To become an effective leader, excellent communication skill is vital.

Communication is necessary for people to share information, to understand one another, and to be understood. The positive impact of having good communication skill should not be underestimated.

Good communication skill is essential in an interconnected world. It is a way to reach out and develop good relationship between people. It is also an important aspect of seeking information necessary to get things done.

It is easy to say something, but the act of communicating purposefully is a challenge. So, what makes a person an effective communicator?

The 8 C’s of Communication

To become an effective communicator, there are 8 criteria or 8 C’s to be achieved. They are:

  • Clarity
  • Conciseness
  • Coherence
  • Correctness
  • Concreteness
  • Completeness
  • Courtesy
  • Credibility

Becoming an Effective Communicator

The road to being an effective communicator is not one without challenges. Communication is not a one-way traffic. The key lies in one’s ability to practice active listening. There are many other aspects besides the words spoken. Communication is done even when words are not exchanged. Silence is a form of communication, while inaction carries an unspoken response.

Effective communication is necessary everywhere human beings congregate, especially in the working environment. With effective communication, team members can form trust easily by avoiding confusion or making costly mistakes. It also helps increase productivity when less error occurs. With a confident team, cohesion can be created amongst members that would increase engagement.

With many aspects influencing communication, how can one aspire to become a better communicator? What are some tips for them to become better at the communication game?

The biggest barrier to becoming an effective communicator is not the lack of knowledge, but the lack of practice and constructive feedback received for improvement.

4C's - The Abridged Version

To kick off one’s journey to becoming a better communicator, here are 4 basic C’s that even a beginner can quickly incorporate to increase one’s efficiency in communicating.

1) Correctness

What do we mean by being “correct”, and why is this the number 1 recommendation?

In this context, “correctness” refers to the accuracy of information. We may take this for granted, but how often do we see misspelling of some famous leaders and celebrities happening on the newspapers, both in print and online? This is a low-hanging fruit, and a must when one intends to be a good communicator.

Always ensure to get someone’s name and job title correct. That is the easiest way to show respect for another person.

2) Conciseness

Being concise is an important aspect in communication. Referred to as the “minimalism” of communication, the key is to keep the message ‘short and sweet’.

  • Are there any words one could do without?
  • Can the filler words be removed?
    Can a paragraph be summarized into one or two lines?

3) Clarity

To lead people better, clear communication is necessary. Always circle back to the most important point: the PURPOSE. What is the reason for communicating? What are the expectations? Is the listener expected to act om something? Or is the communication a way to disseminating information?

Never leave the audience to interpret your message and expectations, because one’s interpretation is shaped by their own experiences and understanding. If action is needed, a simple act of providing a clear Call To Action (CTA) can increase the effectiveness of the communication.

4) Courtesy

Being courteous means communicating in a friendly manner. Being courteous means not being rude, both directly and indirectly. The challenge most people face is this – not seeing their message from another person’s perspective. This challenge should not come to one as a surprise since there is little psychologically safe and conducive space for people to exchange thoughts, ideas, and feedback.

Creating YOUR Conducive Environment

Do you feel like you are always on guard? Do you refrain from saying anything because you are unsure if it would sound stupid? Are you worried of the repercussions of communicating what is really in your mind?

If you have worries that stops you from communicating your thoughts, you are not in a safe environment. And it is not a surprise, considering how “borderless” the world has become.

As a baby step to increasing one’s ability to communicate more effectively, one should consider gathering a few trusted people to seek input and feedback on the communication piece. A small group of 2 – 3 people would be sufficient as the first step, as the key is to create a safe environment for others to share their opinion and thoughts honestly without negative consequences. And the goal is simple – helping each other to become effective communicators.

In a Nutshell

“No man is an island”. We all live in a complex structure of society, making communication an essential skill to have.

Having knowledge on the importance of communication is a good small step toward improvement. However, there is no use for this to be “knowledge” without being put into practice. We should set SMART goals to achieve our goals according to our ability at a given time.

In short, being a good communicator takes a lot of effort and time. Considering the benefits from being an effective communicator, the effort to become one is always worth the hard work.

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Michelle Lim

Michelle Lim

Creative Consultant, JCE Japan Creative Enterprise