Principles of Communication: (Seven C’s of Communication):
The term “Communication” is used to denote the exchange of thoughts, feelings, suggestions etc.
between different persons through various means and channels. The word communication has been derived from the Latin word “Communico” which means “to share”. Communication is a two way or reciprocal process aiming at sending information to the party concerned. The sender has to be on his guards to see that his message is so formed as it draws the receiver’s attention, creates understanding in his mind and inspires him to give response to it. In order to make written or oral communication effective, one should follow certain scientific principles of communication. They are of fundamental importance and relevant to all media of communication. The following are the important principles (seven C’s) of communication:
1. Clarity: Clarity means absence of any confusion or misunderstanding. The sender of the message must be clear in his mind regarding the message he intends to send. Clarity consists of precise, correct and familiar words. The sender should not convey his message in technical words or complex symbols that are beyond the receiver’s understanding. The sender has to know, first of all, that quality of the receiver. A great deal of clarity in terms of thought and expression is needed in order to make communication effective. The communicator must be clear about three points: 1. Objective 2. Contend and 3. Medium. Let us suppose that one factory owner wants to prohibit smoking because some inflammable material is stored at a particular place in the factory. The objective on the part of a factory owner is to give a warning. The message (content) to be communicated is just this: please do not smoke here. The most suitable medium should be a visual one: a poster showing a cross mark on a lighted cigarette. If the owner of the factory chooses to put a notice near the stored material, the message will go unheeded. The receiver learns about the idea in the transmitter’s mind through the coded message. If encoding is faulty, the message may be misinterpreted. So it is important to be careful while encoding the message. For clarity of expression the transmitter should use simple words, single words for long phrases, verbs for nouns, concrete expressions that have a visual impact on the mind and will be easy to remember, correct punctuation marks, avoid jargon for it makes writing tedious and obscure, avoid ambiguity by placing the words correctly, prefer active construction in place of passive construction and write very short sentences
2. Completeness: Completeness is one of the crucial principles of communication. Completeness of facts is absolutely necessary in business. Incomplete communication creates problems for the receiver and also spoils the image of the transmitter. The receiver gets confused when s/he receives an incomplete message and at the same time s/he can not put the message into practice. If wrong actions follow an incomplete message, they may also prove expensive. Let us suppose that you have placed an order for a television but you have forgotten to mention the relevant facts i.e. company, size, model, colour, mode of transportation, mode of payment, the date by which you want your T.V. to be dispatched etc. In the absence of any of these details, your order for a television may not be executed to your satisfaction. You should convey your thoughts (messages) in such a way that the receiver can interpret them easily. In short, your message should contain minute details. One should check for five ‘W’ questions beginning with who, what, where, when and why in order to make your message complete. While announcing a meeting, specify who is to attend a meeting, what is to be discussed in a meeting (agenda), where and when a meeting is to be held and why it is to be held. If possible mention how members are expected to reach the venue.
3. Conciseness: Conciseness is one of the important principles of communication. A recipient’s time is invaluable. We should not make him feel that he is wasting away (frittering away) his precious time in reading or interpreting your unnecessarily lengthy letter or message. Be as precise (brief) as possible. Brevity (conciseness) in expression wins the attention of the reader. However, brevity should not get affected at the cost of appropriateness, clarity, correctness, completeness or courtesy (politeness). The following four simple rules will help you achieve conciseness in your content (message): 1. Include only relevant facts. 2. Avoid repetition. 3. Avoid wordy expressions (no verbosity). 4. Organise your message well.
4. Consideration: A reader should be at the centre of all communication. Consideration implies respect for the reader’s point of view. We should show consideration for the reader in our communication – may it be oral or written. Consideration for the recipient of the message can be shown in the following
(a) Adopt the you-attitude: It is a naked truth that every one loves to be noticed or respected by others. So to make our message more effective, we must avoid making use of I’s and we’s. We should adopt the you-attitude and use as many you’s as possible. In any given circumstances we should not forget the reader’s point of view in the whole of our communication.
(b) Avoid gender bias: It is a fact that ours is a man dominated society. But in the world of business both the men and women are given equal importance. Now that the business world is no longer dominated by men, it is extremely important to avoid gender bias. Using he when a message is going to a lady will certainly cause offence. So make to avoid gender bias follow the following tips:
1. Use words free from gender bias:
The chairperson handled the situation tactfully (and not the chairman).
The police was deputed (and not the policemen).
2. Use a slash (/) to include both the alternatives: Dear Sir/Madam, or Gentlemen/Ladies,
3. Use plural forms inclusive of both the genders:
The members expressed their opinions freely (and not: The member expressed his opinion).
(c) Use of positive and pleasing words: Positive words create positive impression upon the mind of the receiver of the message. An approach with a negative beginning or a negative connotation irritates the reader and makes him feel that you lack business manners and gentlemanliness. On the other hand a positive approach convinces the reader of your helplessness or your real problems. Positive and pleasing words help us retain the customer’s goodwill. We should try to avoid the negative words like fear, wrong, mistake, damage, disagree, unpleasant, unwelcome etc. Instead, prefer the positive words like please, thank you, welcome, happy, glad, praise, admire, appreciate, agree, politeness etc.
(d) Show sincerity and fair treatment: Showing sincerity is perhaps the best way of showing consideration. It is a fact that love begets love and hatred begets hatred. If we impart integrity to our message, our valued customers will get impressed and they will react in the same manner.
5. Courtesy (Manner): Good manners, humility and kind nature pay a lot in life. With the use of these virtues communication can be made lively, amiable and effective. If we show respect towards recipient’s (receiver’s) feelings, we are sure to receive the same from him. Friendliness is inseparable from courtesy. And courtesy demands a considerate and friendly behaviour towards others. The following principles help to promote courtesy: (a) Answer the letters promptly, if possible, the same day it is received. (b) Omit irritating expressions such as ‘You are unaware of’, ‘We disagree with you’, ‘You ignored’ etc. They are bound or irritate the readers. (c) Apologise sincerely if you have overlooked or failed to do something and thank the person generously for being kind to you.
6. Correctness: Correctness in communication means usage of appropriate language without grammatical flaws (mistakes). The language should be up to the mark i.e. suitable to the quality of the message. For correctness the transmitter should give correct facts. One should not transmit any message unless one is sure of its correctness. The transmitter should send the message at the correct time. Outdated information is useless. It involves wastage of time, money and human resources. Indeed the message should be communicated at a time when it is likely to prove most effective. It is equally important to take the correct style into account.
7. Consistency: Consistency means uniformity of thoughts. The message should have no contradiction in it. There must be coherence of thought. The message should reflect the thinking line of sender’s mind or the objective of his business in hand or the policies of the organization which he is concerned with. Communication should be well-linked and not broken with contradictions.