Recently, I read a great article about the six basic principles of effective communications which offered advice on how businesses could build happier and more effective client-consultant relationships. It got me thinking about the principles of good communications in the context of Africa, and how businesses can better deliver information, thoughts or ideas to their audiences by applying a few, simple principles:

1. Completeness — Have you ever heard of the saying, “those who fail to prepare; prepare to fail”? Well, preparation is potentially the most important element to presenting a complete picture to your client. A complete picture will tell you “Who, What, Where, When, & How?” and keep you one step ahead of the Client.

2. Conciseness — Get to the point, and make your words count. I’ve experienced clients that do not want to waste time and get to the gist of the topic. A concise message will save you time, effort, and money for both you and the client.

3. Consideration — Put yourself in your client’s place and visualize their desires, problems, and potential reactions to your messages. The adapt your language and content to your client’s needs.

4. Concreteness — there’s nothing worse than being vague or generalizing; concrete communication means being specific, definite, and vivid, using facts and figures to convey the message.

5. Clarity – it’s about keeping it basic, and using short, familiar words to get your message across to your client in a way that they will understand. Sometimes this means walking them through each point or step. Sometimes where your words may fail, visual aids or illustrations may help. Oddly enough, storytelling is a great way to give context and connect with your Client in a powerful way.

6. Correctness — It’s more than just grammar & spelling; it’s about knowing when to be formal or not, as not to insult or lose your customer.

7. Courtesy — being courteous is more than just being polite. It is about being tactful, thoughtful, and appreciative; and not to belittling, irritating, or hurtful towards the client. Good communication is a combination of better prep, anticipation, and providing accurate, timely and relevant information in a way that your client will understand you as illustrated by the seven “C’s”.It’s more than just the way a user may experience your service; it’s about presenting a strong point of view and developing mutual understanding in order to arrive at a mutually beneficial solution.

Never underestimate the power of good communications — it helps you to deliver your ideas to your audience in order to achieve the outcome you want.

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