7 Cs Of Communication

The 7Cs of communication is a set of guiding principles on effective communication skills in business, moving around seven principles for effective business communication: clear, concise, concrete, correct, complete, coherent, courteous.  

Understanding the 7 Cs of communication

Effective communication in business occurs when one party receives a message in a way that it was intended to be heard. But with corporate employees spending up to 30% of work time responding to email alone, communication must be also productive, efficient, and engaging.

To that end, the 7Cs of communication were developed to improve both written and oral communication.

Following is a look at each principle.

  1. Clear. Communication must be clear in the sense that the recipient does not have to seek further clarification on what was said. Here, it’s best to keep things simple. Avoid complex words and do not assume that the recipient has every detail of the story in front of them.
  2. Concise. Brevity is important because it saves time. Avoid using five sentences to communicate something that could be explained in two. Ultimately, conciseness is a balancing act. Employees must get their point across quickly without omitting important details.
  3. Concrete. Concrete communication is specific and logical. Facts must support each other and the premise of the communication itself. Where appropriate, facts in the form of data should also support arguments.
  4. Correct. Ensure that all communication is free of typing and spelling errors. Avoid over-reliance on spell checking tools because they do not catch subtle variations in grammar or word usage. If using technical terms, ensure that the recipient has an adequate grasp of the subject matter.
  5. Complete. Does communication have the required information for the recipient to take action? Indeed, is there a call to action included in the closing remarks?
  6. Coherent. Sentences should flow harmoniously and most importantly, be on topic. Avoid mentioning distracting topics that could easily be addressed in subsequent communication.
  7. Courteous. Manners and politeness go a long way, particularly in high-stress environments common to many businesses. Avoid coming across as demanding or brusque. Instead, opt to communicate with a friendly, professional, respectful, and considerate tone.

Extensions to the 7 Cs of communication

While the original framework is more than sufficient for effective communication, some extensions do exist.

The first is credibility. In other words, does the communication enhance or showcase the credibility of the communicator? This is particularly important for businesses giving presentations or in other scenarios where a business is less acquainted with an interested party.

The second extension is creativity. Creative communication increases engagement and again, can enhance the credibility of a business presenting to an audience.

Key takeaways:

Connected Business Frameworks

First-principles thinking – sometimes called reasoning from first principles – is used to reverse-engineer complex problems and encourage creativity. It involves breaking down problems into basic elements and reassembling them from the ground up. Elon Musk is among the strongest proponents of this way of thinking.
The ladder of inference is a conscious or subconscious thinking process where an individual moves from a fact to a decision or action. The ladder of inference was created by academic Chris Argyris to illustrate how people form and then use mental models to make decisions.
The Six Thinking Hats model was created by psychologist Edward de Bono in 1986, who noted that personality type was a key driver of how people approached problem-solving. For example, optimists view situations differently from pessimists. Analytical individuals may generate ideas that a more emotional person would not, and vice versa.
Second-order thinking is a means of assessing the implications of our decisions by considering future consequences. Second-order thinking is a mental model that considers all future possibilities. It encourages individuals to think outside of the box so that they can prepare for every and eventuality. It also discourages the tendency for individuals to default to the most obvious choice.
Lateral thinking is a business strategy that involves approaching a problem from a different direction. The strategy attempts to remove traditionally formulaic and routine approaches to problem-solving by advocating creative thinking, therefore finding unconventional ways to solve a known problem. This sort of non-linear approach to problem-solving, can at times, create a big impact.
Moonshot thinking is an approach to innovation, and it can be applied to business or any other discipline where you target at least 10X goals. That shifts the mindset, and it empowers a team of people to look for unconventional solutions, thus starting from first principles, by leveraging on fast-paced experimentation.
Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.
The CATWOE analysis is a problem-solving strategy that asks businesses to look at an issue from six different perspectives. The CATWOE analysis is an in-depth and holistic approach to problem-solving because it enables businesses to consider all perspectives. This often forces management out of habitual ways of thinking that would otherwise hinder growth and profitability. Most importantly, the CATWOE analysis allows businesses to combine multiple perspectives into a single, unifying solution.

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