This section discusses the essential techniques for writing effective business messages. They are known as the 7 Cs of Communication Skills.
There are some principles to make communication effective. They are seven in number, and every principle begins with the letter “C”, therefore, they are called the 7 Cs of Communication Skills.
When we talk about “Effective Communication”, one thing that comes in mind is the basic principles of “effective communication”. These principles tell how your message can become effective for your target audience. Moreover, they also tell about the style and importance of the message.
The 7 Cs of communication skills are listed as under:
Message Receiver- either listener or reader-desires complete information to their question. Therefore, suppose you are working with a multinational company dealing in electronics, like TV. Now, let’s say, one of your major customers wants some technical information regarding the TV because he wants to convey the same to the end-users. In this case, you have to provide him complete information in a short span of time. If possible, provide him some extra information, if desirable. In this way, you can maintain good business relations with him. Otherwise, he may switch to another company. Thus completeness is the basis for achieving the 7cs of communication skills.
One way to make your message complete is to answer the five W’s i.e. the who, what, when, where, why and how questions. In this connection, we see that though we call it 5W’s while we actually write 6 questions. Actually, How is among these questions but, as it does not begin with W, so we do not say it, yet we include it. This five-question method is useful when you write requests, announcements, or other informative messages. For instance, to place an order for something, make clear WHAT you want, WHEN you need it, WHERE it is to be sent.
In the end, we can say that you must provide him:
- All necessary information as requested by him.
- Answers all of his/her questions carefully.
- Provide some more information, when desirable.
It is the second most important of the 7cs of communication skills.
Conciseness means “saying, what you have to say, in the fewest possible words.” It is a requirement of effective business communication. As a business executive is always short of time, therefore, a concise message saves time and expenses for both parties.
To achieve conciseness, you must consider the following.
- Avoid wordy expression.
- Include only relevant material.
- Avoid unnecessary repetition.
Avoid wordy expression
Instead of “at this time” you can just use a concise word “Now.” Always try to use “To the point Approach” in business scenarios.
Include only relevant information
Always try to provide only relevant information to the receiver of the message.
Let’s say, one of your customers requested a list of clients of the company. Therefore, in reply, you should provide simply a list of the clients at the panel of your company. Hence, there is no need to provide detailed business information about the client. Besides, observe the following suggestions to include only relevant information.
- Stick to the purpose of message.
- Delete irrelevant words.
- Avoid long introduction, unnecessary explanation.
- Get to the important point concisely.
- Avoid unnecessary Repetition.
However, repetition is sometimes necessary for focusing on some special issue. But when the same thing is said without any reason, the message becomes wordy and boring. Following are some ways to eliminate unnecessary words.
- Use shorter name once you have mentioned the longer one. For example, for Spectrum communications Private limited use Spectrum.
- Use pronouns or initials. For example, instead of world trade organization use WTO. Similarly, use IT for Information Technology (keeping in views that receiver knows about these terms).
Consideration means “preparing every message with message receiver in mind.” Try to put yourself in their place before handling any matter related to them. This is called You Attitude.
It is, therefore, very important for effective communication. While writing a message, you should always keep in mind your target group.
Consideration is very important “C” among all the 7Cs of communication skills. For this reason, following are three specific ways to indicate consideration:
- Focus on “you” instead of “I” or “We”.
- Show audience benefit or interest of the receiver.
- Emphasize positive, pleasant facts.
I am delighted to announce that we will extend our business hours until late in the evening to make shopping more convenient.
“You will be able to shop in the evening with the extended hours.”
Show audience benefit or interest of the receiver
Readers may react positively when the benefit is shown to them. Always try to address his/her needs and wants. Always show/write to the reader what has been done so far as his/her query is concerned.
Emphasize positive and pleasant facts
It means you stress on what can be done instead of what cannot be done. For example:
- You do not have your CNIC. So, it is impossible to open your account today. (Negative, unpleasant.)
- As soon as your Identity card reaches us, we will gladly open an account for you. (Positive, pleasant)
- We don’t refund when the returned item is soiled and unsalable. (Negative, unpleasant.)
- We refund when the returned item is clean and resalable. (Positive, pleasant)
This is the fourth important C of the 7cs of communication skills. Concreteness means “being specific and definite instead of being vague and general.”
It means that message should be specific instead of being general. Misunderstanding of words creates problems for both parties i.e. the sender and the receiver. When you talk to your client, always use facts and figures instead of using ambiguous words.
The following guidelines should help you achieve Concreteness.
- Use specific facts and figures.
- Choose image building words
He is very intelligent student of the class. So, he stood first in the class.
Ali’s GPA in BSE Software Engineering was 3.95/4.0. Therefore, he stood first in his class.
Always write on very solid ground. Therefore, it should definitely create a good image as well.
“Getting the meaning from your head into the head of your reader ,accurately ” is the purpose of clarity. In effective business communication, the message should be clear so that the reader can understand it easily.
- Choose precise words.
- Choose familiar and easy words.
- Construct effective sentences and paragraphs
In business communication, always use precise words rather than longer statements. Therefore, if you have a choice between a longer word and a shorter one, always use the shorter one.
Likewise, always use familiar and easy to understand words so that your reader will quickly understand.
|For example||For example|
|Invoice||statement for payments|
Knowing your audience allows you to use statements of courtesy. For this purpose, be aware of your message receiver. True courtesy involves being aware not only of the perspective of others but also their feelings. In other words, courtesy stems from a sincere you-attitude. It is not merely politeness with only the use of “please” and “thank you.” Although these are good, not the only things. Rather, it is a politeness that grows out of respect and concern for others. Courteous communicators generate a special tone in their writing and speaking.
Following are some suggestions for generating a courteous tone:
- Be sincerely tactful, thoughtful and appreciative.
- Use expressions that show respect for the others.
- Choose non-discriminatory expressions.
Be sincerely Tactful, Thoughtful and Appreciative
Some people are careless in the use of language. This characteristic is a common cause of discourtesy. Sometimes, they come from a mistaken idea of conciseness. Sometimes they are the result of negative personal attitudes. Likewise, sometimes they come from not knowing the culture of a country or even groups of people.
Accordingly, avoid expressions like those in the left-hand column below. So, you should rephrase them as shown in the right-hand column:
|Tactless, Blunt||More Tactful|
|Stupid letter, I can’t understand.||I think I am slow at understanding things. Could you please explain it?|
|It’s your fault, you did not properly read my latest FAX.||Sometimes my wording is not precise; let me try again.|
Thoughtfulness and Appreciation
Sending warm and cordial messages to succeed in building goodwill. They send messages of congratulation if there is something happy. Likewise, they send condolence and sympathy messages, if something unhappy happens to somebody. The value of goodwill or public esteem for the firm has a value that is more than thousands of dollars.
It is the most important of the 7Cs of Communication Skills. At the core of correctness is proper grammar, punctuation, and spelling. However, the message may be perfect grammatically and mechanically but still insult or lose the customer. The term correctness, as applied to business messages, also means three characteristics:
- Use the right level of language.
- Check the accuracy of figures, facts and words.
- Maintain acceptable writing mechanics
Use the right Level of Language
We suggest that there are three levels of language:
Formal and Informal Words
Formal writing is often related to academic writings, scholarly, legal documents, top-level agreements, and other documents, where formality is necessary, are included in this category.
Informal writing is more characteristic of business writing. Consequently, you use words that are short, and well-known. For this purpose, the following comparison list can help:
|More Formal||Less formal|
Avoid substandard language: Similarly, using incorrect words, incorrect grammar, and faulty pronunciation show your incompetence. They show your lesser skill in the English language. Some examples are as follows:
|Can’t hardly||can hardly|
|Aim to proving||aim to prove|
|Desirous to||desirous of|
Facts and Figures Accuracy
So check Accuracy of Facts, Figures, and words. As your goal is to be as precise as possible, you should check and double-check the figures, facts, and words for any possible mistake.
It is better to get the help of persons for accuracy. Thus their comments will give a better idea of its validity.
Figures and facts
- Verify your statistical data.
- Double-check your totals.
- Avoid guessing at laws that have an impact on you, the sender and your message receiver.
- Have someone else read your message if the topic involves data.
- Determine whether a “fact” has changed over time.
Proper Use of Confusing Words
English is an ever-changing language. It is constantly changing. In fact, even dictionaries can not keep up with the rapid changes in our language. Hence, the following words are often confused in usage:
- A, An; use a before consonants and consonants sound or a long “u” sound. Use a before vowels.
- Accept, except; accept is a verb, and means to receive. Except is a verb or a preposition and relates to omitting or leaving out.
- Anxious, eager; Anxious implies worry while eager conveys keen desire.
In short, knowledge of the 7Cs of Communication skills is very important. It is necessary for getting your desired feedback. Without it, you may communicate, but that may not be effective. Hence, that may not bring the desired feedback which is the objective of all professional communication.
If you have any questions or suggestions regarding the 7cs of communication skills, please feel free to leave your feedback in the comment section below. Thank You!