(How to Weather the Storm)
The 7’C’s of Communication (Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Coherent, Complete, Courteous) have provided the world of corporate communications with steadfast pillars for many years – however many of us seem to have forgotten a key detail.
These pillars were originally designed for WRITTEN communication.
When it comes to communicating in person however, these stalwarts of the written word become as useful as a chocolate teapot. Those who have implied that these principles can simply be adapted and applied to live communication have clearly forgotten that this is far easier said than done.
We all aim to be clear, concise and coherent when we communicate in the workplace – but “to err is human” and only a very small percentage of public speakers can get up in front of an audience and deliver a perfect presentation every time. What oftentimes happens is that our central nervous system kicks into overdrive when the pressure is on, and these 7’C’s start to sink below a storm of nerves, nausea, brain fog and waffle.
So when communication coaches preach that we need to apply the 7’C’s of written communication to our interpersonal communication tasks it’s much like a golf coach instructing their student to “just hit the ball farther” or “be more accurate with your putting”. In other words the 7’C’s is in the destination. How we get there is another ball game all together.
So let us take this opportunity to apply The Lir Academy’s approach to the 7’C’s of communication – and the next time the Good Ship Presenter is facing stormy waters – these tips and tricks will help you to steady the bow and set yourself up for plain sailing ahead.
Clear your mind. Be present. In the moment. Forget about yourself. What most speakers don’t realise is that they are the LEAST important person in the room. The only thing that really matters is your MESSAGE – and making sure you can land that with your audience.
Concise communication is critical. Why use ten words, when five words will do. Think about what is the leanest way to get your message across to your audience. In his Lettres Provinciales, the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal famously wrote:
“I would have written a shorter letter, but I did not have the time”. Start practicing brevity in your written and oral communication – keep your approach lean – and you will avoid the pitfalls of so many public speakers who waffle on, and on, and on, and on, and on…..”
Concrete foundations of your physical presence is central to delivering a powerful performance. Grounding yourself when faced with an audience plays a vital role in asserting your authority, impact and influence over an audience. Place your feet at shoulder length apart, slightly bend your knees, straighten your back, extend your neck upwards (NB don’t over extend!!). Feel the connection your feet have with the ground and own the space around you. From this position you can breathe more effectively, and that breath will transform your performance.
Communication is a key way to land your message with an audience. Study your presentation structure. Does it make sense? Does it have a beginning middle and an end? Remember to BREATHE when delivering your message. Oftentimes the nervous presenter begins to ramble, go off script, stray from the structure – does anything to just get through the excruciating pain of public speaking. Do your prep. Stick to your structure. And breathe.
Your message by aligning your Body Language, Verbal Delivery and Message. Albert Mehrabian’s often misinterpreted 7-38-55 rule refers to the fact that if our words, tone of voice and body language contradict each other we will believe the Body Language (55%) more than the Tone of Voice (38%) more than the Words (7%).
Correct posture can transform your performance. Lir Academy tutors will often refer to a ‘Golden Thread’ – coming from the top of our head which helps us achieve perfect alignment. This concept comes from the Alexander Technique, used by actors worldwide to help with physical performance and presence. Become aware of your posture when communicating. Stand tall. Maintain an open postures and avoid slouching.
Communicators will always do better at getting their message across. Know who your audience is. Understand their needs. Respect their position – and communicate accordingly. Remember, as a speaker you need to overcome certain defence barriers that may be in place from the audience. Consideration goes a long way.
So there you have it – The Lir Academy’s 7 C’s of communication. Keep these points in mind the next time you’re feeling the swell of a storm brewing – and it will help to keep you sailing steadily ahead.
At the Lir At Work we deliver public speaking courses for both individuals and groups. These incorporate a range of theoretical, practical, learning modules designed to strengthen confidence for anyone who fears or is uncomfortable with speaking in public.
Whether you are faced with making presentations to large audiences, leading teams, or controlling communications at boardroom level, our presentation skills development courses will equip you with the necessary skills and confidence to deliver a powerful performance in the workplace.