Saturday, April 1, 2017

7 Principles of Communication


Communication is the life and blood of conducting our day to day needs. You may be a subject matter expert (SME) but that’s of no use if you are not able to communicateyour ideas and innovations to some who has the power to implement them. Nowadays, most communication is done in English so NeoEnglish System is the only way to learn not only spoken English but also effective communication skills. Communication is broken down into two types: Oral Communication and Written Communication.  Oral Communication involves extempore, reading aloud and presentations. Oral presentations can be formal as in presenting before a committee and informal when speaking before a group of friends. There are two types of speaking: informative speaking and persuasive speaking.

Types of Speaking

Informative Speaking has audience learning as its primary goal. An informative speechmay explain a concept, instruct an audience, demonstrate a process, or describe an event. In an professional setting, the informative speech may take many different forms: Individual or Group Report, Oral Briefing, Panel Discussion and Oral Critique. Persuasive Speaking is used to influence what an audience thinks or does. Some of the goals of persuasive speaking include: to reinforce the attitudes, beliefs, and values an audience already holds, to inoculate an audience against counter persuasion, to change attitudes and to motivate an audience to act.

The Method of Speaking

You must know your audience. Do not patronize your audience, Neither speak down nor speak up to your audience. Know the age level of the audience as well as its members’ level of educational sophistication and special interests so tailor your presentation accordingly. The material of your presentation should be concise, to the point and tell an interesting story.
In addition to the obvious things like content and visual aids, the following are just as important as the audience will be subconsciously taking them in: Your voice - how you say it is as important as what you say. Approach your audience with a greeting and smile and tell them who you are. Good presentations then follow this formula: tell the audience what you are going to tell them, then tell them, at the end tell them what you have told them. Speak clearly. Don’t shout or whisper –judge the acoustics of the room. Don’t rush, or talk deliberately slowly. Be natural – although not conversational. Deliberately pause at key points – this has the effect of emphasizing the importance of a particular point you are making.
Visual aids significantly improve the interest of a presentation. However, they must be relevant to what you want to say. A careless design or use of a slide can simply get in the way of the presentation. What you use depends on the type of talk you are giving.

Written Communication

The first activity of writing, defining objectives, is especially important whether you are writing a letter or a job application letter. When defining your objectives, you tell what you want your communication to do. Thus your objectives form the basis of all your other work at writing. In writing, always take the Reader-Centered Approach. You need to look at three things. The final result you desire, The people who will read your communication and the specific way you want your communication to affect the people as they read your communication.

Target your Audience

Target your audience by identifying audience type, characteristics and level of expertise. Determine your audience’s needs by assessing their expertise and their purpose in reading the document. Determine Document Density. People read technical documents for different reasons, and readers have varying levels of technical expertise. To be effective, technical writing must target its audience or audiences. Target your audience by identifying your: audience type and level of expertise, your audience purpose in using the document, and your audience attitude towards both you and the content of your document. Experts read technical and scientific documents for a variety of purposes: to maintain and expand their own, general expertise, To obtain specific answers to their own research and writing and to evaluate a document’s technical or scientific content.

Seven Cs of Communication

To compose a written or oral message you must apply certain communication principles. These are called the seven C’s of effective communication.
  1. Completeness
  2. Conciseness
  3. Consideration
  4. Concreteness
  5. Clarity
  6. Courtesy
  7. Correctness
The seven C’s apply to both written and oral communications. Although we deal here with these principles on a sentence level, they are applicable to all forms of communications. To some extent the principles overlap because they are based on a common concern for the audience, whether the audience consists of listeners or readers.
Your message is complete when it contains all the facts, readers or listeners need for the reaction you desire. Communication senders need to assess their message from eyes of the receivers to be sure they have included all the relevant information.
Benefits of Completeness
Complete messages are more likely to bring the desired results. They do a better job at building goodwill. Communication that seems inconsequential can become very important if information they contain is complete and effective. Provide all necessary information and answer all questions asked. Give something extra, when desired and to make information complete. Answer all the FIVE Ws. Who, What, When, Where and Why.
Conciseness is saying what you want to say in the fewest possible words without sacrificing the other C qualities. A concise message saves time and expense for both the sender and the receiver. It increases emphasis in the message. It shows respect for the recipient, by not cluttering them unnecessary information. To achieve conciseness, observe the following suggestions.
  1. Eliminate wordy expressions
  2. Include only relevant material
  3. Avoid unnecessary repetition
  4. Eliminate wordy expressions
Use single-word substitutes instead of phrases whenever possible without changing meaning.
  • Wordy : At this time
  • Concise : Now
  • Wordy : Due to the fact that
  • Concise : because
Consideration means preparing every message with the message receiver in mind. So, don’t loose your temper, don’t accuse and don’t charge them without facts. Focus on ‘you’ Instead of ‘I’ or ‘we’.  To create considerate, audience-oriented messages, focus on how message receivers will benefit, what they will receive, and what they want or need to know. In some cases this can be accomplished by emphasis; you may downplay your own feelings to make a point.
We-attitude :
I am delighted to announce that we have extended our office hours to make shopping more convenient.
You-attitude :
You will be able to shop evenings with the extended office hours.
The use of ‘you’ in negative situations can be avoided by employing passive voice, making the receiver part of the group. Show audience Benefit or Interest in the receiver, readers may react positively when benefits are shown to them. Whenever possible and true, show your receivers will benefit from whatever the message asks or announces. Benefits must meet recipient’s needs, address their concerns, or offer them rewards. Emphasize Positive and Pleasant Facts for consideration.  Another way to show consideration is to emphasize pleasant and positive facts. This means stressing what can be done instead of what cannot be done. Also you must focus on words your recipient considers favorable.
We regret that, since you closed your account, your name is missing from our long list of satisfied customers. We sincerely hope that inspire the best efforts of our fine staff, there were no occasions on which you felt we failed to serve you properly.
Communicating concretely means being specific, definite, and vivid rather than vague and general. Often it means using denotative (direct, explicit, often dictionary-based) rather than connotative words. The benefits to business professionals of using concrete facts and figures are your receivers know exactly what is desired. When you supply specifics for the reader you increase the likelihood of that you message will be interpreted the way you intended. When you want to avoid personal blunt accusations ‘The October check was not included’ is more tactful than ‘you failed to include….’ ‘Attendance at the meeting id required’ is less hard than ‘You must attend….’.
Getting the meaning from your head accurately to the reader is the purpose if clarity. Remember that you must choose precise, concrete and familiar words, construct effective sentences and paragraphs and choose Precise, Concrete and Familiar words.
Clarity is achieved through a balance between precise language and familiar language. When you have the choice between a long word and a short word, choose the short familiar word. So the golden rule is that when in doubt, use the more familiar words; audience will understand them better.
For example
You must use PAY instead of RENUMERATION and INVOICE instead of STATEMENT of PAYMENT.
After our perusal of pertinent data, the conclusion is that a lucrative market exists for subject property.
The data we studied show that your property is profitable and in high demand.
Although it is appropriate to use technical terms and business jargon in some professional situations, avoid their use when the reader is not acquainted with the terminology.
assessed valuation
property value for tax purpose
Choose precise, concrete and familiar words:
With the increased use of e-mail there is the tendency to be concise. The danger is that you must know the meaning of e-mail acronyms which aid conciseness.
For instance IMO means In my opinion, FAQ means frequently asked questions etc.
Construct Effective Sentences and Paragraphs
At the core of clarity is the sentence. Important characteristics to consider are:
  • Length: Try for an average sentence length of 17 to 20 words. When the sentence length increases try to chop it down to two sentences. Also if the sentences are too short then the resulting language becomes overly simple and choppy.
  • Unity: In a sentence, unity means that you must have one main idea. In case of other ideas they must be closely related. For example ‘I like Sohail and Eiffel Tower is in Paris’ is obviously not a unified sentence.
  • Coherence: In a coherent sentence the words are arranged so that the ideas clearly express the intended meaning. Place the correct modifier as close as possible to word it is supposed to modify. In the examples which follow, notice that ‘unclear’ sentence conveys the wrong meaning.
Being an excellent lawyer, I am sure that you can help us.
Being an excellent lawyer, you can surely help us.
His report was about managers, broken down by age and gender.
His report focused on age and gender of managers.
After planning 10,000 berry plants, the deer came into out botanist’s farm and crushed them.
After our botanists had planted 10,000 berry plants, the deer came into the farm and crushed them.
  • Emphasis: The quality that gives force to important parts of sentences and paragraphs is emphasis. Most often, put main ideas up front within a sentence. Writers must decide what needs emphasis, and then decide the correct sentence structure.
Little emphasis
The airplane finally approached the speed of sound, and it became very difficult to control.
Better emphasis
As it approached the speed of sound, the airplane became very difficult to control.
Little emphasis
Candidates should be motivated and should have interest in dynamic and static testing of material, and have those prerequisites and others.
Better emphasis
Prerequisites in candidates should include expertise in dynamic and static testing of material.
Courtesy stems from a sincere you-attitude. It is not merely politeness with mechanical insertion of ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, although applying socially accepted manners is a form of courtesy. Rather it is politeness that grows out of respect and concern for others. Be sincerely tactful, thoughtful and appreciative. Use expressions that show respect. Chose nondiscriminatory expressions. Be sincerely tactful, thoughtful and appreciative:
Though very few people are intentionally abrupt or blunt, these negative traits are a common cause of discourtesy. Sometimes they stem from a mistaken idea of conciseness, sometimes from negative personal attitudes etc.
Tactless, blunt
Stupid letter; I did not understand any of it.
More tactful
It’s my understanding…..
Tactless, Blunt
Clearly you did not read my latest fax.
More Tactful
Sometimes my wording is not precise, let me try again.
Tactless, Blunt
I rewrote that letter three times; the point was clear.
More Tactful
I am sorry the point was not clear; here is another version.
At the core of correctness is proper Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling. The term correctness applied to business messages also means the following characteristics. Use the right level of language, Check accuracy of figures, facts and words and maintain acceptable writing mechanics. The term correctness applied to business messages also means the following characteristics. Use the right level of language, check accuracy of figures, facts and words and maintain acceptable writing mechanics.
There are two types of writing: Formal and Informal. Formal writing is often associated with scholarly writing. Examples: doctoral dissertations, scholarly articles, top-level government agreements etc. The style unconventional, usually impersonal, and contains long and involved sentences. Informal writing is more characteristic in business writing. An example is the communications via E-mail, memos etc. For correctness, avoid substandard language because using incorrect words, incorrect grammar, faulty pronunciation all suggest inability to use good English. It is not language only, you must also check accuracy of figures, facts and words.


In communication, there are several writing problems. I will note down here a few of them and conclude my article. The first problem is the writer’s block. Writer’s block is what we call the experience of getting stuck while writing. Although the results are the same, there are many sources of writer’s block: lack of information, lack of a well-defined purpose, poor knowledge of the audience, lack of confidence. You must work against all these to stop the writer’s block. Further, there are organizational problems. Organizational problems are discovered during the editing phase. Finding and fixing these problems is what makes editing important. If they are not fixed, readers experience organization problems as complete breakdowns in communication. If you wish to sell an idea or a product, then the style must be persuasive. If you wish to convey information only, such as in a report to superiors, then the style should appear to be passively objective.

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