THE SIX C’s OF COMMUNICATION

CLARITY
This is divided into

  • Clarity of thought
  • Clarity of expression

Clarity of thought.
– This is important when the idea is being generated in the mind of the sender
-At this stage, three points should be checked upon

  • what is the objective of the communication?
    Example:- to warn, educate, congratulate
  • What is to be communicated?
    Example:- A song, play, poem etc
  • Which medium is appropriate for the purpose of communication?
    Example:- Letters, photographic, interviews. Etc.

Clarity of Expression
The following tips should be considered

  • Avoid jargon
    Jargon is a special language of trade, certain profession or field of study e.g. medicine, business and only understood and used by people from such fields. It therefore creates a scenario of difficult understanding to those who are not from that field.
    Example: in law, the phrase “Jurisdiction of the court of appeal”. This could only be understood by those in the field of law a doctor may not understand such a term.
  • Avoid ambiguity
    An ambiguous message is one that contains words that have more than one meanings. This may encourage misinterpretation of the words.
    Example:- The word dispense could mean both To prepare medicine and to To dismiss someone
  • Use short sentences
    Short sentences are easier to comprehend for they are not complex and do not demand greater concentration as is the case for long ones.
  • Use of simple words
    Simple words tend to be more effective for they are easily understood and are interpreted correctly.
    Example: Use of the word before instead of, prior to
  • Use of concrete expression
    Concrete expressions create visual images that are easy to register and remember. This can be achieved by avoiding being too general or vague in your expressions.
    Example: you can say, ‘that dress is expensive for it costs shs.150, 000/ ‘instead of plainly
    saying ‘that dress is expensive’.

CONCISENESS
– It is important for your message to be straight to the point by not loading the message with irrelevant and unnecessary details.
– Be as brief as possible but not at the expense of clarity, correctness or courtesy.
– If a reader feels that he/she is wasting his/her time on your message e.g. letter, he may opt to disregard it.
How to achieve conciseness

  • Avoid repetition
    Example: Me, i am thanking you……………..”
  • Include only relevant facts and details
  • Organize your message well i.e. the introduction, the body of the message and the conclusion.
  • The message should be coherent, i.e. it should hold together.
  • Avoid wordy expressions, figures of speech and ambiguous words.

CONSIDERATION
In your message, you should always show consideration for the reader or listener. This can be done in the following ways.

  • Impact integrity to your message
    – Ethical principles of sincerity and fair treatment should be observed.
  • Emphasize positive and pleasant statement
    – In case where one has to send a message of regret, use positive and pleasant words.
    Example of negative expression – “We are sorry to inform you that you have not been admitted to this school”
    Positive expression – “Thank you for your application for a course in Micro- finance; you are however advised that the commencement date is July next year….
  • Adopt the “You” attitude – Avoid ‘I’ and ‘we’ in you message. The “you” attitude is highly recommend for it shows greater respect and consideration for the recipient. Example of ‘I’ attitude: “I am happy that you considered my application” Example of ‘You’ attitude: “Thank you for your quick response to my letter”

COURTESY
This calls for a considerate and friendly attitude towards the other the receiver. The following points may assist in promoting courtesy:

  • Answer the letters promptly or respond to the message promptly
  • Omit negative expressions such as “we regret” instead use friendly statements such as “we shall see to it that…”
  • Apologize sincerely for an omission and thank generously for any favour done.
    Example of an apology: – We sincerely apologize for not dispatching your goods on time”.

COMPLETENESS
– Complete presentation of facts and details is necessary in any business communication
– Incomplete communication leads to ineffectiveness of the action to be taken, irrelevancy, misinterpretation and misunderstanding of the message. This is because it leaves a number of questions unanswered.
– Example: When replying to an enquiry from a customer wishing to buy a car, one must include all relevant facts about the car such as the model, colour, price mode of payment and other specifications.
– The message should be well organized in such a way that the reader/listener is not in doubt about the details contained in it.
– Tips for communication completeness

  • While answering a letter, include all relevant details and answer all questions if any.
  • Check on the “5w’s questions to why? What? Where? Who? When?

CORRECTINESS
This simply means:

  • Giving correct facts/statements/arguments etc.
  • Sending the message at the correct time
  • Send the message in the correct style/medium/channel.

BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION
Communication will be effective if it flows speedily and smoothly in an uninterrupted flow.
Some common barriers are:

1. wrong choice of medium:
Unsuitable media may act as a barrier to effective communication example an apology will be effective if communicated face to face rather than in writing.
2. Physical barriers
These may due to inadequate staff, faulty procedures, in accuracy in processing and delivery of communication.
Physical barriers include:

  • Noise
    Example passing traffic may disrupt a session; poor handwriting may affect the understanding of a letter.
  • time and distance
    People in different shifts may not communicate because of time. Distance may affect face to face communication when a lecturer is addressing a large group of students.

Semantic barrier
Semantic refers to the meaning of language. The same word may be interpreted differently by different people because of mental attitude and understanding.
Semantic barriers include:

  • Interpretation of words.
    The receiver of the message may not assign the same meaning to that purported by the sender. This may be a barrier to communication example;” what is he value of this ring?” This can be interpreted as the monetary value, the importance or the implication.
  • Bypassed instructions
    This will happen if the sender and receiver of the message attribute different meanings to the same word use different words for the same meaning.
    Example a manager said to anew office assistant” go and burn this. The manager simply wanted another copy of the letter, the office assistant went on to burn the letter, to the dismay of the manager.
  • Denotation and connotation
    Words have connotative and denotative meaning. Denotative meaning is the literal meaning of the word such as book, chair etc.
    Connotative meanings arouse qualitative judgments and personal reactions.
    Words like honesty, noble, competent and sincere.
    Some words may have favourable connotation and unfavourable connotation such as the word cheap it may mean low in price or low in quality.

To avoid problems of bypassed instructions the following points should be kept in mind.

  • Use words which are familiar to the receiver.
  • Clarify new words or words used in a different context.
  • Choose words that have a positive connotation rather than those with negative connotation.

4. Different comprehension of reality.
These barriers include;

  • Abstracting
    This is the process of focusing attention on some details and omitting others. This is a barrier because a detail that may appear important to one person may be taken as being trivial by the reader.
  • Slanting
    It means giving a particular bias or slant to a reality. Slanting is similar to allness, in allness we only know a part and are ignorant of the rest but we think that we the whole.
  • Inferring Inferences are drawn from observations and assumptions. If we drop a letter at the post office we assume that will be delivered on time. Inferences are not facts Wrong inference is a barrier to communication.

5. Socio-psychological barriers
This may be due to some social or psychological problems.
Such as:

  • Attitudes and opinions
    If information agrees with our opinions and attitudes we tend to receive it favourably if we disagree with it we to tend react unfavourably to it.
  • Emotions
    Emotional state of mind plays an important role in the act of communication. If the sender is perplexed or worried, excited afraid nervous his thinking will be blurred and he will not be able to organize the message properly. His state of mind will be reflected in the message.
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