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The 7 Cs of Communication – A Checklist for Clear Communication
by On October 30, 2012

Think of how often you communicate with people during your day. You write emails, facilitate meetings, participate in conference calls, create reports, devise presentations, debate with your colleagues… the list goes on.

We can spend almost our entire day communicating. So, how can we provide a huge boost to our productivity? We can make sure that we communicate in the clearest, most effective way possible.

This is why the 7 Cs of Communication are helpful. The 7 Cs provide a checklist for making sure that your meetings, emails, conference calls, reports, and presentations are well constructed and clear – so your audience gets your message.

According to the 7 Cs, communication needs to be:

Clear.

Concise.

Concrete.

Correct.

Coherent.

Complete.

Courteous.

In this article, we look at each of the 7 Cs of Communication, and we’ll illustrate each element with both good and bad examples.

1. Clear

When writing or speaking to someone, be clear about your goal or message. What is your purpose in communicating with this person? If you’re not sure, then your audience won’t be sure either.

To be clear, try to minimize the number of ideas in each sentence. Make sure that it’s easy for your reader to understand your meaning. People shouldn’t have to “read between the lines” and make assumptions on their own to understand what you’re trying to say.

Bad Example

Hi John,

I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel, who’s working in your department. He’s a great asset, and I’d like to talk to you more about him when you have time.

Best,

Skip

What is this email about? Well, we’re not sure. First, if there are multiple Daniels in John’s department, John won’t know who Skip is talking about.

Next, what is Daniel doing, specifically, that’s so great? We don’t know that either. It’s so vague that John will definitely have to write back for more information.

Last, what is the purpose of this email? Does Skip simply want to have an idle chat about Daniel, or is there some more specific goal here? There’s no sense of purpose to this message, so it’s a bit confusing.

Good Example

Let’s see how we could change this email to make it clear.

Hi John,

I wanted to write you a quick note about Daniel Kedar, who’s working in your department. In recent weeks, he’s helped the IT department through several pressing deadlines on his own time.

We’ve got a tough upgrade project due to run over the next three months, and his knowledge and skills would prove invaluable. Could we please have his help with this work?

I’d appreciate speaking with you about this. When is it best to call you to discuss this further?

Best wishes,

Skip

This second message is much clearer, because the reader has the information he needs to take action.

2. Concise

When you’re concise in your communication, you stick to the point and keep it brief. Your audience doesn’t want to read six sentences when you could communicate your message in three.

Are there any adjectives or “filler words” that you can delete? You can often eliminate words like “for instance,” “you see,” “definitely,” “kind of,” “literally,” “basically,” or “I mean.”

Are there any unnecessary sentences?

Have you repeated the point several times, in different ways?

Bad Example

Hi Matt,

I wanted to touch base with you about the email marketing campaign we kind of sketched out last Thursday. I really think that our target market is definitely going to want to see the company’s philanthropic efforts. I think that could make a big impact, and it would stay in their minds longer than a sales pitch.

For instance, if we talk about the company’s efforts to become sustainable, as well as the charity work we’re doing in local schools, then the people that we want to attract are going to remember our message longer. The impact will just be greater.

What do you think?

Jessica

This email is too long! There’s repetition, and there’s plenty of “filler” taking up space.

Good Example

Watch what happens when we’re concise and take out the filler words:

Hi Matt,

I wanted to quickly discuss the email marketing campaign that we analyzed last Thursday. Our target market will want to know about the company’s philanthropic efforts, especially our goals to become sustainable and help local schools.

This would make a far greater impact, and it would stay in their minds longer than a traditional sales pitch.

What do you think?

Jessica

3. Concrete

When your message is concrete, then your audience has a clear picture of what you’re telling them. There are details (but not too many!) and vivid facts, and there’s laserlike focus. Your message is solid.

Bad Example

Consider this advertising copy:

The Lunchbox Wizard will save you time every day.

A statement like this probably won’t sell many of these products. There’s no passion, no vivid detail, nothing that creates emotion, and nothing that tells people in the audience why they should care. This message isn’t concrete enough to make a difference.

Good Example

How much time do you spend every day packing your kids’ lunches? No more! Just take a complete Lunchbox Wizard from your refrigerator each day to give your kids a healthy lunch AND have more time to play or read with them!

This copy is better because there are vivid images. The audience can picture spending quality time with their kids – and what parent could argue with that? And mentioning that the product is stored in the refrigerator explains how the idea is practical. The message has come alive through these details.

4. Correct

When your communication is correct, it fits your audience. And correct communication is also error-free communication.

Do the technical terms you use fit your audience’s level of education or knowledge?

Have you checked your writing for grammatical errors? Remember, spell checkers won’t catch everything.

Are all names and titles spelled correctly?

Bad Example

Hi Daniel,

Thanks so much for meeting me at lunch today! I enjoyed our conservation, and I’m looking forward to moving ahead on our project. I’m sure that the two-weak deadline won’t be an issue.

Thanks again, and I’ll speak to you soon!

Best,

Jack Miller

If you read that example fast, then you might not have caught any errors. But on closer inspection, you’ll find two. Can you see them?

The first error is that the writer accidentally typed conservation instead of conversation. This common error can happen when you’re typing too fast. The other error is using weak instead of week.

Again, spell checkers won’t catch word errors like this, which is why it’s so important to proofread everything!

5. Coherent

When your communication is coherent, it’s logical. All points are connected and relevant to the main topic, and the tone and flow of the text is consistent.

Bad Example

Traci,

I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you finished last week. I gave it to
Michelle to proof, and she wanted to make sure you knew about the department meeting we’re having this Friday. We’ll be creating an outline for the new employee handbook.

Thanks,

Michelle

As you can see, this email doesn’t communicate its point very well. Where is Michelle’s feedback on Traci’s report? She started to mention it, but then she changed the topic to Friday’s meeting.

Good Example

Hi Traci,

I wanted to write you a quick note about the report you finished last week. I gave it to Michelle to proof, and she let me know that there are a few changes that you’ll need to make. She’ll email you her detailed comments later this afternoon.

Thanks,

Michelle

Notice that in the good example, Michelle does not mention Friday’s meeting. This is because the meeting reminder should be an entirely separate email. This way, Traci can delete the report feedback email after she makes her changes, but save the email about the meeting as her reminder to attend. Each email has only one main topic.

6. Complete

In a complete message, the audience has everything they need to be informed and, if applicable, take action.

Does your message include a “call to action”, so that your audience clearly knows what you want them to do?

Have you included all relevant information – contact names, dates, times, locations, and so on?

Bad Example

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to send you all a reminder about the meeting we’re having tomorrow!

See you then,

Chris

This message is not complete, for obvious reasons. What meeting? When is it? Where? Chris has left his team without the necessary information.

Good Example

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to remind you about tomorrow’s meeting on the new telecommuting policies. The meeting will be at 10:00 a.m. in the second-level conference room. Please let me know if you can’t attend.

See you then,

Chris

7. Courteous

Courteous communication is friendly, open, and honest. There are no hidden insults or passive-aggressive tones. You keep your reader’s viewpoint in mind, and you’re empathetic to their needs.

Bad Example

Jeff,

I wanted to let you know that I don’t appreciate how your team always monopolizes the discussion at our weekly meetings. I have a lot of projects, and I really need time to get my team’s progress discussed as well. So far, thanks to your department, I haven’t been able to do that. Can you make sure they make time for me and my team next week?

Thanks,

Phil

Well, that’s hardly courteous! Messages like this can potentially start officewide fights. And this email does nothing but create bad feelings, and lower productivity and morale. A little bit of courtesy, even in difficult situations, can go a long way.

Good Example

Hi Jeff,

I wanted to write you a quick note to ask a favor. During our weekly meetings, your team does an excellent job of highlighting their progress. But this uses some of the time available for my team to highlight theirs. I’d really appreciate it if you could give my team a little extra time each week to fully cover their progress reports.

Thanks so much, and please let me know if there’s anything I can do for you!

Best,

Phil

What a difference! This email is courteous and friendly, and it has little chance of spreading bad feelings around the office.

 

Variations

There are a few variations of the 7 Cs of Communication:

Credible – Does your message improve or highlight your credibility? This is especially important when communicating with an audience that doesn’t know much about you.

Creative – Does your message communicate creatively? Creative communication helps keep your audience engaged.

Key Points

All of us communicate every day. The better we communicate, the more credibility we’ll have with our clients, our boss, and our colleagues.

Use the 7 Cs of Communication as a checklist for all of your communication. By doing this, you’ll stay clear, concise, concrete, correct, coherent, complete, and courteous.

Article found on website

A-B-C Method of Managing Attitudes
by On October 23, 2012

by Steve Goodier

As an airport skycap checked through a customer at curbside, he accidentally knocked over the man’s luggage. He quickly collected the fallen bags and apologized for the mishap. Unappeased, the traveler burst into an angry tirade, raging and swearing at the skycap for his clumsiness. Throughout the traveler’s rant, the baggage handler simply apologized and smiled. The angry man continued to berate the skycap, until he finally headed off to catch his plane. Even then the baggage handler remained calm and passively smiled.

The next customer in line witnessed the incident and marveled at the skycap’s professionalism and control. “I have never seen such restraint and humility,” he said. “How do you keep your cool when somebody is attacking you so viciously?”

“It’s easy,” the skycap answered. “He’s going to Denver, but his bags are going to Detroit.”

That is certainly ONE way of managing attitudes, but here is a more constructive approach.

Have you heard of the A-B-C method of managing your attitude? It’s simple and effective.

“A” stands for the “Activating Event.” Let’s say you get stuck in traffic. The traffic jam is the activating event.

“B” stands for your “Belief System.” You believe that traffic is only getting worse and you’ll have more and more days like this ahead.

“C” stands for the “Consequence of the Event.” You become angry. You want to honk your horn. Your stomach is tied in knots and you bang the dashboard with your fist.

The problem is…most people jump directly from “A” to “C.” They get stuck in traffic and become angry. They think the traffic jam made them upset. They don’t realize that they didn’t HAVE to get angry. They skipped an important step!

Let’s try it again:

“A” – you get stuck in traffic.

“B” – you believe that you were given some unexpected and extra time to spend in solitude, to listen to a great tape or to plan your day.

“C” – the consequence is that you feel gratitude for the gift of time.

I have a friend who is fond of saying, “A traffic jam has no power to make us angry. It just stops our car.” He is aware that between the activating event and the consequence is something that we control: our beliefs about what is happening.

The next time you have a problem — at home or at work, big or small — decide to manage your attitude toward it. Practice the A-B-C method. You probably can’t change “A,” the activating event. But try hanging “B,” your beliefs about the problem. When you change your beliefs, you also change “C,” the consequences of the situation.

It’s as simple as A-B-C. Manage your beliefs, and you’ll manage to be a lot happier!

Steve Goodier’s books & newsletter

Happiness Is Within Us
by On October 17, 2012

By Remez Sasson/Website

What is happiness, and why do we constantly run after it? What does it mean to be happy? What is the difference between happiness and pleasure?

It is a hot summer day, and you feel thirsty. A friend offers you a refreshing cold glass of lemonade. How do you feel when you see the glass? How do you feel when to drink it?

Will you describe your feeling as happiness or as pleasure? I believe you will say it is a feeling of pleasure. There is a connection between these two kinds of feelings, and sometime one evokes the other, but they are not the same thing. Pleasure is more dependent on the five senses while happiness is independent of them.

Pleasure is a good feeling that comes from eating good food, watching a good movie, feeling the warm caressing rays of the sun on a winter day, enjoying a party, etc. Pleasure has to do with enjoyment through the five senses and is dependent on circumstances, objects and people.

When you are happy, minor unpleasant events usually do not disturb you. When you are unhappy, you feel as if everything is against you. You might compensate for this, by eating chocolate and sweets, because this gives you pleasure; yet you stay unhappy.

You may smoke a cigarette, because it gives you pleasure, but this does not make you happier, especially, if you acknowledge the fact that smoking is not good for your health.

There are people, who fear that if they experience happiness, it will be soon taken away from them. They regard it as a temporary state, and are afraid to experience it, lest they lose it. In this way, they avoid the pain that might follow when it goes away. They believe that happiness is always followed by unhappiness.

Others might go to the extreme of not seeking it at all, because they feel unworthy of it, and prefer to avoid it. There are also people, who always look behind their back, wondering wherefrom will come the blow.

The physical world is always in a state of flux. At each moment, a new thing is being created, sustained, changed, transformed and then destroyed. This is the normal state of affairs, and no one can change it. If we attach ourselves to a certain situation, we are bound to experience unhappiness sooner or later. No situation remains as it is. These are the laws of nature. When circumstances change, and the changes are not to our liking, we experience unhappiness. On the other hand, if we exercise detachment, nothing can influence our moods. Then, external events have nothing to do with our inner joy and peace of mind.

From the moment of birth, there is yearning for happiness, and endless race towards it. It is considered as one of the greatest positive attributes. If we analyze our actions, we see that all of them are in some way or another, happiness oriented. Everyone wants to feel good and happy. When circumstances and events are to our liking, we are happy, and when they are not, we feel miserable.

When do we experience this coveted state? This feeling emerges when some problem has been solved, a burden has been lifted or a fear has disappeared. We also experience it when or a desire or ambition has been fulfilled. We also experience it at a time we acquire or receive something we wanted very much. It comes when we are assured of the love of someone dear to us, when we win a sum of money in the lottery, or when we get good grades at school.

What happens at these times? The tension that has been accumulating while we were pursuing, waiting, expecting or desiring is released. There is no more any need to run after the coveted object or evade a fear. Some tension, worry or burden has been lifted. At this moment happiness appears. It is a kind of feeling that erupts from the inside.

When something happens that puts to an end or brings to a happy conclusion, a search, a worry, a fear or anything else, our minds become calm. We then have no need to think, worry or desire the object, event or circumstances. There is a kind of a mental relaxation, which makes happiness manifest.

The room of the mind was filled with desire, worry or fear. Now the room has been emptied, and the mind freed of the compulsion of thinking about them. There is freedom, a feeling of ease, inner peace and joy.

Watch your mind next time you experience happiness and see what is happening. You will find out that the mind becomes quiet, and its constant chatter stops for a while. You will see that happiness emerges from the inside.

Happiness Is Inside Us And Is Attainable

On a cloudy day, the clouds hide the sun, but the sun is always there. The clouds of thoughts, worries and desires cover and hide our happiness. We have to disperse them in order to experience it. Then the happiness that is inherent in the soul and is always there shines forth.

Happiness is not something far away and unattainable, and it does not depend on circumstances, objects or events. It is an inseparable part of our consciousness, but hidden and covered from sight, by our thoughts, desires and worries.

The experience of mystics down the ages has been that happiness is inherent in our souls; it is not something to be gained anew. All that is necessary to do is to uncover it.

If we can silence the chatter of the mind, we will experience this inherent happiness. It is dependent only on one thing, the silencing of thoughts. This means that in order to experience happiness intentionally we have to make our mind silent, calm and relaxed.

What have all the mystics, yogis and saints pursued down the ages? They have not been looking for pleasure, but have been searching for inner happiness that no one could take from them no matter where they were. It is independent of outer events.

This happiness I am talking about is constant and eternal. It is our nature; only our thoughts stand in our way of experiencing it. Dispel the thoughts and you are happy.

You cannot see a treasure at the bottom of a stormy and muddy lake though it is there. Make the water still, and let the mud sink, and you see the treasure. The treasure is there whether you see it or not. So is happiness. It is always here, only covered and hidden.

Now you may ask, what one has to do in order to gain happiness? One of the key factors is detachment. Endeavor to be detached, and do not let your feelings be influenced by each little blow of the wind. If you can convince yourself to stay relaxed and calm in every situation, this will be the first step.

Activities such as learning to concentrate and control the mind, developing will power and self-discipline, practicing meditation and reading spiritual literature bring happiness, because they calm the mind.

In the East, they say that if you are in the presence of a realized teacher, your thoughts slow down, and you experience elation and bliss. The mind of such a teacher is completely calm and undisturbed by thoughts. It is also very powerful and causes the minds of people in his vicinity to behave similarly, as if influencing them by telepathy. The mind being calm, it stops being an obstacle to the welling of happiness.

Happiness is here, within you. Just calm your mind and stay relaxed, and you will experience it. You do not need to wait for it to come. You do not need outer circumstances and events to bring it. A calm and detached mind is the gate to true happiness. It is your decision to choose happiness.

Read more articles about happiness at our blog.

 

 

Happy Monday
by On October 15, 2012

Most people can relate to being overwhelmed.  Too much to do.  Not enough time.  When this happens too often or for too long, you eventually overdue it.

Overdoing it isn’t a huge problem.  How you respond to overdoing is where you will turn it around or spin out into a negative cycle.

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And don’t forget – today is your last day to enter your post of the October Failing Forward contest, get your posts up!

be free!

eric

My fall public schedule is set, I’d love to see you!

Vancouver B.C November 3rd

Orlando, FL  November 10th

Bend, OR  November 13th

Los Angeles, November 17th

Sacramento, December 1st

Toronto ON,  December 8th

Wisconsin,  December 15th

Well-Being: How You Doing?
by On October 10, 2012

You probably hear it almost every day, and for folks that are pretty social, maybe many times during the day…

to PCA my? Bronzer gradually been

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like like me reminding while money

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and experimented bristles bags my.

a little more detail about some aches or a personal situation, but those are rare and usually superficial.

So how are we really doing? The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index can give us a snapshot or a trend line of the pulse of the nation or a subset, but how about on an individual basis? How often do we take the time to truly take stock of our own well-being?

While we generally have a good sense of our physical health, at least when symptoms are present, how conscious are we of our emotional and social health, areas that are core to our well-being?

Emotional health touches on areas most of us don’t often or ever consider: our self-awareness, taking time to be more mindful, being in touch with our feelings and sensing how they can guide or impact our behaviors. With our daily lives moving at a pace where it’s hard to keep up, it takes some effort to really pay attention and listen to the “beneath the surface” components that can be suppressed by our transactional days.

And in our interactions with others, whether colleagues, friends or family, the dimension of social health comes into play in how we choose to interface on an individual or group basis. What do you bring into each of these relationships, in those moments of interaction you share? How we initiate, communicate, respond and choose to agree and support or disagree and oppose help make up our social health. With whom we opt to invest our time and energy in relationships helps guide our well-being in positive or negative ways.

As a leader in well-being, we need to do more to promote our insights and ideas around social and emotional health, to provide deeper and more meaningful context about these elements of well-being so there can be greater understanding and appreciation of these areas.

As individuals, we can give ourselves a gift by making efforts to better know our own well-being, to make time to build better self-awareness, both for our own reflection and in interrelating with others.

So think about this, the next time someone says to you, “How you doing?”

Written by: Frank Hone

Happy Monday Contest (on Friday) – Failing Forward
by On October 5, 2012

by Eric

Successful people are action oriented.  As cliche as this is, it is TRUE that successful people FAIL much more than unsuccessful people. When you shift your relationship with failure so that it becomes a GOOD thing so that it triggers the understanding that you have just successfully figured out what doesn’t work and be OK with that, you are much more likely to continue taking actions in a way that that creates the wonderful outcomes that you desire.

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For example,  recently i failed to keep my streak of only saying positve or neutral things going.  Twenty four days towards my 30 day goal and i was back to day one I wasn’t thrilled about it when it happened.  Not at all. Then minutes later, all of the crazy critical thoughts running through my mind got their navigational bearing and did a 180 degree turn.

I began seeing the benefit in the failure and all of a sudden it was a good thing.  Contrast that with me never attempting this challenging task in the first place!

This weeks assignment is fun and hopefully rewarding and now that you have my permission it might not even take much courage. Simply go out and FAIL – go out and try a bunch of stuff that you are not sure you’ll be able to get done, and get excited about all of the times that you strike out, fall on your face and DON’T get it done.

The first monday of each month i’m going to have a Happy Monday CONTEST. This weeks contest is simple.  Post a story or a video describing where you failed big time recently and why it was a good thing.  Posts must be made on this page, facebook or personal email will not be entered in the contest.

I will be picking the top four finalists out of all the comments that were posted by October 15th and then you will vote for who is the biggest winner for going out and failing. Who ever wins receives a personal coaching session with me and all finalists will receive two tickets to one of my live one day events.

Most importantly, EVERYONE who can reframe what failure really  is wins big time  – step out of your comfort zone, have fun coming up short and post your experience!

be free!

eric