Getting Your Communications Right
Most of our days are spent communicating with others in some way. From our morning greetings, right the way through until we switch off and sleep for the evening, the people we interact with and the methods and channels we use are wide and varied. Some of these interactions may be brief and simple, while others may be longer and more complex. However, it is not the duration of time that determines the quality of our communicative interactions. The deciding factor in the quality of our communications is the effectiveness of each interaction.
Effectiveness is not necessarily managing to get your point across. It´s making sure that communication took place.
The surprising thing about communication is that it very often doesn´t take place. That is to say, in any effective measurements. It´s important to remember that it is not an exercise in he said she said. For effective communication to take place, it´s vital to understand the emotions surrounding the whole setting.
The modern workplace relies tremendously on effective communication in order for business operations to run smoothly and it is here that skilled communicators excel. The ability to communicate effectively is rated as one of the most sought-after skills by hirers that a candidate could possess. Never before has this been more evident as business communications become increasingly global. That aside, a person´s ability to communicate effectively at all levels across a structurally flat market place, will give them the winning edge over someone who lacks in effective communication skills.
Reasons and Modes of Communication
Communication may take place through a variety of modes and for various reasons, including but not limited to:
- Telephone calls / conferences
- Video conferences
- Meetings / briefings
- Coaching sessions
- Customer complaints
7 Cs Communication Model
The 7 Cs communication model provides a clear pathway for effective communication and helps to remove barriers. Whether the message is a morning briefing, presentation to prospective clients or a project proposal presentation to the board of directors, the 7 Cs model offers a solid framework on which to build important communications.
The first thing to do is ask yourself this question:
What is the overall objective for your communication?
Identifying and understanding your overall objective, will bring some clarity to the overall process.
If your communication is not clear, then your audience will have difficulty interpreting your message. If your audience start to guess or surmise your intentions, there is every likelihood that any actions taken on your message will be incorrect.
What starts out wrong, ends up wrong. Make sure that your communication is crystal clear and that there is no room for ambiguity or misinterpretation.
Keeping your objective in mind, stick to the point and don´t get side tracked with peripheral issues. Often a small brief communication will be sufficient. There is no need to pad out the message with unnecessary fillers. By focusing solely on the reason for the communication, you will strengthen point number 1 and ensure that your message is clear.
Stick to the facts and do not deal with circumstantial issues. Make sure that your audience can relate to the points you are communicating and they that they are not biased with personal preference or opinion. By sticking to concrete facts your intended audience won´t have to read between the lines or second guess what they think you mean.
During verbal communication, in an attempt to impress, people for some reason decide to use words that they are not familiar with. To err is to be human and in itself this is not a problem. However, if you use words that you are not familiar with and they are out of place, people will question your level of knowledge about the topic and even worse your intellect.
Errors in written communications jump out from the page for everyone to see. It´s not just a case of using a simple spell check. You need to analyse your document for all those things that spell check doesn´t pick up. Proof reading is essential and it´s even better to get someone else to look over the document for you to check the flow and structure of the sentences.
Think about the organisation of your message. Does it flow nicely connecting one point to the next? Or. Does it jump around randomly mentioning irrelevant points that would be best suited to a separate message? Using the above point of getting someone else to proof read your document will usually identify errors that you have missed. Reading it out loud helps you hear how the sentences flow throughout your verbal or written communication.
Of course, the overall message needs to have included everything you intended but there is also an administration side to your communication.
Are all intended recipients included?
Have you included contact details if needed?
Are there any action points to complete?
In verbal communication we can moderate our tone when speaking depending on the situation. In written communications we do not have that luxury and often our words can be misinterpreted. Be mindful of how your audience may interpret your message and use tact and diplomacy. Remember, it´s not what you intended to say that matters, it´s how the other person felt about what you said. There will be times when you have to communicate bad news and it is during these times that it is vital to be courteous and respectful to the other party.
Variations on the Model
There are a number of variations on the 7 Cs of communication. You could also use some of the ones below if you thought that they may have a more positive impact on your message.
For communications such as advertising or email marketing, you may have a licence to be a little more creative. Using something that catches the reader´s eye could keep you ahead of the competition.
If you are trying to establish yourself as a leader in your industry or field, the using something that raises your credibility in the eyes of your intended audience is a super way to gain interest. This could be particularly useful if you are not well known to your intended audience. Of course, you need to be able to back up your claims or your credibility will be short lived.
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Do you have anything to add?
If you have any ways that you make sure your communications are effective, drop a message in the box below and start a discussion