The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Communication can be defined as the combination of the processes we implement to share and convey information. However, effective communication only happens if the sender (i.e. the person prompting the communication process) is aware of specific elements which cater for an effective transfer of the message to the recipient.
Over time, the term effective communication has often be misused as synonymous to persuasive communication. Nevertheless, these two terms refer to different communication objectives and shouldn't be confused.
In fact, persuasive communication aims at prompting a change in the recipient's behaviours and values. Effective communication, on the other hand, is about delivering all the contents of the message clearly and unambiguously, so that the recipient can evaluate and react to them properly.
Today we're exploring the 7 characteristics of effective communication, as outlined by University of Wisconsin professor Scott M. Cutlip in his book Effective Public Relations (1953). Over time, his listing of features of effective communication has become one of the key concepts in advertising and PR theories, and is now known as the 7 C's of communication.
To be effective, communication should be complete, i.e. it should include all the information the recipient needs to evaluate its content, solve a problem or make a decision. Complete communication reduces the need for follow-up questions and answers, and improves the quality of the overall communication process.
Conciseness is not about keeping the message short, but rather about keeping it to a point. Conciseness in communication happens when the message does not include any redundant or irrelevant information. Concise communication prompts a better understanding of the message, because the recipient can focus on the key points and does not get distracted by a wealth of minor details.
When engaging in communication, a sender should always consider and value the recipient's needs, moods and points of view. Tailoring the contents and style of your messages based on their target audience strengthens the key points delivered within, as the sender can use argumentations and examples relevant to the recipient's experience, thus catering for a more thorough understanding of the message.
Effective communication happens when the message is supported by facts and figures. Concreteness in communication is also about answering to questions timely and consistently, and developing your argumentations based on real-life examples and situations rather than on general scenarios or theories. Concreteness fosters effectiveness in communication, as the recipient gets a more comprehensive overview of the message and its implications.
Courtesy in communication implies being respectful of the recipient's culture, values and beliefs. Also, it involves the need to adopt a register your audience can easily relate to and understand. Courteous communication has a positive impact on the overall communication, as it prompts a more positive and constructive approach to the conversation.
To be effective, communication has also to be clear and specific. To achieve clearness, the message should focus on a single objective, thus emphasising its importance and catering for a prompt understanding of its contents. Clear communication also requires the adoption of the relevant terminology, thus reducing ambiguities and confusion in the communication process.
Using grammar and syntax correctly vouches for increased effectiveness and credibility of the message. In fact, grammar and syntax mistakes make it harder for the recipient to decode the message and understand its contents. Also, they have a negative impact on the overall communication, as they show that the sender hasn't taken his time to craft his messages more carefully.
What are your biggest challenges in communicating effectively with your audience?
Are there any tools you use to make sure your messages are crafted properly?
Read this article in Italian