The Nine C’s of Effective Communication: Part 2
This month, we continue our three-part series on developing an office newsletter that engages research administration practitioners across all units. Part Two focuses on Communications - how to craft clear, yet compelling concepts. Check out Part One, Making a Case for an Office Newsletter.
Clear - It is important to be clear about the purpose of the message you are delivering. The recipient want to know why they are receiving the message and what you are trying to achieve by delivering it. Secondly, it is key that the content is clear: You should avoid jargon, use plain language, write simple sentence structures and focus on the core points of your message.
Correct - Make sure that both the facts and information you share and language and grammar you use are correct. If your audience spots errors in either, they will be distracted and your credibility reduced.
Complete - Give the recipient all of the information they need to be able to follow your line of reasoning and to reach the same conclusion as you did. The level of detail needed will depend on the situation. In addition, you should make things as easy as possible for your audience. For example, if you are issuing a “call to action”, provide explicit guidance on that action. A newsletter in digital format (pdf on a webpage) allows you to insert hyperlinks to more detailed information, which give those wishing to do so access to a complete set of information, while also ensuring that the text can stay on message.
Concrete - Ensure that you are specific and that the logic and messages that you are using fit together, build on each other and support each other. Base your arguments on solid facts and opinions from credible sources and only share irrefutable data to support your argument. When you deal with a new concept, a concrete example can often bring your idea to life, and show relevance to your audience.
Concise - When communicating, it is important to stick to the point and keep your messages short and simple. Do not use 10 words if you can say it with five. Do not repeat your messages. The more you say, the more risk there is of confusion: focus on the key points you want to deliver. KISS: Keep It Simple and Short.
Courteous - You can increase the efficacy of your communication by being polite and showing your audience that you respect them. Your messages should be friendly, professional, considerate, respectful, open and honest. Consider how a sensitive audience will receive your message.
Coherent - Aim for a logical flow and keep the style, tone and language consistent throughout: One final editor!
Consistency – With regards to the structure of the newsletter, stick to the same lay-out and style, and keep the same sections/topics always in the same order. Hence, think long and hard about which sections to include: Will you have regular news/copy for each section?
Creative – Ensure the newsletter is visually appealing. Use white space and brighten things up, by incorporating images and (info)graphics.
To enhance engagement make the content “edutaining” and add interactive elements.
Edutaining: Aim for the content to be 60-70% educational/informative and 20-30% entertaining.
Entertainment can be in the form of cartoons, trivia, recipes, travel tips, or inspirational quotes.
Interactive: Include features such as (on-line) surveys, quizzes and contests to encourage participation.
Authored by Floris van der Leest, Manager, Research Information
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology