Communication-How Good Are Our Skills?

Member Feature by : Anna White of Westfield Accounting CC

Our communication skills – how good or bad are they?

When communicating with others, are we sure that the person or persons we are talking to actually understand what we are saying, the context that we are saying it in and that they are interpreting what we are saying correctly?


What is communication?

The definition of communication by Oxford Languages Dictionary –

“the imparting or exchanging of information by speaking, writing, or using some other medium”.

  • Communication is the ability to pass information onto other people and for us to understand what is said to us.

The “7C’s of Communication” is a much-quoted list.  The original list was first introduced by a University of Wisconsin professor Scott M Cutlip and Allen H Center in 1952 in a book they published called “Effective Public Relations”.  This was the first textbook published in the field of public relations.

Their list is :

Completeness – state or condition of having all necessary or appropriate parts;

Conciseness – being short and clear, expressing what needs to be without                             unnecessary words;

Consideration – careful thought;

Concreteness – concrete words are easier to remember than abstract words;

Courtesy – politeness in one’s attitude and behavior towards others;

Clearness – clarity of understanding, perception;

Correctness – quality or state of being free from error, accuracy, being right in an                           opinion or judgement.

The above definitions are taken from Oxford Languages Dictionary.


The list from Education Executive, published in June 2017, is as follows –

  • Clear – easy to perceive, understand, or interpret;
  • Concise – information clear and in a few words, brief but comprehensive;
  • Concrete – specific, definite;
  • Correct – free from error; in accordance with fact or truth;
  • Coherent – logical and consistent;
  • Complete – having all the necessary or appropriate parts;
  • Courteous – polite, respectful, or considerate in manner

The above definitions are taken from Oxford Languages Dictionary.


There is over 65 years difference from when the first “7C’s in Communication” was published in 1952 to when the list by the Education Executive was issued, and the requirements for communicating correctly have basically remained the same.

If there has been no change in the basic requirements to be able to communicate clearly, concisely and in a way where we would be understood, then why is there so much miscommunication and conflict?


In an article “3 Reasons Why Most People are Bad Communicators” by Robert Chen, founder of Embrace Possibility, Robert Chen maintains that we miscommunicate “something to someone” all the time without realising it, and it is not always intentionally.

His suggestion is that if we choose one skill to improve our lives both professionally and personally, we should improve our communication skills. Being able to communicate effectively is perhaps the most important of all life skills.


In a nutshell, he says that we are prone to mis-communicate because –

  1. Seeing is not believing
  • we need to realise that our perception of reality is partial and dependent on our experiences;
  • we need to understand other peoples’ perception of reality is also partial and dependent on their experiences;
  • their world makes perfect sense to them, just like ours does to us;
  1. Just because we all speak English it doesn’t mean we speak the same language
  • words may hold different meanings for different people;
  • ask others explain what they mean to ensure everyone is on same page;
  • paraphrase the other person’s words to make sure you understand what they want;
  • understand the way the person wants to be treated.
  1. We have been taught that “it’s the thought that counts” or all that matters is that “our intentions are good”. Neither of the two matter, it’s the response we get that matters
  • the response is the indication of how well we are communicating. We need ensure that people clearly understand what we are saying. Focus on the response and evaluate their understanding;
  • we need to take responsibility for not getting the response we want;
  • we need to adjust our behaviour and communication according to the feedback;
  • and we need to repeat these steps until we get the results we want.


“Life is about relationships and great relationships come from clear communication”.

For more about this article, or to find out why people are bad communicators, click here.

For more information about Anna West and how Westfield Accounting CC can assist your business, please do visit our members page.