9 Essential Principles of Effective Communication You Need to Know

Effective communication is a crucial skill that impacts nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives. Therefore the ability to communicate effectively is essential and in this blog, we will explore the 12 principles of effective communication along with their examples, importance, and how they can help our everyday communication.

What is Effective Communication? 

When a message or information between two or more people is successfully delivered, received, and understood in the same context, it is called effective communication.

The goal of effective communication is to ensure that the intended message is communicated without any differences between the sender and receiver. It builds relationships that are open, honest, and cooperative. 

12 Principles of Effective Communication

There are 12 basic principles of effective communication that help develop a good message and its smooth transmission. These principles are:

1) Principle of Clarity: 

The message or information that needs to be communicated should be clearly explained or worded by the sender. The thought behind the message should also be clear. The clarity in the sender’s mind and execution of the message ensures that the receiver gets the exact message that is intended, eventually resulting in effective communication. 

2) Principle of Feedback:

Feedback is the soul of communication that marks its completion. To ensure successful communication, the sender needs to ensure that the receiver has understood the message in the intended way. The benefits of feedback in communication are that it clears any misunderstandings and helps in the process of effective decision-making. 

3) Principle of Timeliness: 

Communication serves a valid meaning only till it is executed on time. Any delay in the communication process makes it useless and may affect future courses of action in some cases. This principle states that there may be no impact on effective communication if the receiver doesn’t receive the message on time.

4) Principle of Active Listening and Attention: 

Achieving communication effectiveness includes efforts from the receiver as well. The receiver needs to listen actively to understand a message effectively. A lack of active listening may lead to wrong interpretations of the message. 

5) Principle of Knowing Your Audience: 

One of the most important principles of good communication is to know the audience while framing a message. The knowledge could be the background, language preference, education level, or the receiver’s age. All these aspects would influence the construction, flow, and tone of the message. Ignoring these aspects may lead to the receiver not understanding the message, eventually resulting in ineffective communication. 

6) Principle of Objective: 

Objectivity is one of the most essential principles of communication. As there should always be a goal or objective behind sending a message or information to the receiver. Keeping in mind the end goal needed to be achieved with a message, one can efficiently draft an appropriate message. Without a goal in mind, the communication topic would be lost. 

7) Principle of Framing & Organizing Your Message: 

Framing and organizing a message in the right way brings more clarity to communication. Framing a message effectively includes using the right sources to strengthen the message, correct usage of grammar and technical jargon, and using the right tone. Organizing a message for effective communication includes framing the pieces of information in the right flow. A wrongly organized message may change its meaning.

8) Principle of Medium & Suitable Environment:

This principle focuses on choosing the right medium and environment for a message or information. Depending on the depth and importance of a message, one of the mediums could be chosen- written or oral. The correct time and place should be chosen by keeping the receiver in mind to deliver a message effectively. 

9) Principle of Adequacy:

Adequacy is one of the most important essences of effective communication. This principle states that information should be complete in every manner for the receiver to understand a message. Details should neither be exaggerated nor too short. Depending on the receiver’s intelligence and understanding ability, the quantity of a message should be decided.    

The following three principles below are not a compulsion but can further enhance the effectiveness of communication

1) Principle of Consultation & Supportive Culture:

Proper consultation with the receiver while planning communication adds to a successful communication process. This helps receive better input from people when communication is to be done within a group. There should also be a supportive culture with mutual respect and coordination among people to make the communication process more effective. 

 2) Principle of Using an Appropriate Communication Tool:

There are numerous tools available today to execute communication. The sender should carefully choose the most appropriate tool for the message. Choosing the right tool helps in better transmission of the message and also gives the sender a chance to make the message more interesting or creative.   

3) Principle of Authenticity and Trust:

Without trust, no communication can prove to be useful. There needs to be trust between the sender and the receiver for each other as well as in the context of the message being shared. Along with mutual trust, communication should be authentic and believable. 

4S of Effective Communication

In an effective communication model, the communicator must follow the 4 S’s of effective communication – Shortness, Simplicity, Strength, and Sincerity. Here’s how each of them improves communication:


1) Shortness: The shorter a message is, the more effective the communication process could be executed. Long messages with unnecessary pretexts may affect communication and confuse the receiver which may delay the whole communication process.  

2) Simplicity: The ideas, concepts, and terms used in a message should be kept as simple as possible to bring overall clarity to the message and make it easier for the receiver to comprehend. 

3) Strength: For communication to be effective, one needs to strengthen it with a believable tone. The message should sound genuine and authentic for the receiver to believe it. 

4) Sincerity: A message should reflect the sincerity of the sender for improving the process of communication. A sincere approach toward the topic should be evident enough in the message. 

Effective communication examples

Sample of good effective communication: 

Subject: Request to Meet with You Regarding Sales Process – Please Respond
Dear Tom,

I’d like to meet with you, the sales team, and the marketing team this week to discuss the impact of the latest sales trends on the launch of Widget Super Deluxe.

Would you be available on Monday at 3pm for about an hour?

I spent some time with Joan this morning reviewing the numbers from last quarter’s sales results. I was concerned to see that there seems to be a downward trend in sales of the Widget Deluxe, which is significantly different from what we forecasted.

I think we should attempt to identify any possible issues with the sales and fulfillment process.

Source for the example

Sample of bad effective communication: 

Dear Tom,
I spent some time with Joan this morning reviewing the numbers from last quarter’s sales results. I was concerned to see that there seems to be a downward trend in sales of the Widget Deluxe, which is significantly different from what we forecasted.

I am concerned that this might have an impact on our launch of the Widget Super Deluxe planned for next quarter. I think we should meet with the marketing team and the sales team to see if we can identify any possible issues with the sales and fulfillment process that we could influence.

Would you let me know when you are available this week?

Source for the example

The 7 C’s to Communicate effectively 

Effective communication must observe certain guidelines for maximum efficiency. These guidelines are also known as the 7 C’s of Communication. They include the following:

1) Completeness: Completeness in effective communication means that a message or information should be complete in all forms to help the receiver understand it better. This includes adding all the required sources, details, and points. 

2) Conciseness: This refers to conveying a message in brevity. The information should be complete while using as minimum words as possible. 

3) Consideration: While framing a message, the sender should consider the receiver’s intellectual level, superiority, needs, and limitations. This helps develop a message that the receiver can easily comprehend. 

4) Concreteness: This quality refers to drafting a message in a definite and vivid way. The message should be to the point and unneeded details should be avoided.  

5) Clarity: Clarity in communication is important in the context of the message and its purpose. The message should be clear enough to transmit the same meaning as intended. 

6) Courtesy: Courtesy in the message implies showing a sense of kindness and politeness. This strengthens the relationship between the people involved and increases the chances of getting desired responses.  

7) Correctness: This quality in communication refers to framing a message with correct information. The message should be technically and grammatically correct along with the right tone and flow. 

Related Reading: 10 Principles of Business Communication With Examples & 7C’s

What is the Importance of Effective Communication in the Workplace? 

In a formal organization, effective communication helps in the clear transmission of messages and efficient time management. A well-defined communication model in the workplace achieves the following objectives:

  • Engagement: One of the most important objectives of effective communication is to increase engagement among employees in the workplace. Engagement and maintaining relationships are important for an improved workplace environment. 
  • Guide to actions: Effective communication works as a guideline for taking various actions and decisions at the workplace. It facilitates clarity in the objectives and goals of an organization. 
  • Morale-boosting: Good communication invites participation from employees and boosts their morale at personal as well as professional levels. 
  • Decreased conflicts: Effective communication on a regular basis decreases the chances of conflicts among various employees and departments, eventually leading to efficient working. 

What are the Characteristics of Effective Communication? 

There are various characteristics or qualities that a communication process should possess to make it effective. This includes:

1) Feedback: Feedback in communication makes it complete. It should be given on time and should be specific rather than general. 

2) Empathy: Effective communication requires the people involved to have a sense of empathy. Considering others’ situations and needs is essential to make communication successful. 

3) Modification: A piece of information might have varied levels of importance for different groups of people. For effective communication, one should be able to modify the message as per the specific audience that needs to be catered to. 

4) Multiple channels: Communication becomes effective when multiple channels and flows are used. Depending on the message, the medium should be decided and paired with the downward or upward flow of communication.  

How can Principles of Effective Communication enhance Communication Effectiveness?  

The 12 principles of effective communication discussed earlier are important to consider when communicating as they enhance communication effectiveness in multiple ways. This includes the following uses:

Helps in creating the base for an effective message: The objective of the messages needs to be understandable and useful for effective communication. Applying the principles of effective communication acts as the base for developing a clear message. 

Guidance in the process: Implementing all the principles of effective communication guides the sender and receiver in executing a successful communication process. 

Relationship building: Mutual trust, respect, and empathy are crucial for achieving communication effectiveness. Principles of effective communication help develop such a relationship between the sender and receiver- ultimately contributing to communication effectiveness. 

Clarity of goals & purpose: The fundamentals of effective communication help get clarity towards the goal of communication as well as the purpose behind it. This eventually helps the sender and the receiver in executing meaningful and effective communication. 

Principles of Written Communication

When it comes to written communication, there are specific principles that help make it effective. These principles include:

  • Minimal use of jargon: Jargon, meaning technical terms, should be avoided as much as possible in effective writing. These industry-specific terms should be used while keeping in mind the receiver’s level of intellect.
  • Accuracy: This refers to framing a written message which is grammatically accurate, and has the correct information along with its right flow.
  • Brevity: To take full advantage of written communication the message should be brief, direct, and to the point. Fewer words should be used to transmit more information and unnecessary points should be avoided. 
  • Coherency: A written message needs to have a logical flow of information for better understanding. The sentences and paragraphs should be connected with each other and the whole message should make sense altogether.
  • Usage of various elements: When framing a written message, the sender should make use of various elements to make it more interesting and readable. Common elements are bullet points, numbers, images, reports, charts, and more. 

Principles of Oral Communication

Just like written communication, oral communication can also be made effective by applying the principles of oral communication. They are:

  • Pronunciation: To make oral communication effective, one needs to ensure that the words in the message are spoken correctly. Words should be pronounced the right way to deliver the intended meaning. 
  • Knowledge of the subject: The sender needs to gain as much knowledge of the message as possible. One should know about the topic, its background, key points, facts, and figures to deliver a well-planned message.
  • Usage of voice: The speaker should know how and when to change their tone and volume of voice while communicating orally. This is one of the benefits of oral communication that allows the sender to use their voice to focus on the main points and deliver a message more clearly. 
  • Usage of gestures: Gestures help deliver an oral message with more emphasis and focus. The sender must know when and how to use hand gestures and facial expressions, along with the knowledge of when to stop. 
  • Knowledge of audience: Knowing the audience at the receiving end is important to frame the message effectively. The age, level of understanding, and interest of the audience in the topic matter when drafting a message. 

To know more check out our detailed guide on 12 key principles of oral communication

What are the Elements of the Communication Process?

There are nine elements of communication that make this process complete. They include the following:

Illustration example of nine elements of communication process.

1) Sender: Sender is the person who initiates the process of communication and is the source of information. 

2) Encoding: The medium used by the sender to share a message in the process is encoding. 

3) Message: Once the information is encoded, a message is developed by the sender. 

4) Channel/Media: Channel is the way in which the information is actually transmitted to the sender. 

5) Receiver: The person for whom the message is intended, is called the receiver in the communication process. 

6) Decoding: Decoding is the process wherein the receiver uses his intellect to comprehend a received message. 

7) Response: This is the stage where the receiver has understood the message. 

8) Feedback: This is the process of the receiver communicating back to the sender in the context of the received message. 

9) Noise: When unplanned, outside factors interfere in the process of communication and affect the message, it is called noise. 

Must Read: What are the 9 elements of communication and examples

Tips for Good Communication

The following tips can be beneficial in improving the quality of communication:

1) Right setting: To execute fairly good communication- the background, timing, and medium chosen is important. The right setting reduces noise and facilitates better transmission.

2) Active listening: Both the sender and the receiver need to be active listeners in the communication process. Active listening helps us understand each other’s opinions better and aids in decision-making. 

3) Use of silence: Taking pauses while communicating gives the receiver a chance to comprehend and gather their own thoughts. But it should be ensured that long pauses are avoided as silence for a long time may reflect a lack of confidence. 

4) Quality over quantity: For a successful communication process, messages or information should be good in quality over quantity. The message should be kept simple and short rather than lengthy and complicated.

5) Acknowledgment: Acknowledging each other’s ideas, opinions, feelings, as well as space builds the base for a good communication process. There should be mutual respect between the sender and receiver along with gestures that reflect kindness and empathy. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Q1) What are the 5 principles of effective communication? 

Ans: The 5 principles of effective communication are the principles of timeliness, clarity, feedback, active listening, and the principle of objective. Following these principles results in a successful and effective communication process. 

Q2) What are the three principles of effective communication? 

Ans: The three main principles of effective communication are the principle of knowing your audience, the principle of clarity, and the principle of authenticity and trust. These principles help build a clear message and the base for effective communication.

Q3) What are the barriers to communication? 

Ans: The barriers to communication can be physical, psychological, linguistic, cultural, or mechanical in nature. These barriers can hinder the process of effective communication at various stages. 

Aditya Soni

Aditya is the head of content at clearinfo and is responsible for improving the site's organic visibility. He is a certified SEO trainer and has worked with SaaS companies and startups to enhance their digital marketing presence. He is also an ahref fanboy. Click to connect with him on Twitter, and LinkedIn.  

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