The 7 Cs of Communication

Communication is the most important aspect of your business. It is the general term used to describe how you speak to your target audience and how you write your blogs or emails.

Our language enables us to share our ideas with other people, and communication is probably the most important aspect of our culture. Without communication, the pyramids wouldn’t have been built, the Eiffel Tower wouldn’t be standing – communication enabled the architects to convey their plans to their workers. 

Effective communication helps avoid any misunderstanding with your audience, employees and customers alike.

My blog this week looks at the 7 Cs of communication and how, if you keep these seven things in mind, your written communication will be much more effective. 

Clear

It’s important to always keep in mind the purpose of every message, email or post you put out. So, what is the purpose of this communication? As long as you keep this in mind, you will better be able to put your message across to your target audience.

If you don’t know the purpose of your communication, your audience won’t either!

Being clear is also about giving clarity to your reader – avoid complex words, long sentences and jargon. Keep it simple and to the point.

Concise

Keep your message short, simple, concise and to the point. Why use a whole paragraph to explain something that can take one sentence?

Being concise will also keep your audience’s attention, saving them and you time and energy.

BUT, keep in mind that, although you are keeping your message concise, you still need to give detail for the message to be complete.  

Concrete

This is about being specific with your communication, avoiding it being too general, vague or obscure.

Use words and sentences that can’t be misinterpreted, and it’s a good idea to add facts and figures if you can to underline your meaning. But keep the balance so that any illustrations or examples don’t detract from your main message.

Correct

ALWAYS proofread your message before publishing. I find that reading it aloud ensures that it makes sense. If you use facts and figures, put a link to the source, so you have proof that they are correct and that you haven’t just plucked statistics out of the air!

Check for typos or spelling mistakes, and ensure that sentences are short – this makes it so much easier to read.

Doing these checks saves you time in the long run and boosts your credibility.

Coherent

Look at the structure of your communication. Does it flow in a logical way? You don’t want to be jumping from one subject to the other, as that makes it harder to read and understand.

Do a sense check to make sure you haven’t tried to be too in-depth and cover too much in one message. And ensure your communication doesn’t go off on tangents and side issues.

Complete

In order for you to get the desired response to your message or communication, it must contain all the necessary information.

The best way to do this is to think about your message and about any questions your target audience might have as a result of reading it. Then you can make sure that those questions are answered in the communication.

Include a call to action, so your audience knows exactly what you expect them to do next.

Courteous

Always be polite. Being polite builds trust and goodwill with your readers. Make sure that your communication shows respect for your readers and their feelings.

My parents always taught me that manners cost nothing and this is just as relevant to written communication as to verbal.

Conclusion

Overall, the 7 Cs of Communication is an effective checklist, which will ensure you are communicating with your audience more effectively.

If you use this simple checklist, you can be assured that you are delivering the best and clearest message you can, with little in the way of misunderstanding.

Ultimately, this will boost the reliability and trustworthiness of your business, as well as saving you more time.

Let me know how you get on with this checklist the next time you write a message or communication.   

How to cope with writer’s block

Yes, it happens to everyone at one time or another. You have been staring at a blank page and can’t even begin to think where to start. You might be writing a blog, trying to think of what posts to write for Facebook or Instagram, or stuck on a vital part in the book that is going to be the next big thing! It doesn’t really matter what you are writing, it will strike you at some time or other.

If it happens to you, what do you do? Do you even know why it happens?

What causes writer’s block?

There are various reasons why this affliction suddenly strikes. Sometimes it helps to know that you’re not alone, it happens to the best of us. Some of the common causes are…

You want everything to be perfect before you start. You make sure you have time, and you’re mulling over ideas in your head so you can get it down on paper, right first time. Trouble is, your brain suddenly starts wandering off in another direction! You pull it back and try to concentrate again, trying to get the wording just right in your head before you write it down. ‘Did you switch off the oven?’ pops into your head, or ‘Did I reply to that important email?’
It’s easy to get distracted and, if you’re in this position, it’s time to take a break and do something else.

Timing is another common cause. You’re not being distracted by anything; your mind has just suddenly gone blank. It might simply not be the right time to write – you might need more time to think about your ideas a bit more – have a brainstorm instead.

Fear is also a big factor in writer’s block. Some people never become writers because they are simply too afraid to put their writing out there and risk criticism. They are afraid of other people reading their work.
It might be that you are afraid to finish your book/article/blog because it might not be good enough. Hitting that wilderness can cause panic, anxiety and a host of other unpleasant things…but it’s good to know that you’re not the only one who this happens to – many of the great writers suffer from a block; I’d even hazard a guess that they all have at some point.     

What can you do to solve this ever present block?

Well, there’s no definitive answer that will suit everyone. We are all different and all suffer with writer’s block for our own reasons. I can’t tell you exactly how to fix it, but I can share some solutions to help you get your focus back.

Possible solutions to writer’s block

Here are some ideas – some I have tried and some I haven’t…

  • Get away from your desk. Go outside, take deep breaths and maybe go for a walk. I live in the French countryside, so I often take a stroll round our field and just sit for a bit.
  • If you love to exercise, you might try a bike ride or a run – get your blood flowing.
  • Play a game (but set a time limit or you’ll find the day is gone!)
  • Spend time with someone who you like to be around, someone who makes you feel good.
  • Call your family for a chat.
  • Read a book.
  • Google some inspiring quotes about writing that will get you going.
  • As I said above, get rid of the distractions. I’m easily distracted by email/social media posts popping up, so I switch off email and social media when I’m writing.
  • Listen to some music – I really like this one…or play an instrument!
  • Brainstorm some ideas and just put them in bullet points in a word document.
  • Write something else! Leave the writing you’re struggling with and start to write about something different. I often do this with blogs. If I’m really struggling to find the right words, or just can’t think how to string a particular sentence together, I stop! And I start writing a different blog about something completely different. Often, I don’t go back to the original for days, sometimes weeks. Then it suddenly jumps out at me and I can do it.
  • Take a shower! No, not because you smell or need it! Have you ever noticed that you always get your best ideas when you’re in the shower or just about to drop off to sleep? Occasionally, I have to get out of bed and just jot down a few ideas.

Routine helps 

I find that having a writing routine makes me sit down and get on with it. Plan your ‘to do’ list and make sure that your writing forms a big part of that list. It’s the same as ‘hitting the wall’ when you’re running. You have to push through it. So, forcing yourself to commit to a certain amount of time every day or every few days is key to getting out of the doldrums and kicking the butt of writer’s block.  

I write blogs, as well as having a couple of books on the go. Sometimes my blog writing doesn’t go well simply because I haven’t done enough research on the subject I’m writing about. So, for me, I go on Google and search for more articles on the subject I’m writing about and see if I can get inspiration for a different angle.

Sometimes you can just write through the block. This is one way to deal with the fear factor! To coin a phrase, ‘Just do it!’ It doesn’t matter what you’re writing about, or if it doesn’t feel right, just keep on writing – you can always edit it later. From time to time you are so full of self-doubt that you can’t see past that. This often goes along with fear. So, push through the block as I said before and, like the runner who gets a stitch, keep going and eventually it will go away. 

Finally if you are really struggling, get away from it.

After all tomorrow is always another and new writing day! You could always go shopping for shoes instead!