The 7 Cs of Communication (And Tips for Improving Them)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published June 17, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

No matter which industry you work in, or at what level, being able to communicate with your colleagues, clients, or managers is crucial to being an effective employee. There are seven key principles of effective communication, which help professionals manage their interactions. Understanding these seven principles, or the seven Cs, is key to being an effective communicator in the workplace and maximizing your collaboration skills. In this article, we list and explain the 7 Cs of communication, explore why communication is important for every working environment, and offer tips for improving communication.

7 Cs of communication

The 7 Cs of communication are seven principles of workplace interaction which guide the ways people express themselves to ensure effective and articulate communication. These principles are easy to remember because they all begin with the letter C. Here's a list of the seven Cs of communication, with a description of each:

1. Correct

When communicating with other professionals, it's vital that the information you communicate is correct and true. Not only does this mean that effective communication is factual but also that it's free of grammar, spelling, or spoken or written errors. For written communication, such as e-mail or professional instant messaging platforms, it's vital that you review your correspondence before you send it. There are many options for online spelling and grammar checkers which can suggest corrections to your writing in real time. Some other tips for ensuring that your communication is correct include:

  • You can ask somebody knowledgeable about correct spelling, grammar, and formatting to review and proofread your communication prior to sending.

  • You can dedicate time to reviewing your writing before sending any important communication.

  • You can write a list of your most common mistakes to use as a checklist against which to review your communication before sending.

Related: Communication in Organizations (With Benefits and Types)

2. Concise

Effective communication is concise, meaning that it's focused and free of unnecessary information. Concise communication may have a greater impact on the recipient and avoid confusion. Brevity in professional communication also improves the recipient's ability to understand and retain information, as it allows them to focus solely on the information which matters most. Here are some helpful tips for ensuring that your communication benefits from being concise:

  • Assume that the information is new to whomever you're presenting it.

  • Review your correspondence for unnecessary information you can remove or communicate separately.

  • Organize the most essential pieces of information into bullet points.

3. Concrete

When sharing important information, it's vital that your communication is authoritative, direct and specific. Concrete communication is that which is difficult to misinterpret and speaks definitively on a topic. An effective way to make communication more concrete is to use active verbs. These are verbs which describe doing an action, rather than having an action done to you. For example, a more concrete way for a business to say that they require an increase in revenue is that they are taking measures to increase revenue. Concreteness benefits communication by ensuring that messaging is clear and explicit.

Related: 12 Communication Skills Interview Questions With Tips and Example Answers

4. Complete

When communicating complex subjects or using highly technical language, it's helpful to ensure that the messaging is complete. Completeness in communication means including all relevant information to ensure that the person receiving the correspondence has every necessary detail for understanding the message comprehensively. Including every necessary article of information without surplus can avoid misinterpretation and ensure that the intention of the communication is clear.

When evaluating how complete your communication is, consider if removing a piece of information may affect the recipient's interpretation, or if removing it has little effect. If removing information has minimal impact, it may be best to remove it for the sake of being concise, but if it seems that the information is necessary, it may be worth including. It can also be helpful to request for somebody else to review your communication first and ask them if they feel like any crucial details are missing.

5. Courteous

Courteousness in communication means being considerate and mindful when interacting with others. This is especially relevant to in-person interaction, as many elements of body and vocal language can add to how courteous you seem to the people with whom you communicate. Being a courteous communicator also means showing respect to others during conversations. You can use humour or a casual tone when appropriate, but doing so courteously means choosing appropriate topics for the occasion.

One of the main factors in being a courteous communicator is employing active listening. This is the practice of engaging with those who are talking to you and listening intently. You can show respect to those with whom you're communicating both when you're speaking and when they are. This also includes responding in respectful and appropriate ways while you're not controlling the conversation.

Related: What Are Linear Models of Communication? (With Examples)

6. Coherent

Coherence in communication is the ability to structure your points to allow each idea to connect logically into the next. This makes your communication easier to understand, follow, and remember. In a broad definition, coherence also means that those who aren't familiar with the subject matter can relate to what you're saying by following your key points without confusion. Coherence may also be relative to the person you're communicating with. Someone who already has a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter may require less information for your communication to be coherent than somebody with a limited understanding.

Coherence also benefits from mindful communication patterns, like avoiding long run-on sentences and unfamiliar words. Similarly, logical structuring of conversation points can benefit the coherence of your communication. This can mean including introductory information early on, then elaborating on it, before eventually concluding your points.

7. Clear

Clear communication is essential for avoiding confusion and misinterpretation when in conversations or communicating via writing. Your word choice, delivery, and phrasing can all impact the clarity with which you communicate. Here are some helpful tips you can use to ensure clarity when you communicate with others:

  • Avoid obscure idioms others may not recognize or understand.

  • Only use jargon and technical terms you know everyone understands to avoid alienating others.

  • When niche terminology is unavoidable, include introductory phrases or explanations.

  • Only use slang where absolutely appropriate and you know everybody recognizes these terms.

  • Use active voice in both written and spoken communication.

Related: Communication Skils: Definitions and Examples

Why communication is important in the workplace

No matter how junior or senior your role is, effective communication is essential to ensuring that you share information without any misinterpretation or confusion. Not only is effective information important for the function of communication in imparting information, but also to ensure that those with whom you communicate remain engaged and able to contribute their own thoughts, ideas, or input.

In the workplace, communication is a major component of an organisation's activity, such as sales, customer support, planning, leadership, or collaboration. For those in junior roles, being good at communicating helps them to let managers know their needs and concerns, seek their guidance, and perform consumer-facing roles. Senior staff benefit from effective communication by improving their delegation and support.

Tips for improving your workplace communication

Here are a few practical tips you can use in the workplace to improve your communication across the seven Cs:

Consider your body language

Communication involves more than simply the words you say or type. Your body language is highly influential on how people perceive what you say, and the degree to which they engage. Elements such as eye contact and body position are key for keeping your audience engaged and directing your focus and intentions. Consider whether your body position is open by facing your audience directly. Ensure your arms remain uncrossed, as closed off body language can disengage others.

Related: Guide to Verbal Communication Skills

Consider your environment

One of the most important elements for communicating well in the workplace is to consider your environment. Some workplaces maintain a formal environment, while others have a more casual style. Ensure that the content of your communication is appropriate for your surroundings and for everybody in attendance.

Communicate across many channels

Within the workplace, there are usually several ways to communicate. These may include e-mail, instant messaging platforms, social media, video calling, phone, or in person communication. Diversifying the communication channels you use means that you can choose the most effective method for each type of communication. For instance, some channels such as video calling allow individuals to share videos with others across large distances, making it the most effective channel for presentations which include staff who work from home.

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