Effective Business Communication: Apply the Five C's to Your Professional Writing

By StepUpwards Team, 30th May 2022

Introduction 

Corporate correspondence, reports, proposals, and meeting notes are some of the situations that require you to communicate formally. Whether or not your work requires you to draft lengthy emails or documents, being able to write clearly is essential for effective communication.

A lack of good writing skills can have detrimental effects on your professional network, from undermining your credibility as an employee to eroding the goodwill of colleagues within your company. If you find yourself struggling with writing business communications, it’s time to incorporate some new habits into your workflow. Read on for insights into how applying the five C's of effective business communication can strengthen your work output.

The 5 C’s of effective business communication

Clarity

Whether you’re writing an emailspeaking to your team, or sending a proposal to a client, you can’t communicate effectively if you’re unclear about what you’re trying to say. It’s important to have an understanding of the overall message you’re trying to convey in any given situation, as well as the audience you’re trying to reach.

To streamline your thought, try the following steps -

  • Try looking at the message from the perspective of your reader. What do you hope the other person will understand from the conversation? What actions are you hoping to spark in them?

  • When you’re writing an email, try to imagine if you were reading it out loud while you’re drafting it. Is there something off about the way you’re saying it? Is there a word that’s missing? A particular tone that’s misplaced?

  • When thinking about what you want to say, don’t just focus on the words. Focus on carefully fabricating the right words to send out the exact message that you are thinking of. What are you trying to communicate to the other person? 

  • Don’t get stuck on only one idea. When you’re writing an email or a report, don’t just focus on one idea at a time. Try to incorporate different parts of your message into each sentence or paragraph you write. This will help you to avoid getting stuck on a single thought.

Consistency

Consistency is the idea that your writing should be built upon a series of similar principles throughout your content. It’s helpful to consistently use certain words and phrases throughout a document. This can help your reader quickly identify certain concepts.

Writing with a consistent vocabulary will make your communication more effective. It is also important to avoid using jargon or technical terms that your reader may not be familiar with. This breaks the flow of reading and becomes a barrier to comprehension.

Cohesiveness

Another important trait of excellent business communication is cohesiveness. It is the quality that allows your writing to be like a "jigsaw puzzle," where each piece is connected to the other ones. Cohesiveness is usually achieved with transitions, where you link one part of your content with another with a clear connection.

The flow of ideas, usage of words, tone, and style of writing should be similar throughout a document. So that the reader can get a good sense of what a writer is trying to convey. 

Credibility

You have to have enough evidence to back up the claims you’re making in your content. It’s about showing that you know what you’re talking about, which will make your readers trust you and your ideas even more. You can build credibility in your writing by including evidence to back up your claims. To do this, you can use quotes, statistics, and research to provide evidence for your points and draw conclusions based on this.

When you create a level of credibility with your readers, they’ll be more likely to trust what you have to say. It’s important to remember that people often make snap judgments about the information that they read. If you can create a sense of credibility with your audience, they’ll be more likely to take your professional advice, buy your products, or attend your events.

Confidence

This final C is perhaps the most important of the five, and it can be summed up with the phrase "act like you know what you’re talking about". This is the final piece of the communication puzzle, and it’s what will tip your reader into believing what you’re saying is true. 

If you don’t have any confidence in what you’re saying, then your reader will likely pick this up. This will make your readers question your knowledge and skills. 

Confidence is key when you need to present your ideas as facts or solve a problem. Confidence can be built up over time, so never be afraid to practice and improve your skills.

Wrapping up

Even if you think that you write well, the truth is that nobody is perfect. Of course, no matter how much experience you have in the field, there’s always room for improvement. That’s why it’s a good idea to learn from the best and apply what they do to your work.

Effective business communication isn’t about taking shortcuts or simply trying to cram as much information into a single document as possible. Instead, it’s about applying the five C’s of communication mentioned here and taking your writing to the next level.

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