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, and courteous.  

Concept OverviewThe 7 Cs of Communication is a framework used to ensure effective and clear communication. It outlines seven essential principles that help individuals and organizations convey messages accurately and comprehensibly. These principles are essential in various communication contexts, from business to personal interactions.
ClarityClarity emphasizes the need for a message to be clear, concise, and easily understood by the audience. Messages should avoid ambiguity, jargon, or complex language that can lead to confusion. Clear communication ensures that the intended message is received and comprehended as intended.
ConcisenessConciseness relates to the idea that communication should be brief and to the point. Irrelevant or excessive details should be omitted, and the message should convey its essence efficiently. Concise communication respects the audience’s time and minimizes the risk of information overload.
CoherenceCoherence emphasizes the importance of logical and organized communication. Messages should follow a logical flow, with ideas or points connected in a meaningful sequence. Incoherent communication can lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the message’s intent.
ConsistencyConsistency involves maintaining uniformity in communication. The tone, style, and content of messages should align with established norms and standards. Inconsistent communication can create confusion and undermine the credibility of the communicator or organization.
CorrectnessCorrectness underscores the necessity of accurate and error-free communication. Messages should be free from grammatical errors, factual inaccuracies, or misleading information. Correct communication enhances credibility and trustworthiness.
ConsiderationConsideration focuses on the audience’s perspective. Effective communicators consider the needs, interests, and concerns of their audience when crafting messages. This ensures that the message resonates with the audience and addresses their specific needs or questions.
CompletenessCompleteness means that messages should contain all necessary information to convey the intended message effectively. Incomplete communication can leave gaps in understanding, prompting the audience to seek clarification or make assumptions.
ImplicationsThe 7 Cs of Communication has several implications for effective communication: – Improved Clarity: Clear and concise communication reduces misunderstandings. – Audience-Centric: Consideration of the audience’s perspective enhances engagement. – Enhanced Credibility: Correct and consistent communication builds trust. – Effective Messaging: Coherent and complete messages ensure the intended message is received.
Benefits– Clarity: Ensures that messages are easily understood. – Efficiency: Conciseness saves time for both the communicator and the audience. – Engagement: Consideration for the audience’s needs enhances engagement. – Credibility: Correctness and consistency build trust and credibility. – Effectiveness: Coherent and complete messages achieve their intended purpose.
Drawbacks– Time-Consuming: Applying all 7 Cs may require additional time and effort. – Context Dependency: Some situations may not require all Cs in every message. – Overemphasis: Overemphasizing certain Cs may lead to overly formal or rigid communication. – Cultural Sensitivity: Cultural nuances can impact the interpretation of the Cs.
Use CasesThe 7 Cs of Communication is applicable in various scenarios: – Business Communication: Ensures clear and effective communication in corporate settings. – Marketing and Advertising: Helps craft persuasive and engaging messages. – Public Speaking: Enhances the impact of speeches and presentations. – Written Communication: Improves the clarity of written documents and reports. – Interpersonal Communication: Facilitates effective conversations and discussions.

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.

Case Studies

Business Proposal:

  • Clear: The proposal must be clear in its description of the investment opportunity, avoiding complex jargon or assumptions. It should ensure that potential investors don’t have to seek further clarification.
  • Concise: The proposal should be concise, presenting key points and benefits succinctly without unnecessary verbosity. It saves time for both the sender and the recipient.
  • Concrete: It should provide specific data and logical arguments supporting the investment opportunity, making the proposal more convincing and grounded in facts.
  • Correct: The proposal must be free of errors, particularly in financial projections, ensuring that the information presented is accurate and reliable.
  • Complete: It should include all the necessary documentation and information that potential investors need to make an informed decision. A clear call to action for the investors should also be included.
  • Coherent: The proposal should have a logical flow, presenting information in a structured manner to avoid confusion or misinterpretation.
  • Courteous: A courteous and respectful tone should be maintained throughout the proposal to create a positive impression and build rapport with potential investors.

Tech Support Chat:

  • Clear: The tech support chat should provide clear instructions for troubleshooting issues, ensuring that users can understand and follow the steps without confusion.
  • Concise: Explanations and responses should be concise to save time for both the user and the support agent while conveying necessary information.
  • Concrete: The support agent should use specific and logical language to describe troubleshooting steps and provide data or examples to support their guidance.
  • Correct: Information provided in the chat, especially technical details, should be accurate and free of errors.
  • Complete: The chat should include all necessary information and instructions to help the user resolve their tech issue. If further assistance is required, the user should know how to proceed.
  • Coherent: The conversation should flow logically, with responses addressing the user’s questions or concerns in an organized manner.
  • Courteous: A courteous and patient tone should be maintained, even if the user is frustrated, to ensure a positive customer service experience.

Product Launch Announcement:

  • Clear: The announcement should provide a clear description of the new product’s features and benefits, ensuring that customers understand what is being offered.
  • Concise: Information about the product’s benefits should be presented concisely to maintain the reader’s interest and avoid overwhelming them with details.
  • Concrete: Specifications and data should be provided to support the claims about the product, making the announcement more convincing and credible.
  • Correct: Information about release dates and pricing should be accurate and error-free, as incorrect details can lead to confusion and disappointment among customers.
  • Complete: The announcement should include all necessary details for customers to make informed decisions, including how to order the product and any special promotions.
  • Coherent: The message should flow logically, presenting information in a structured manner to maintain reader engagement.
  • Courteous: The announcement should maintain a friendly and professional tone to create a positive impression and address potential customer inquiries courteously.

Business Email:

  • Clear: The email should be clear and free from ambiguity, ensuring that the recipient can easily understand the message without the need for clarification.
  • Concise: It should be concise, delivering the necessary information without unnecessary wordiness, saving time for both the sender and the recipient.
  • Concrete: The email should contain specific details and avoid vague or abstract language, making the message more precise and actionable.
  • Correct: It must be free of spelling and grammatical errors to maintain professionalism and credibility. Technical terms should be used accurately.
  • Complete: The email should include all relevant information and details, and if necessary, it should provide clear calls to action or next steps.
  • Coherent: The email’s content should flow logically and maintain a consistent message structure, ensuring that the recipient can follow the narrative easily.
  • Courteous: The tone of the email should be courteous, professional, and respectful to maintain a positive working relationship.

Project Status Update:

  • Clear: The status update should clearly communicate the project’s progress and any notable achievements or issues, ensuring that stakeholders understand the current state.
  • Concise: It should be concise, focusing on key points and highlights, avoiding lengthy explanations that might overwhelm or bore the audience.
  • Concrete: Specific data, metrics, and evidence should be provided to support the reported progress, making the update more credible.
  • Correct: The update should be free from errors, especially in terms of timelines and milestones, to maintain trust and reliability.
  • Complete: It should include all necessary information, such as upcoming tasks or action items for stakeholders, to facilitate informed decision-making.
  • Coherent: The update should follow a logical structure, ensuring that stakeholders can easily follow the narrative and understand the project’s direction.
  • Courteous: Maintaining a respectful and professional tone in the update helps foster positive relationships with project stakeholders.

Job Interview:

  • Clear: During the interview, candidates should provide clear and concise responses to questions, ensuring that interviewers can easily understand their qualifications and experiences.
  • Concise: Responses should be concise, providing relevant information without unnecessary details or rambling, respecting the interviewers’ time.
  • Concrete: Candidates should use specific examples and achievements to illustrate their skills and experiences, making their qualifications more tangible.
  • Correct: All statements made during the interview should be accurate and free of factual errors, maintaining the candidate’s credibility.
  • Complete: Responses should address the entirety of the interview questions, providing thorough and informative answers.
  • Coherent: Candidates should maintain a logical and organized narrative throughout the interview, making it easier for interviewers to follow their responses.
  • Courteous: Maintaining a polite and respectful demeanor during the interview contributes to a positive impression and a potential job offer.

Key takeaways:

  • The 7 Cs of communication provide a framework for effective and efficient business communication.
  • The 7 Cs of communication detail 7 guiding principles. Is the communication clear, concise, concrete, complete, correct, coherent, and courteous?
  • The 7 Cs of communication provide many benefits for individuals and businesses alike. Proper communication boosts credibility and engagement which builds solid relationships. 

Key Highlights

  • Introduction to the 7 Cs of Communication:
    • The 7 Cs of communication is a set of guiding principles for effective business communication.
    • The principles focus on clear, concise, concrete, correct, complete, coherent, and courteous communication.
  • Purpose of the 7 Cs:
    • Effective communication in business ensures that messages are received as intended and are productive, efficient, and engaging.
    • The 7 Cs aim to improve both written and oral communication by providing a comprehensive framework.
  • Explanation of Each Principle:
    • Clear: Communication should be easy to understand without the need for further clarification. Simplicity is key, avoiding complex words or assumptions.
    • Concise: Messages should be brief to save time while conveying the necessary information. Balancing brevity and important details is crucial.
    • Concrete: Communication should be specific, logical, and supported by facts, including data where applicable.
    • Correct: Communication must be free of errors, including typing and spelling. Technical terms should be understood by the recipient.
    • Complete: Communication should provide all necessary information for the recipient to take action, including a clear call to action.
    • Coherent: Communication should have a logical flow, sticking to the main topic and avoiding distractions.
    • Courteous: Manners and politeness are important, especially in high-stress environments. Professional, friendly, and respectful tones should be used.
  • Extensions to the 7 Cs:
    • Credibility: Communication should enhance the credibility of the communicator, especially in scenarios like presentations.
    • Creativity: Creative communication increases engagement and can also enhance credibility in presentations.
  • Key Takeaways:
    • The 7 Cs of communication offer a comprehensive framework for effective business communication.
    • Following the principles ensures that communication is clear, concise, concrete, correct, complete, coherent, and courteous.
    • Effective communication has numerous benefits, including enhanced credibility, engagement, and relationship-building.

Read Next: Lasswell Communication Model, Linear Model Of Communication.

Connected Communication Models

Aristotle’s Model of Communication

The Aristotle model of communication is a linear model with a focus on public speaking. The Aristotle model of communication was developed by Greek philosopher and orator Aristotle, who proposed the linear model to demonstrate the importance of the speaker and their audience during communication. 

Communication Cycle

The linear model of communication is a relatively simplistic model envisaging a process in which a sender encodes and transmits a message that is received and decoded by a recipient. The linear model of communication suggests communication moves in one direction only. The sender transmits a message to the receiver, but the receiver does not transmit a response or provide feedback to the sender.

Berlo’s SMCR Model

Berlo’s SMCR model was created by American communication theorist David Berlo in 1960, who expanded the Shannon-Weaver model of communication into clear and distinct parts. Berlo’s SMCR model is a one-way or linear communication framework based on the Shannon-Weaver communication model.

Helical Model of Communication

The helical model of communication is a framework inspired by the three-dimensional spring-like curve of a helix. It argues communication is cyclical, continuous, non-repetitive, accumulative, and influenced by time and experience.

Lasswell Communication Model

The Lasswell communication model is a linear framework for explaining the communication process through segmentation. Lasswell proposed media propaganda performs three social functions: surveillance, correlation, and transmission. Lasswell believed the media could impact what viewers believed about the information presented.

Modus Tollens

Modus tollens is a deductive argument form and a rule of inference used to make conclusions of arguments and sets of arguments.  Modus tollens argues that if P is true then Q is also true. However, P is false. Therefore Q is also false. Modus tollens as an inference rule dates back to late antiquity where it was taught as part of Aristotelian logic. The first person to describe the rule in detail was Theophrastus, successor to Aristotle in the Peripatetic school.

Five Cannons of Rhetoric

The five canons of rhetoric were first organized by Roman philosopher Cicero in his treatise De Inventione in around 84 BC. Some 150 years later, Roman rhetorician Quintilian explored each of the five canons in more depth as part of his 12-volume textbook entitled Institutio Oratoria. The work helped the five canons become a major component of rhetorical education well into the medieval period. The five canons of rhetoric comprise a system for understanding powerful and effective communication.

Communication Strategy

A communication strategy framework clarifies how businesses should communicate with their employees, investors, customers, and suppliers. Some of the key elements of an effective communication strategy move around purpose, background, objectives, target audience, messaging, and approach.

Noise if Communication

Noise is any factor that interferes with or impedes effective communication between a sender and receiver. When noise disrupts the communication process or prevents the transmission of information, it is said to be communication noise.

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, and courteous.

Transactional Model of Communication

The transactional model of communication describes communication as a two-way, interactive process within social, relational, and cultural contexts. The transactional model of communication is best exemplified by two models. Barnlund’s model describes communication as a complex, multi-layered process where the feedback from the sender becomes the message for the receiver. Dance’s helical model is another example, which suggests communication is continuous, dynamic, evolutionary, and non-linear.

Horizontal Communication

Horizontal communication, often referred to as lateral communication, is communication that occurs between people at the same organizational level. In this context, communication describes any information that is transmitted between individuals, teams, departments, divisions, or units.

Communication Apprehension

Communication apprehension is a measure of the degree of anxiety someone feels in response to real (or anticipated) communication with another person or people.

Closed-Loop Communication

Closed-loop communication is a simple but effective technique used to avoid misunderstandings during the communication process. Here, the person receiving information repeats it back to the sender to ensure they have understood the message correctly. 

Grapevine In Communication

Grapevine communication describes informal, unstructured, workplace dialogue between employees and superiors. It was first described in the early 1800s after someone observed that the appearance of telegraph wires strung between transmission poles resembled a grapevine.

ASE Model

The ASE model posits that human behavior can be predicted if one studies the intention behind the behavior. It was created by health communication expert Hein de Vries in 1988. The ASE model believes intention and behavior are determined by cognitive variables such as attitude, social influence, and self-efficacy. The model also believes that intention predicts behavior such that one’s attitude toward a behavior is influenced by the consequences of that behavior. Three cognitive variables are the primary determinants of whether the intention to perform a new behavior was sustained: attitude, social influence, and self-efficacy. Various external variables also influence these factors.

Integrated Marketing Communication

Integrated marketing communication (IMC) is an approach used by businesses to coordinate and brand their communication strategies. Integrated marketing communication takes separate marketing functions and combines them into one, interconnected approach with a core brand message that is consistent across various channels. These encompass owned, earned, and paid media. Integrated marketing communication has been used to great effect by companies such as Snapchat, Snickers, and Domino’s.

Social Penetration Theory

Social penetration theory was developed by fellow psychologists Dalmas Taylor and Irwin Altman in their 1973 article Social Penetration: The Development of Interpersonal Relationships. Social penetration theory (SPT) posits that as a relationship develops, shallow and non-intimate communication evolves and becomes deeper and more intimate.

Hypodermic Needle

The hypodermic needle theory was first proposed by communication theorist Harold Lasswell in his 1927 book Propaganda Technique in the World War. The hypodermic needle theory is a communication model suggesting media messages are inserted into the brains of passive audiences.

7-38-55 Rule

The 7-38-55 rule was created by University of California psychology professor Albert Mehrabian and mentioned in his book Silent Messages.  The 7-38-55 rule describes the multi-faceted way in which people communicate emotions, claiming that 7% of communication occurred via spoken word, 38% through tone of voice, and the remaining 55% through body language.

Active Listening

Active listening is the process of listening attentively while someone speaks and displaying understanding through verbal and non-verbal techniques. Active listening is a fundamental part of good communication, fostering a positive connection and building trust between individuals.

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