable writing mechanics (Approved text must be error-free). Accept feedback from others and use it constructively to improve your communication skills. Also, choose different means of communication, such as email, phone, or face-to-face meetings, depending on the situation and your purpose of communication. Use these communication 5 C’s to improve your communication style, be an active listener, understand the recipient’s perspective, and respond accordingly.