The Four Cs To Improve Communication

  1. Share
Impact of Leadership
0 0

Have you ever played the telephone game? This is a group of people sit in a circle or stand in a line. You start with one person whispering a phrase into their ear. The person who heard the message whispers what they heard into the next person’s ear. This goes on and on until the last person is told the message, and then that last person announces the message out loud. Almost every time, the message that was first given is nowhere close to what the last person says.


How can that happen? Communication is anything but easy especially when you involve a lot of people.


Doesn’t it feel like we are playing the telephone game in business sometimes? People hear different messages when in the same meeting. The message can get misconstrued when passed from one person to the next. This can happen when someone tells others what transpired during a meeting. If that person does a poor job conveying what was actually said, this can end up creating confusion. How do we stop playing the telephone game in business?


A few years ago I came across the four Cs of communication. The list has become invaluable to me as I work through communication issues in business. 



  1. Clear

  2. Concise

  3. Complete

  4. Correct

Let’s flush each one out and see how each pertains to business communication.

  1. Clear

Have you ever been in a meeting where the point of the meeting was very unclear? I can’t tell you how many times I have failed at not being clear in a meeting, then the meeting ends, and then nothing happens. Being clear means there is a clear goal communicated of what each person is expected to do after the meeting ends. Here are some basic tips for making an assignment clear before the meeting ends:

  1. Assign ownership to each task.
  2. Define what completion looks like for each task.
  3. Give a deadline (date/time) completion of each task.

Stop the confusion by being clear.

  1. Concise

Have you ever met someone who loves to verbally process his or her thoughts? If you are a verbal processor yourself, then you might be understanding when someone else does it. However, if you are not a verbal processor, you will likely become disengaged, or even annoyed, when someone talks through his o her thoughts with you. I am guilty of telling a lot of stories and verbally processing my ideas all at one time. This can create confusion and frustration for others. I’ve learned that it’s better for me to think, stay quiet, and then give direction on what I want with less words. Using less words helps people stay focused and helps prevent confusion for others.

  1. Complete

I already mentioned that to be clear you need to define what completion looks like for a particular task. It’s very important that completion is defined because people have different interpretations on what completion looks like. Many times, details or accuracy is not meet because of different interpretations for completion. A business example could be a boss telling someone to clean up their work area but no specifics on what the boss wants the area to look like after it has been cleaned up. That employee might have straightened the work area up but items are visible, which was not what the boss wanted in their expectations. The boss should have communicated what a cleanup completion would be in their mind by saying “I want you to put all items away in the drawers, so the area looks cleaned up.” Being able to give a clear understanding of expectations for completion will help prevent a breakdown in communication.

  1. Correct

Have you ever met someone who would rather give an incorrect answer instead of admitting that they don’t know the answer? Giving incorrection information to others chips away at the trust you have with them. It can take a long time to regain trust once you mislead someone with your incorrect information. I once worked with a guy who would give an answer to any question that he was asked. He appeared very knowledgeable because of his confidence when answering. Over time I noticed he never said “I don’t know.” One day I told him about my observation. I was even as bold to say “I think you make up half the stuff you say but no one calls you out because you act so confident in your answer. Am I right?” He smiled and responded with, “About 80% of the time I know the answer and the other 20% I make up.” Giving accurate information when asked a question builds trust. On the other hand, giving an incorrect answer instead of saying “I don’t know” can break trust or cause damaging consequences for others. It’s vital for your communication to be correct when others are depending on your answers to give them direction. It’s okay to say “I don’t know but I can find out” as a leader. A leader who is honest and humble will always be respected even when they don’t know the answer.  


The four Cs are here to help communicate better in business. You can use the four Cs in your personal relationships as well. Use the four Cs as a reminder of how to improve communication with others in all areas of life.

Need more? 

Check out the IOL Community Groups to connect with like-minded leaders!

Go to our YouTube and LinkedIn pages for more encouraging content.  

If you’re looking to take your growth as a leader to the next level, we’ve got you covered. Join the Impact of Leadership Community today!


To leave a comment, login or sign up.

Related Content

Five Benefits Gained Through Healthy Conflict
How do you respond when someone disagrees with you? We all have different personalities, so responses can vary from each other. My team and I have been taught in the past year the importance of having healthy conflict with each other. Why? How? That is what I thought when we started our training but by the end, I realized the need is critical for trust to be strengthen as the foundation of your team.   What is healthy conflict? It is the ability to share a difference in opinion respectively on a topic.   Why does healthy conflict matter? Through healthy conflict, a team can feel comfortable to disagree with each other. They can discuss pros/cons of a topic before they conclude with an agreed decision.   Unhealthy Responses Become overly dramatic Gossips Ignores the disagreement Caves to avoid tension Overpowers with logic and facts Becomes passive aggressive Digs heels in even further Looks to even the score Overpowers & gets loud   Healthy Responses Expresses feelings Shows empathy Listens to other’s perspectives Encourages a calm discussion & demeanor Focuses on logic & objectivity Sticks up for own rights Speaks up about problems Addresses the issues head on   What are five benefits of healthy conflict? Commitment Trust Better problem solving Improved productivity Personal growth   How does healthy conflict lead to commitment? After discussing the pros/cons of an idea it will create a unified decision that all can support. When people feel heard they are more willing to meet someone in the middle.   How does healthy conflict lead to trust? You must create a place where team members feel safe and can express their thoughts, feelings, etc. By creating this safe place, it will help your team members feel trust & respect by being heard. Everyone wants to feel valued especially during conflict.   How does healthy conflict lead to better problem solving? It allows all parties to focus on finding the solution by listening, sharing, researching, creative brainstorming, analyzing information and patience.    How does healthy conflict lead to improved productivity? It allows people to speak their heart in a non-judgmental environment. This can build confidence in those that tend to let others lead. Encouraging new ideas to be shared will bring an environment of learning. It can create empowerment and confidence in your team.   How does healthy conflict lead to personal growth? It allows people to be aware of how to control their emotions and be a good communicator. It allows you learn how to attack the problem not the person that is disagreeing with you. You learn to focus on finding a solution that works for both sides.   Conclusion... Creating a healthy conflict environment will strengthen your team’s trust with each other while producing better results because of it.   ********* FINAL WEEK ******** *JOIN US FOR A LIVE EVENT THIS THURSDAY - FEBRUARY 9TH* Resilient Leadership: Leadership in Uncharted Territory With guest speaker Tod Bolsinger! Register HERE Use discount code: MEMBER23 for 15% off registration
Happy New Year. Now Fire Yourself!
My dad taught me that it’s important to fire yourself at the end of the year, wait 10 seconds, soak up that horrible feeling, and then rehire yourself. Why in the world would my dad tell me to do this each year?   Give yourself a scare and new outlook. It’s better to pretend to fire yourself before it happens for real. Now strategize! What would you do differently if you were fired and rehired for the same job? You can’t grow to greater success if you don’t look at your failures and change them.   Yes, my dad could have been a Jedi Knight because he motivated himself and others through mind games. Most of those mind games made him and others extremely successful. I thought he was crazy when I was younger. Now I try to do everything he taught me.   It’s better to pretend to fire yourself before it happens for real.   When people get comfortable, they can become lazy, which can lead to poor results. Poor results can eventually lead to one being fired. Don’t wait for that awkward and regrettable moment. I’ve never met anyone that enjoys losing. Go ahead and make that awkward firing moment happen on your terms. Write yourself a termination letter and put reasons behind it. Punch yourself in the gut(words not literally) and make it hurt so you can learn.   What would you do differently if you were fired and rehired for the same job?   It’s so important to motivate yourself to think about new strategies to prevent becoming comfortable. You want to drive in better results every year, but you don’t change anything. How is that working for you? Nothing changes if nothing changes! If you had a record-breaking year…good for you…now get over it. No one cares what you did yesterday, last year, or five years ago. Business is about what you produce month-over-month and year-over-year. People don’t get fired because they are growing. People get fired when they get lazy or stop taking initiative to learn. How can you continue to push yourself to prove to everyone you are not playing it safe? What must you do to grow your success?   ACTION ITEM: Take 15 minutes and make a strategic list. Make sure you put these strategies into practice by putting each one on your calendar.   You can’t grow to greater success if you don’t look at your failures and change them.   No Time Management Your day is chaos. You feel no control in your day. You feel like nothing ever gets done that you want. Poor Communication You hold people to expectations that you did not share with them. People don’t live in your head. Use your words! No routine Schedule your work duties, and don’t get distracted. Give yourself time to think. Make sure to take PTO and recharge your batteries. Boring Meetings No one is excited to be there. No conflict. Watching the minutes for it to end. Talk Too Much – Poor Listening Don’t dominate the conversation. Make sure you shut your mouth and open your ears to hear what others have to say. Show respect to others by listening. Too Many Excuses For Missing Deadlines Nothing is worse than a boss demanding deadlines but the boss lives by double standards. Get your work finished on time. Set the bar with your actions. No Humility Say the words “I’m sorry!” and “It’s my fault!” No one wants to follow a leader who is arrogant and full of pride. Lack of Passion Zap your heart and get excited about your work. No one wants to follow someone who is lukewarm or passive. No Accountability You need someone who will speak TRUTH into you. Make sure to ask others how you are doing and listen to their advice. Broken Trust With Failed Promises Let your YES be YES and your NO be NO. Follow through on your commitments, and show up in mind, body and spirit when you arrive. Need more?  Book us to speak at your next event, and we’ll light it up! Check out our YouTube and LinkedIn pages for more encouraging content.   If you’re looking to take your growth as a leader to the next level, we’ve got you covered. Join the Impact of Leadership Community today!