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Applying The Key Characteristics Of Effective Communication

If you’re facing challenges with professional communication, you’re not alone. In fact, ineffective communication is cited as the reason for workplace failures by 86% of executives and employees, making clear, concise, and useful messaging crucial. 

To achieve this goal, implementing a few basic characteristics of effective communication is essential. Here's a look at those traits and how to apply them. 

What are the characteristics of effective communication? 

There are a few staple concepts to know when it comes to effective communication, including: 

  1. Clarity 
  2. Conciseness 
  3. Correctness 
  4. Completeness 
  5. Coherence 
  6. Consideration 
  7. Courtesy 
  8. Concreteness 
  9. Consistency 

While the first seven are well-known in business writing, today's teams must also consider other elements in their daily communication. That's why we've added two of our own: concreteness and consistency. 

Empower your team with CorrectEnglish Professional to enhance effective and efficient communication across all platforms. 

What does effective communication in the workplace look like? 

 

  1. Clarity 

If your message is clear, your reader is more likely to understand and act on it, making clarity the ultimate characteristic of effective communication. 

On the other hand, if your message contains irrelevant information or unnecessary jargon, your reader will likely struggle to get through it. Begin with a clear communication goal and use precise language to get your point across. 

Examples 

Before: 

“It was agreed upon that company policy be changed to allow employee selection of personal leave days.” 

This sentence makes the reader work to understand its intent. Instead of using easy-to-read language, the message is diluted with jargon. 

After: 

“The company decided to change policy and allow employees to choose their personal leave days.” 

This version has no extra padding and uses clear and direct language, making it easy for the reader to interpret. 

Before:

“The amalgamation of the accounts will provide more time for the team to focus on other tasks.” 

Using words like "amalgamation" can distract the reader and leave gaps in their interpretations. Don't assume the recipient will understand an extended vocabulary. 

After:

"Joining these accounts will give the team more time for other tasks." 

Comprehensive words increase the likelihood of interpreting the message correctly. Always use common language. 

Implementing a communication assistant (like CorrectEnglish Professional) can help your team communicate clearly across all platforms. 

  1. Conciseness 

As George Orwell wrote in his essay "Politics and the English Language," if it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Your aim is to communicate your message as quickly and directly as possible. This way, you'll save your reader time and trouble. 

Example 

Before: 

“We are endeavoring to construct a meticulous proposal to amplify sales.” 

This statement is clouded with complex words that add nothing except bloat. 

After: 

"We’re creating a plan to increase sales." 

This version is direct and efficient. 

Being concise helps the receiver focus on what’s essential, speeds up information processing, and ensures improved understanding. Get straight to the point, avoid wordiness, empty phrases, and redundancies. 

  1. Correctness 

Proper grammar and syntax increase the effectiveness and credibility of your message. Mistakes can affect clarity, create ambiguity, and raise doubts. Additionally, the message's information needs to be accurate. Misinformation can derail productivity in the workplace and compound disorganization. 

Example 

Before: 

"Our expanses have increased by 56% this quarter." 

There are spelling errors and typos that significantly alter the intended information. 

After: 

"Our expenses have increased by 5-6% this quarter." 

This statement has no errors and presents accurate information. 

To ensure the messages you’re sending to your recipients are accurate, make sure your statements are based on facts and can be proven. Then, always review the content before sending it. CorrectEnglish helps you ensure your writing is free of grammatical mistakes and misspelled words. 

  1. Completeness 

Effective communication requires conveying the whole picture. Leaving information out can lead to unnecessary guesswork for readers. Comprehensive yet concise messages reduce follow-up questions and prevent delays. 

Example: 

Before:

"When are we meeting?" 

There’s no substantial information in this message. It's unclear what meeting the sender is referring to or why they're asking. 

 

After:

"When are we meeting with Angie and Ibou to review their marketing campaign?" 

This version is direct and expresses the intent efficiently. 

  1. Coherence 

Coherent communication is logical. Your points should be relevant to your thesis, and the text's tone and flow should be smooth. To make your writing coherent, stick to the topic by connecting each point with transition words and phrases. Staying organized will prevent any confusion or misunderstandings. If you need to touch on multiple points in a single message, compartmentalize each one. 

Example: 

Before:

"The due date for your project has been extended to next week. Mary's client wants to discuss some new features. They requested a meeting for Friday." 

The structure of this message is disorganized. "Your project" and "Mary's client" are two separate topics that may or may not be relevant to each other. 

After:

"Mary's client wants to discuss some new features for their product this Friday. This means we'll be extending due dates for all projects related to their campaign to incorporate the new features." 

The information is organized in a logical way that provides both the information about what is happening and also the reasoning, making it easy to understand. 

 

  1. Consideration 

Empathy is a critical pillar of good workplace communication. Before you speak, consider your words and their potential effects on your listener. 

 

Example: 

Before:

"You did this wrong, and it looks awful. Why can't you try harder?" 

This message is too blunt and implies that the recipient is lazy or careless. The sender doesn't take into account any other reasons for the perceived underperformance. 

 

After:

"I noticed a few mistakes in that last presentation. Let's talk about how we can help you work on this." 

This message focuses on solving the problem without blame, making it much more likely to be received positively. 

Being considerate of others is important for good relationships and communication. Even if a conversation is not directly related to business, its consequences can generate an uncomfortable work environment and reduce productivity. Keeping a polite and professional tone of voice is just as important as the accuracy of the content. 

  1. Courtesy 

Being courteous is as essential in a corporate setting as anywhere. Your team is working together to achieve the same goals of success and growth. Inside jokes, insults, or an aggressive tone work against teamwork. 

Example: 

Before:

"Your staff ignores our suggestions for this program. Our duties are the most important step. Your team needs to understand this and implement our feedback on the code now." 

This message could be perceived as discourteous to its recipient, making it less likely to motivate them to respond positively. 

After: 

"I understand your team is swamped this week, and deadlines are fast approaching. Our department has made suggestions that we'd like the team to review. Please let us know if they need anything from us so we can meet these deadlines." 

This message is more courteous and professional, and when constructive messages that affect productivity are conveyed with respect, team members are more likely to take the initiative and adjust accordingly. 

  1. Concreteness 

A concrete message is specific, supported by evidence to enhance credibility, and aids in better understanding the intended message. It also minimizes the risk of misunderstandings, which is a common challenge in the workplace. Be sure to provide specific examples or explanations. 

Example 

Before: 

"The deadline has been moved up." 

This message lacks supporting facts or additional information to explain its purpose. It's ambiguous and leaves the recipient guessing without a clear course of action. 

After 

"The deadline has been moved from this Friday to next Friday because the client needs more time." 

This revised statement includes specific dates and an explanation to justify why and when the deadline is being moved. This additional information can help facilitate the necessary actions to accommodate the new deadline. 

  1. Consistency 

By following the aforementioned tips, you can ensure your communication is effective. However, once you have improved, it is essential to maintain that level of quality. Your teams and operations are valuable and should always be treated as such. Effective communication depends on a consistent and efficient workflow from everyone. 

To promote effective and consistent communication in your workplace, create a company style guide that aligns with your culture, values, voice, tone, and internal environment. It can establish the structure and guidelines for both internal and external communication, giving you the assurance and confidence that all team members are collaborating in a positive environment.

 

Drive effective communication with CorrectEnglish 

Enhancing your communication can improve both your team's performance and your business's bottom line. The more effective you are at sharing your ideas, the more successful you'll be at inspiring others. Taking the time to learn the principles of effective communication can make you a more decisive leader and streamline workplace efficiency. 

For long-term success, your team requires the appropriate tools in place. CorrectEnglish helps teams enhance their written communication by ensuring accuracy in grammar, punctuation, tone, and word selection, and helping writers maintain clear and concise communication across all platforms. 

CorrectEnglish is an AI-powered communication assistant designed to assist organizations like yours in maintaining consistent and effective communication. To learn more, contact us or get started with CorrectEnglish today. 


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