This week, I had the privilege of listening to a great Mind Tools based presentation called the 7 C’s of Communication. The value of that presentation wasn’t so much in the individual components, but rather in the conversation that stemmed from the team based on the presentation.
The first component is CLARITY. Of course as everyone knows, it’s important to clearly communicate your idea. What most people don’t consider is that doing this means not throwing out ideas that deviate from your message. So when you have something to say, whether it’s an email communication or a verbal message, be sure that each point relates to the next. No matter how great it sounds, if a specific point doesn’t fit in with your core message, then just save it for a more appropriate time.
Your core message should also be about just one or two key messages. Each piece of communication should have a limited number of messages so that you’re not cofounding the reader or listener. Ideally, you want to limit it to one message at a time, but that’s not always practical.
Another part of being clear in communications is making sure your recipient doesn’t have to read between the lines or make assumptions about your message. Sometimes, assumptions are made by both you or your recipient, especially in cases where your audience isn’t exactly on the same level as you. For example, ask whether there are any cultural implications? Also ask yourself if your audience has the same level of industry knowledge/terminology as you do? If not, then you need to scale up or scale down as needed.
The second component is being CONCISE. Being concise is about sticking to a point and keeping your message brief. Copywriters (and now even fellow tweeters) are familiar with the rule of word limitations. As a copywriter for example, trimming the fat off copy to make it within like 150 words or so, really helps get to the point precisely and without filler language. Case in point, see the copy below as an example of why you want to be brief and how you can trim fat:
The reason why you want to get to the point quickly is so that you can better motivate your reader to make a decision that much more quickly. You want to get to the point quickly so your reader can make a decision quickly.
The tricky thing about being concise though is about whether or not you want to repeat the message. The rule of thumb is no; you don’t want to say the same thing twice. However, I’d say that when there is a message that requires a lot of information, it’s always a good idea to restate the important action item at the end and underline it. Underline important pieces of information helps draw the eye to what really matters – especially in email communications.
The third component is my favorite, and it’s all about being CONCRETE. When your message is concrete, your audience has a clear picture of what you’re telling them. You’re offering them laser-like focus and a solid message to act on. But a concrete message isn’t just about facts; it’s about pairing facts with emotions that leads people to care because they find value in what you’re saying. If you can emphasize the value component – in anything from a slogan, to an elevator pitch, to a website – you’re almost guaranteeing your success to get others to initiate action.
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