The 7 Cs of communication are – 1. Completeness 2. Conciseness 3. Consideration 4. Clarity 5. 5. Concreteness 6. Courtesy 7. Correctness.
To make appropriate and effective communication, there is a need to develop proper systems and techniques. Some of the basic aspects depend upon some principles and guidelines are studied as 7C. These are the appropriate and optimum means to make communication effective.
7 C’s of communication
There are 7 C’s of communication which are applicable to both written as well as oral communication.
These are as follows:
The communication must be complete. It should convey all facts required by the audience. The sender of the message must take into consideration the receiver’s mind set and convey the message accordingly. Complete communication always gives additional information wherever required. It leaves no questions in the mind of the receiver and helps in better decision-making.
Conciseness means communicating in least possible words without forgoing the other C’s of communication. Conciseness is a necessity for effective communication. Concise communication provides short and essential messages in limited words to the audience. It is more appealing and comprehensible to the audience as only the main message is focused, excessive and needless words are avoided.
Consideration implies “stepping into the shoes of others”. Effective communication must take the audience into consideration, i.e, the audience’s viewpoints, background, mind-set, education level, etc. Make an attempt to envisage your audience, their requirements, emotions as well as problems. Ensure that the self-respect of the audience is maintained and their emotions are not at harm. Modify your words in the message to suit the audience’s needs while making your message complete.
Clarity implies using exact and appropriate words to focus on a specific message for easier understanding.
Concrete communication is supported with specific facts and figures; words that are clear are not misinterpreted.
Courtesy in message implies the message should show the sender’s expression as well as should respect the receiver. The sender of the message should be sincerely polite, judicious, reflective and enthusiastic.
Correctness is use of appropriate and correct language without any grammatical errors, accurate facts and figures in communication.
Explain 7’c of Effective Communication
In order to make appropriate and effective communication, there is a need to develop proper systems and techniques. Here, some of the basic aspects depend upon some principles and guidelines are studied here as 7C. These are the appropriate and optimum means to make communication effective.
1. Clarity –
The concept of clarity implies both clarity of views, concepts and thoughts as well as clarity of expressions. Clarity of thought, express that the communicator must be fully determined about what he wants to communicate (the message), why he wants to communicate, to whom he wants to communicate etc.
As such clarity of expressions required to avoid all ambiguities, words of double messages and non-familiar messages. It is required to use simple words, verbal and non-verbal symbols with simple language.
2. Consideration –
In order to communicate effectively, several considerable aspects should be adopted by sender and informers. In fact they, as the first person, should think and prepare a mental preparedness and look from the receiver’s angle.
The human aspects, emotions, sentiments and socio-psychological factors of the receiver must be considered and understood.
3. Completeness –
Every communication must be complete and adequate. Every person or any unit as sender should be provided with all the needful facts, figures and information. In order to ensure completeness of message, the partners should clarify all the queries or any questions as raised within the contents of message.
4. Correctness –
The sender or any person should be absolutely assured with the accuracy, correctness and authenticity of information. The transmission of any false or incorrect message may develop misunderstanding and spoil the mutual relations. Delayed and outdated messages must be discouraged. So correctness in all respects is necessary.
5. Conciseness –
The contents of the message must be in the fewest possible words. It is necessary to adopt the concept of brevity which is the soul of good and appropriate communication. It provides time and grace of speech to and prepare an optimum size of message.
6. Courtesy –
Within the process and purview of communication, amicable, friendly and helpful behaviour are needed to make the desired message fruitful.
The examples are: apologise for an omission, avoid irritating expressions, true and fair contents, promptly reply, use empathy and if you have committed a mistake then express your regrets promptly and sincerely.
7. Continuation –
The transmitting process should be continued and regular at every stage. Every message must have a nature of continuation. So, the relations can be developed without any interruptions.
7Cs of Communication by Francis J. Bergin
Communication is most essential for the organization. Whatever the form— letters, memorandums, reports— it may take, whatever the media it may use, it has to be made effective by following certain scientific principles. These principles are not exclusive, but illustrative as more can be added to them. According to Francis J. Bergin, communication should be:
The message, to be communicated, should be candid (straightforward, frank), it should not be indirect, multi-vocal or untrue. Gay Hendricks and Kate Ludeman profoundly remark, “If you make sure you’re telling the truth, you won’t ever have to worry about people listening to you. When people do not listen, it is usually because the speaker’s got something else he or she is communicating besides the truth.”
To make communication effective, it is most imperative that the message should be frank and straightforward. There should not be beating about the bush or conveying something that hinders the truth. It will lead to prejudices and doubts about the sincerity of the communicator.
The message to be communicated whether oral or written should be clear. For this, not only clarity of expression is required, but also clarity of thought. It is the first and foremost requirement. Clear message always stems from clear minds and clear hearts.
Since the message to be communicated is first produced in the mind of the sender, it is imperative that the sender’s mind should have clear thought about the objectives of communication, their effect on the receiver and the channels to be used.
The clearly thought-out message should be presented with clear expressions to avoid ambiguities and confusion. Transmitters should be very careful about the meanings and organization of the words and symbols used in communication.
To make the expressions clear and free from multi-interpretations and inferences, the sender of the message should consider the following point:
(a) Clarity in expression is brought through use of precise and correct words. For example notice the following sentences:
Imprecise: After studying the market reports and other relevant data of different markets, we can infer that the share market is lucrative for investment.
Precise: After studying the market, we recommend that investing in shares is profitable.
(d) Construction of effective sentences and paragraphs is at the core of clarity. For this:
- Prefer use of short sentences rather than long ones.
- Insert no more than one main idea into a sentence.
- Arrange words and clauses in such a way that the main idea occurs easily in a sentence and is less important in subordinate (or dependent) clauses.
(e) Headings, tabulations, graphs, line charts, pie charts, coloured capital letters or italic letters should be used in a creative way to improve the visual impact of the message.
(f) Use technical terms and business jargon while communicating to the professionals. But for communicating with ordinary readers or listeners, it should be avoided. For example:
Technical: The company earned a 20% rate of return on equity.
Ordinary: The company earned a 20% rate of return on owners’ money.
Completeness is necessary for effective communication. Incomplete message breeds misunderstanding and misinterpretations, leads to further queries resulting in wastage of time and resources, and irritates the receiver. Therefore every aspect and relevant detail should be incorporated in logical sequence. Moreover, completeness contributes to the clarity of the message.
Herta A. Murphy, Herbert W. Hildebrandt and Jane P. Thomas apty remark on the benefits of completeness of message, “Completeness offers numerous benefits. First, complete messages are more likely to bring the desired results without the expense of additional messages. Second, they can do a better job of building goodwill. Messages that contain information the receiver needs show concern for others. Third, complete messages can help avert costly lawsuits that may result if important information is missing. Last, communications that seem inconsequential can be surprisingly important if the information they contain is complete and effective.”
To make the message complete, following guidelines should be kept in mind:
(a) Provide all necessary information that the reader needs for thorough and accurate understanding. For this, check whether the message provides answers to the five W-questions—who, what, when, where, why—and any other essentials, such as how.
For example, while circulating the notice of conference, specify when the conference will be held, where it will be held, why it is being conducted, what are the matters to be discussed, who are going to address and how many members are expected to reach there.
(b) Answer all stated and implied questions which may arise in the mind of the reader. For example, while drafting a letter offering sale of goods, first anticipate customer’s possible questions regarding price, quality, quantity, usage, etc. and then draft the letter in such a way that it answers all these questions.
(c) Give some extra information in the relevant context.
To retain the attention as well as to save the time of the reader, it is essential that the message should be concise. Conciseness means conveying the message in the fewest possible words without sacrificing its completeness and clarity.
It contributes to making the important ideas stand out, on the other hand, aimless and unnecessary details distract the reader’s attention and consequently reduce the effectiveness of communication.
Concise messages appear more interesting to the reader and show respect for recipients by not letting his personal as well as professional life be bored with unnecessary information.
Therefore, a communicated message should clarify the meaning in a few possible words, include only relevant facts, avoid needless repetition of the same ideas and words and appear in organized form. For this:
(e) Include only relevant material related to the main purpose of the message.
(f) Avoid lengthy introductions and unnecessary explanations. Also omit the information already known to the receiver.
The communicated statement should not be vague, rather should be concrete and specific. Concrete expressions create specific visual images in the mind of the receiver which vague or generalized statements cannot. For example, consider the following statement:
- The price of washing machine is very high
- The price of an automatic washing machine is Rs. 23,000.
The first statement is vague and general. To say that the price is very high, conveys different meaning to different people depending upon their economic background and perceptions. The second statement specifying “automatic machine” and “Rs. 23,000” is concrete and specific in expression as it presents definite facts.
While writing a business letter, memo, advertisement copy, report, etc. always give concrete facts instead of making generalized statements. Concrete language reduces the chances of misinterpretation by the receiver and increases the likelihood that message will be understood in the way the sender intends.
“Moreover, concrete messages are more richly textured than general or vague messages; then they tend to be more vivid, dynamic and interesting”, Murphy, Hildesbrant and Thomas rightly remark.
(a) Use specific facts and figures.
(b) Avoid using words that lead to uncertainty and confusion:
- A few
(c) Use active voice rather than passive voice.
The message to be communicated should be correct in spelling, grammar, format, contents, statistical information, etc. Incorrect and inaccurate statements mislead the reader, lower his confidence in the communicator and tarnish the image of the organization.
These may sometimes lead the management to erroneous and disastrous decisions. Therefore it is imperative that the sender should verify the correctness of the information before presenting it to the receiver.
To make the message correct –
(a) Ensure that facts and figures are accurate and verify statistical data, totals, etc.
(b) Check whether grammar, punctuation and spelling are proper or not.
(c) Use the right level of language. That language may be formal or informal, “formal writing is often associated with scholarly writing: doctoral dissertations, scholarly articles, legal documents, top level government agreements, and other materials where formality in style is demanded……. Informal writing is more characteristic of business writing. Here [the sender] uses(s) words that are short, well-known, and conventional.”
[Murphy, Hildebrandt and Thomas]
Congenial and healthy communication environment is essential to ensure the effectiveness of communication. Courtesy, in the message as well as manners, plays a dominating role in this regard. While communicating, it is necessary that we should be considerate, compassionate and friendly.
We should avoid becoming sarcastic, impatient and irritated by being aware of ourselves. If it is necessary to criticize, we must be tactful in approach, so that our communication generates more light than heat. While communicating:
- First be in the right frame of mind. Ensure that you are not perturbed or irritated, but are calm and quiet.
- Use polite and respectful tone. Courtesy is not merely saying mechanical insertions of “please” and “thank you” rather it is sincere concern and respect for the other person.
- Always ‘thank’ the other person for his generosity and favour.
- Do not forget to use the word ‘please’ for requesting something.
- Ensure that the other person’s self-respect is not hurt.
Explain 7 C’s of Communication with Examples
(1) Courtesy and Consideration
In conversational situations, meetings, and group discussions, an effective speaker maintains the proper decorum of speaking. One should say things with force and assertiveness without being rude. Courtesy demands that we do not use words that are insulting or hurtful to the listener.
In discussions, it is necessary that we respect the other person by listening to him/her patiently. We should not interrupt. We should wait for our chance to speak and when it is our turn to speak, we should speak with force and clarity.
Our tone should reflect our respect for our listener/audience. And our pitch should not sound as if we are talking at each other and not to each other. The tone we use in conversation should not be aggressive. It should be level and measured as it can make or break our discussion.
In our letters, we must show consideration for the reader. This can be done in the following ways:
(a) Adopt the ‘You-attitude’
Naturally, every other person is interested more in himself than in a third party. It follows, therefore, that when we write letters to others, they are effective and the readers respond to our letters well only when we write from their point of view. So to make our letter more effective, we must avoid I’s and we’s and have as many you’s as possible. In any case we should not forget the reader’s point of view in the whole of our letter.
(b) Avoid Gender Bias
Now that the business world is no longer dominated by men, it is extremely important to avoid gender bias. Using him when a message is going to a lady will certainly cause offence. So take timely precautions.
(c) Emphasise Positive, Pleasant Facts
On many occasions you may have to refuse, say ‘no’, regret, disagree, complain or say ‘sorry’. To say this in plain words and a straightforward style is not difficult, but its effect on the reader’s mind and the repercussions on the firms are bad and far-reaching. We swallow sugar-coated pills without any grumble.
Similarly in a business letter, the reader accepts calm and coolly all the no’s, regrets, and sorry’s if they are expressed in a positive manner. An approach with a negative beginning or a negative connotation irritates the reader and makes him feel that you lack business manners and gentlemanliness. A positive approach, on the other hand, convinces the reader of your helplessness, or your genuine difficulties, etc.
Negative: We regret to inform you that we will not be able to execute your order until…
Positive: Thank you for your order. The goods will be sent to you as soon as…
In conversation or oral presentations one can miss some parts of the communication. It is, therefore, essential that oral presentations, discussions, or dialogues should be as far as possible, planned, and structured.
Therefore, when we begin the presentation or dialogue or address an audience, we should ensure that we have given all the information that listeners need or expect for understanding the message.
The principle of completeness requires that we communicate whatever is necessary, provide answers to all possible questions which could be raised and add something additional, if necessary as footnotes, to whatever has been said. We should be careful that we answer all questions put to us.
For example, in an interview, if we leave out answering any question, it would imply that we are deliberately side-stepping a particular issue. It could also raise doubts in the audience that there is something to hide regarding that matter.
If we have no information or answer or are unwilling to answer or discuss any particular question, we should frankly express our inability to answer.
As you strive for completeness, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Answer all questions asked.
- Give something extra, when desirable
- Check for the five W’s and any other essentials.
(a) Answer All Questions Asked
Whenever you reply to an inquiry, try to answer all questions — stated and implied. A prospective customer’s reaction to an incomplete reply is likely to be unfavourable. The customer may think the respondent is careless or is purposely trying to conceal a weak spot.
In general, “omissions cast suspicions,” whether you are answering an inquiry about your product or recommending a former employee for a new job. If you have no information on a particular question, say so clearly. If you have unfavourable information in answer to questions, handle your reply with both tact and honesty.
(b) Give Something Extra, When Desirable
The words “when desirable,” in the above heading, are essential. Sometimes you must do more than answer the customers’ specific questions. They may not know what they need, or their questions may be inadequate. For example, suppose you are President of the Regional Business Executives’ League for your industry and receive the following inquiry from an out-of-town member:
I think I’d like to attend my first meeting of the League, even though I’m not acquainted in your city. Will you please tell me where the next meeting will be held?
You answered only this one question, your letter would be incomplete. Realising that your reader is a newcomer to your city and to your league’s meetings, you should include in your reply a welcome plus such needed details as directions for reaching the building; parking facilities; day, date, and time of meeting, and perhaps also the program for the next meeting. Your message will then have the “something extra” that a reader really needs and expects.
Sometimes, something extra is a detailed explanation instead of a mere brief statement. The last paragraph of Letter 1, below, contains an invitation that is meaningless for any new depositor who does not know what “facilities” are at his or her disposal. Letter 2 clearly explains the services offered and thereby makes the invitation meaningful.
(If a writer can enclose a descriptive brochure, the letter can be shorter and still complete if it merely mentions the services and refers to the enclosure for details.) The following examples show only the message of each letter (without address and salutation)
Letter 1: Incomplete letter to a new savings depositor.
Thank you for the confidence you have shown us by the account you recently opened.
All our facilities are at your disposal, and any time we can be of service, please feel free to call on us. Our appreciation is best expressed by our being of service to you.
Letter 2: Revised, Complete letter to the new savings depositor.
Thank you for the confidence you have shown in First Federal by the savings account you recently opened. Our goal is to make all our services to you both pleasant and helpful.
Among the conveniences and services available to you at First Federal, you may be specially interested in these:
YOUR PASSBOOK DEPOSITS earn 6.5% interest compounded daily.
BETTER-THAN-CHECKING service helps you pay bills by phone, earn interest on your money, and use our 24 hour Cash Machines.
MORTGAGE LOANS help you to buy, build, or refinance a home or to borrow for property repairs and improvements.
With our MONEY MARKET CERTIFICATES you can earn interest at various current high rates, depending on time and amount of your investment. The enclosed leaflet gives you more details about these and other services available to you at First Federal
FREE CUSTOMER PARKING is provided in the lot north of our office. The teller stamps your parking check, entitling you to free parking while doing business here. Office hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekdays except for Friday, when the doors remain open until 6:00 p.m.
You are most welcome to come in whenever we can assist you.
Please consider this association your financial headquarters for your savings and borrowing needs.
(c) Check for the Five W’s and Any Other Essentials
Another way to help make your message complete is to answer, whenever desirable, the “five W” questions — who, what, where, when, why — and any other essentials, such as ‘how’. The five questions set mentioned is especially useful when you write requests, announcements, or other informative messages.
For instance to order (request) merchandise, make clear what you want, when you meet it, to whom and where it is to be sent, and how payment will be made. To reserve a hotel banquet room, specify the type of accommodations needed (what), location (where), sponsoring organisation (who), date and time (when), function or event (why), and other necessary details (how).
For some letters — especially those that bring bad news, make an unusual request, or announce a special meeting — answering the question ‘why’ may be important. Remember this general communication principle:
A message that tactfully answers the questions why is more likely to motivate the receiver to take the desired action than one that does not explain why. But not everyone is motivated for the same reasons.
Concreteness means being specific, definite in describing events and things. It also means the vivid description of an event or state. Avoid using vague words. In oral communication we cannot draw figures, tables, diagrams, or illustrations to make our statements vivid and concrete.
But we can choose precise words and speak with proper modulation and force to make their sound reflect the sense. For example, in oral communication passive voice is avoided. Active voice verbs reflect force and action. They also sound more natural and direct.
For example, no one says, “you are requested by me to…”. A more vivid way is its active form “I request you to ………”.
(a) Give Correct Facts
Business communication often leads to expensive operations. So you should be sure that you are transmitting correct facts and incorrect language. In fact you should not transmit a message unless you are absolutely sure of its correctness. If you are not, you should immediately verify it from an encyclopedia, an office file, a colleague, a dictionary, or even a grammar book. If your message involves any legal matter, you should know the correct level position before you commit anything.
(b) Send Your Message at the Correct Time
All messages must be transmitted and responded to at the most appropriate time. Outdated information is useless. In fact, since communication is an expensive process, transmitting outdated information involves wastage of time, money and human resources.
(4) Directness and Conciseness
In business and professional communications, we should be brief and be able to say whatever we have to say in minimum words. We should avoid being repetitive. We sometimes believe erroneously that by repeating whatever has been said, we add emphasis to our message. Try to use single words for wordy phrases such as –
Wordy : At this point of time……..
Concise : Now, or at present……..
Wordy : As regards the fact that………
Concise : Considering
Wordy : Because of the fact that
Concise : As, or because
Wordy : Are in need of……..
Concise : Need
Wordy : In due course of time…….
Concise : Soon
Wordy : Not very far from here
Concise : Nearby, or close by
The above examples are just to show that, in speaking, we tend to become wordy. Less words should not mean less sense. Rather, we should, without sacrificing essential meaning, achieve intensity and concentration.
(a) Avoid Unnecessary Repetition
Sometimes repetition is necessary for emphasis. But when the same thing is said two or three times without reason, the message becomes wordy and boring. Here are three ways to eliminate unnecessary repetition:
(i) Use a shorter name after you have mentioned the long one once: Instead of the “Thomson Product Manufacturing Company,” use “Thomson Company.”
(ii) Use pronouns or initials rather than repeating long makes: Instead of citing “North Central Auto Insurance Company, Inc.” again and again, use “it” or “they” or “NCAI”.
(iii) Cut out all needless repetition of phrases and sentences. For example, the following letter shown below from a business executive to a firm the company had dealt with for five years shows unnecessary repetition of words:
Will you ship us sometime, any time during the month of October, or even November if you are rushed, for November would suit us just as well, in fact a little bit better, 300 of the regular 3 by 15 inch blue felt armbands with white seven letters in the centre.
Thank you for sending these along to us by parcel post, and not express, as express is too stiff in price, when parcel post will be much cheaper, we are…
The writer took 82 words to say what is said in 25 below:
Please ship parcel post, before the end of November, 300 regular 3- by 15 inch blue felt armbands with white seven letters in the centre.
(b) Avoid Verbosity
A study of business correspondence reveals that there are a lot of dead words and verbosity in it. Often phrases and clauses are used without thought.
(c) Participle Endings
Participle endings such as given below should also be avoided as they are trite expressions which hardly convey any meaning:
Assuring you of our prompt services always…….
Trusting you will find this information satisfactory…….
Hoping to hear from you at your earliest convenience…….
Positive and Direct Statements. It is more polite to directly state the information you need or the action you require than suggest it by a negative statement:
(i) Negative Statements
- You failed to tell us…
- We cannot help you unless…
- We cannot help you with…
- We have not heard from
- You have not cared to pay…
(ii) Positive and Direct Statements
- Please let us know…
- We shall be pleased to help you if…
- We suggest that you…
- We should appreciate you…
- Please look into our complaint..
Attention to our complaint…
The principle of clarity is most important in all communications, especially when you are involved in face-to-face interaction. It is not always easy to verbalise ideas accurately on the spot during conversation, presentation, or any other form of interaction.
To ensure that we express ourselves clearly, we should use accurate @and familiar words with proper intonation, stresses, and pauses. Our spoken language should consist of simple words and short sentences. Thoughts should be clear and well-organised. We should know what we want to say and why. It is a clear mind that can talk clearly and effectively.
However, in case of doubt or uncertainty, due to lack of clarity of thought or expression, the listener can, in one-to-one communication, seek immediate clarification.
(a) Clarity of Thought
The communication cycle begins with the generation of an idea in the mind of the transmitter. A great deal of clarity is needed at this stage, for if the beginning is fuddled, it is likely to mar the entire communication process. The communicator must be clear about three points:
(i) What is the objective of communication?
(ii) What is to be communicated?
(iii) Which medium will prove to be the most suitable for this purpose?
(b) Clarity of Expression
The receiver learns about the idea in the transmitter’s mind through the coded message. If the encoding is faulty, the message may be misinterpreted. So it is important to be careful while encoding the message.
Since most of the messages are transmitted with the help of words, the transmitter should be careful about the meanings and organisation of words. The following points about the choice of words deserve attention:
(i) Use Simple Words:
Remember that simple and short Words are more effective than pompous and heavy words. It is better to use “tell” or “inform” for “acquaintance”.
(ii) Use Single Words for Long Phrases:
A single word is often more effective than long pompous-looking phrases.
(iii) Use Verbs for Nouns:
Using verbs in place of nouns often brings about simplicity and clarity.
(iv) Avoid Double Entry:
We often use phrases with two words conveying the same idea. Such phrases can be easily simplified.
(v) Use Concrete Expressions:
Concrete expressions create visualized images that are easy to register. So instead of vague, generalised statements, give defined facts (unless you can derive a particular advantage from being general).
(vi) Prefer Active Constructions for They are Easier to Understand:
If you deliberately want to create an impersonal style, you may be justified in using passive constructions. But in ordinary circumstances, it is better to use active constructions.
(vii) Avoid Excessive Use of the Infinitive:
The use of the infinitive to verb — to give, to learn tends to make the style impression and format.
(viii) Avoid Jargon:
‘Jargon’ refers to the special language of a trade profession, or field of study. It may refer to words as well as to the style of writing. In the medical field, ‘jargon’ will be mostly confined to the choice of words.
Legal jargon is primarily stylistic. ‘Jargon’ creates difficulties of understanding, and it makes the style formal and stiff, so better avoid jargon in the business field. ‘Jargon’ consists in the use of words like ‘instant’, ‘ultimo’, ‘proximo’, ‘as per’, ‘we beg to’, ‘and oblige’, ‘same’, etc. It is better to give the date instead of using the words ‘instant’ and ‘ultimo’. ‘We beg to’ and ‘and oblige’ can be easily omitted.
(ix) Avoid Ambiguity:
If your message can mean more than one thing, it is ambiguous. Ambiguity is very often caused by a careless use of personal pronouns.
Example: Rajesh told Rakesh that he was not being considered for promotion. In these sentences, it is impossible to understand whether it was Rajesh or Rakesh who were not being considered for promotion.
(x) Use Short Sentences: Whether your communication is oral or written, use very short sentences. Long sentences tend to be complex and demand greater concentration. And nobody has time or patience for long sentences. To keep your sentences short, you can follow two very simple rules:
(a) Use one sentence to express only one idea.
(b) If a sentence runs beyond 30 words, it is better to break it up into two sentences.
Many researches are taken up in the corporate world for performance evaluation and appraisal in view of the importance attached to this kind of evaluation, but collection, complication, presentation and interpretation of data should precede evaluation and approval.
In the spoken form of communication, grammatical errors are not uncommon. The speaker tends to forget the number and person of the subject of the verb if the sentence is too long. Sometimes even the sequence of tense is wrong. And most frequently the use of the pronoun is incorrect especially in indirect narration (reported speech).
For example, in conversation the following lapses are very common —
Wrong: He said to me that I will surely go there.
Correct: He told me that he would surely go there.
Wrong: Being an experienced manager, we are sure you can resolve the conflict.
Correct: As you are an experienced manager, we are sure you can resolve the conflict.
The following guidelines should help you compose concrete, convincing messages:
- Use specific facts and figures.
- Put action in your verbs.
- Choose vivid, image-building words.
(a) Use Specific Facts and Figures
Whenever you can substitute an exact fact or a figure for a general word to make your message more concrete and convincing, do so.
(i) Vogue, General, Indefinite
- This computer reproduces campaign letters fast.
- Our product has won several prizes.
(ii) Concrete and Convincing
- This computer types 1,000 personalized 150-word campaign letters in one hour.
- [Name] product has won first prize in four national contests within the past three years.
In some cases it is, of course, permissible — and even desirable — to use general expressions. Exceptions to the “facts and figures” rule occur:
(i) When it is not possible to be specific, for you may not have nor be able to get definite facts or figures.
(ii) When you want to be diplomatic. Thus, instead of saying, “We have sent you four notices of your overdue payment,” you may be more tactful (to a usually prompt paying customer) by saying, “We have sent you several reminders of this….”
(b) Put Action in Your Verbs
Strong verbs can activate other words and help make your sentences definite. To compose strong sentences, you should (i) use active rather than passive verbs and (ii) put action in your verbs instead of in nouns or infinitives.
(c) Active versus Passive Voice
When the subject performs the action that the verb expresses, the verb is said to be in the passive voice. In “The computer was repaired by Mr. James,” the verb ‘was repaired’ is passive. A passive verb has three characteristics:
(i) The subject does not do the acting; (ii) the verb consists of two or more words, one of which is some form of “to be” (is, is being, am, are, was, were, will be, has or have been, had been, or will have been); and (iii) the word by is expressed or implied (“by whom” or “by what”).
Sometimes, however, you may prefer the passive voice instead of the active, as in the following situations:
(i) When you want to avoid personal, blunt accusations, or commands. “The July cheque was not included” is more tactful than “You failed to include…” “Attendance at the meeting is required” is less harsh than “You must attend…”
(ii) When you want to stress the object of the action. In “Your savings account is insured up to $40, 000,” you have intentionally stressed “you account”— not the firm that does the insuring. Also, “You are invited” is better than “We invite you.”
(iii) When the doer isn’t important in the sentence. In “Three announcements were made before the meeting started,” the emphasis is on the announcements, not on who gave them.
(d) Action in Verbs, Not in Nouns
Seven verbs — be, give, have, hold, make, put, and take (in any tense) might be designated as “deadly” when the action they introduce is hidden in a “quiet noun.” The examples below show how each deadly verb with the noun and preposition (all underlined) can be changed to an action verb that shortens the sentence.
(i) Action Hiding in a “Quiet Noun”
- The function of this office is the collection of payments and the compilation of statements.
- Mr. James will give consideration to the report.
- The contract has a requirement for . . .
- They held the meeting in the office.
- He made the payment for his first instalment.
- (f) The chairperson puts her trust in each committee member.
(ii) Action in the Verb
- This office collects payments and compiled statements.
- Mr. James will consider the report.
- The contract requires that. . .
- They met in the office.
- He paid his first instalment.
- The chairperson trusts each committee member.
(e) Action in Verbs, Not in Infinitives
Action can also be concealed by infinitives. Notice, in the following example, that both main verbs in the left-hand sentence follow “is” (or some form of “to be”) plus the preposition “to”, and they don’t convey much action.
(i) Action Hiding in Infinitive
The duty of a stenographer is to check all incoming mail and to record it. In addition, is his or her responsibility to keep the assignment book up-to-date.
(ii) Action in Verb
A stenographer checks and records all incoming mail and keeps the assignment book up-to-date.
In all business transactions, our view of a matter should be honest, sincere, and guileless. We should speak and listen without prejudice or bias. Our guiding principle should be fairness to self and to others involved in the situation.
For example, when we qualify our observation with the words “My honest opinion” or “Frankly speaking”, we are trying to be candid, open hearted, and sincere.
Candidness, in a way, implies consideration of the other person’s (listener’s) interest and his/her (the listener’s) need to know things objectively and fairly. We should share our thoughts without reservation in an unbiased manner, if we want to help the receiver to understand what is communicated.
It should be characterised by the “you”-attitude.
Candid talk also exhibits the speaker’s self-confidence. In oral communication the key element that creates impact is confidence. When we say something without hesitation or hitch, we say it in a confident manner.
In everyday life or in business, we see persons in power doing things, such as appointing relatives, neglecting merit in assigning jobs/functions or allowing too much closeness to an individual or a group of individuals.
This action is bound to emotionally alienate others from that person. Out of consideration and concern for that person’s long-term image and good human relationships in the organisation, if you communicate your view of his administrative fairness in an unbiased manner, you are being candid in your communication.