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The Five Cs of Good Communication: Business Writing for Success Introduction

As the author of several published books, I’m often asked for advice by professionals looking for new jobs, and whether you’re writing emails, cover letters, or résumés, I believe there are five main communication principles that you should keep in mind. They are what I call the “5 Cs of Good Communication.” In this ebook, I’d like to cover these “5 Cs” and then give you some specific ideas that will help you in your job search.

The “5 Cs” are as follows:

  1. Your communication must be Clear – “clear” meaning free from confusion and ambiguity. Your writing is cogent; it is understandable, and it is expressive.
  2. Your writing should be Concise, meaning short, to the point, brief, and – as much as possible – using one word rather than two.
  3. Your writing should be Concrete. In this I mean specific and not vague. You want your writing to be definite and not general or abstract.
  4. Correct: When your writing is correct, it is free from error; it is accurate. It uses correct grammar, spelling and punctuation, and is free from all typos.
  5. The final C in our Good Communication is Conversational – conversational or familiar, like a verbal chat. It’s friendly. It’s informal without using jargon or having too much slang.

Let’s go through these, one at a time, and have you think about how you might apply this to your writing as you are searching for your next career move.

Making Your Communications Clear

The first C of Good Communication is to make your communications clear.

During the Mad Hatter’s tea party in Lewis Carroll’s Adventures in Wonderland, the March Hare told Alice “It is never enough just to mean what you say. You must also say what you mean.” That is, the words that you choose must express your ideas and feelings clearly to your audience whether you are speaking or writing. Not bad advice from an insane rabbit, huh? So, when you’re looking at what you’re trying to say, there are some principles that I’d like to cover.

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