Writing Grit: The 5 Cs of Good CommunicationsteemCreated with Sketch.

in writing •  last year

Steemit is a communication channel. Whether we're writing blog posts, creating videos, or describing photos and images, our intent is the same: to share our message with others. But how do we make sure we're putting our time and effort to good use and communicating effectively?

By ensuring our content reflects the five Cs of good communication: clear, correct, concise, consistent and complete.

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Clear

This is arguably the most important of the five Cs, because if your audience can't understand what you're trying to tell them -- or worse, they misunderstand -- then you've wasted both your time and theirs.

The best way to ensure that your message is clear is to have someone from your target audience read it over. For example, if you're trying to explain cryptocurrency to the average Joe, then you're test reader probably shouldn't be a cryptocurrency expert who understands the jargon and can read in between the lines. No, your test reader should be an average Joe, with little to no experience or knowledge of the subject at hand. If you're message is clear to them, then it will be clear to your target audience.

Correct

This is the second most important thing you should check for when reviewing your writing. And yes, you should always review your work before you hit 'publish' -- even if you only have a few minutes time. Depending on the type of content you're creating, a serious error can cost you time and money, or do irreparable damage to your reputation.

However, even small errors like spelling and grammar mistakes can have a negative impact on your credibility. People notice these things; they love to find them and point them out. The few minutes it takes to read over your work -- don't just rely on spell check -- and ensure that it's correct is well worth it.

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Concise

Mark Twain famously wrote, “I apologize for writing you a long letter. I didn’t have time to write you a short one.”

Without context, some might find this quote confusing. Twain isn't comparing writing a short story to a novel, or a news article to a thesis paper. He's remarking on the time and effort required to clean up your writing and remove any extraneous details that muddy your message.

So whether you're writing a book or a Steemit post, every word, every sentence, should serve a purpose. If they don't, then you must cut them. This is what writers mean when they advise you to "kill your babies." It doesn't matter how beautifully written a sentence or paragraph is, if it doesn't drive your story forward, it needs to go.

Consistent

Consistency and clarity go hand in hand. In terms of word choice, while you don't want your writing to sound repetitive, you also don't want to distract your readers by using multiple words or phrases to describe the same thing. Focus on one meaning per word and one word per meaning.

Visual consistency is also important. Headings, font, capitalization, numbers, lists, hyphenation -- these things can serve to distract the reader when applied haphazardly to the text. But when applied consistently, they bring visual order to your content and make it much easier for your reader to consume and comprehend.

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Complete

This last point is largely subjective; there's always something more we can add or say about a particular topic. You don't want to go on ad infinitum, but you do want to make sure that you've covered your key points and answered any obvious questions your reader might have, or at least pointed them to where they can find those answers. A good way to check for completeness is to confirm that you've answered the five Ws -- who, what, where, when and why -- as well as how.

Many writers have added other C words to the mix, such as creative, connected, or credible. However, in my experience as an editor, I've found that the five Cs listed above make up the core of good communication; if you've covered all of these, then you're off to a great start.

If you enjoyed this post, please resteem, upvote and, of course, follow @redhens. Here are a few other posts you might enjoy:

Writing Grit series:

RedHens Writing Advice video series:

General interest:

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Great post, and something I wish for all internet users to read and learn from. Upvoted, resteemed, and following! Thank you, @redhens!

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Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And I followed you as well. 🙂

A well-placed colon in the title is practically worth an upvote all on its own. ;) Thanks for sharing these writing strategies!

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I was worried that I would hit 'publish' and find multiple errors. So far, no one has pointed any out to me. 🤞

Great advice. Thanks!

Amazing advice! Thank you so much for sharing :) I'll think it through very carefully for my next post! Upvoted and followed, looking forward to reading more from you.

I have to say I disagree with you here Trilby on the issue of Steemit writing. On the novel side, fine. When I buy a book I want it to be word perfect.

Steemit is more chatic. Mistkes are everwhere but people are ATTACKING WORDS here wit a pasion! I'd rather see that here than pefect spelling everyime with no original content.

I've seen 100's of badly spelt posts that do very well on here because they are spoken from the heart. Would we labour the rules of grammar to these people? Would this blunt their passion for the keyboard?

On here its deffo horses for courses, but in the world of novels we must all comply by the rules if we wish to be published and succed.

ATTACKS THOSE WORDS @redhens!! MH.<3

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We can agree to disagree. I'm not saying that a Steemit post can't go up until it's perfect, but I think people should at least take the time to read it over once and correct any glaring errors before they publish. If it's worth my time to read it, then it should be worth their time to do that.

Now, if English isn't someone's first language, that's different.

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You know I like to challenge ya Trilby ;) Yeah, not all Steemians have the grammar skills of a @redhens or a @mindhunter on here, but there are plenty of open hearts that wish to attack words on Stemit otherwise.

I did an article on preferring orignal splling mistaked wrk over non-orignal sterile work. @battleaxe is a perfect example. She loves to attack the page and I love her work despite her erroneous ways.

Hearts on sleeves and emotional connections lie beyond the rules of grammar on here ... here things are a little more chaotic and disorderly.MH<3 [Heart on sleeve with mistakes!]

Apologies I had to come back to upvote and RS this post! I forgot! Yes, every Steemian should aspire to be a better writer in the end, but always remember that originality does not look at formats and all of that ;)

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That's true. I would never want someone to stop writing because they're afraid of making a mistake. But I'd also hate for readers to miss out on someone's brilliant idea because they find it hard to read or understand. Just reading a post over out loud is a really easy way to catch things that don't sound quite right or quite how you intended, and it only takes a few minutes of time. 🙂

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If you allow a more pluralistic view of Steemit Trilby, then the ideas will come to you no matter how badly they are written - that is my experience on here.
P.S. We must be on the same wavelength, as I also read my posts aloud before posting. It would be good to chat offline one day about what you think of my writing and what I think of yours - away from the glare of Steemit. I'll maybe send you a fb request one day if I can ever get near it! LOL!

good information

I loved this! I got to bring your post up at the end of this weeks @steemittalk podcast episode. :)

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Thanks! I'll check it out.