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CVC Communication Guidelines

Communication Value:
Maintaining appropriate systems for the open sharing of information

Communication Process Model

Effective Communication is honest, clear, accurate, complete, informative, concise, open, timely, and engaging.

Noise from the Environment

Sender Message Media Receiver

Noise from the Environment & Feedback

The Sender: the message originates from and is encoded by the sender, who must be clearly identified to the intended audience.

The Media: this is the method by which the message will be delivered or the communication channel that will be used to transmit the message.

The Receiver: the person(s) who decodes, reads, hears, or sees and processes the information.

Noise from the environment: any interference that stems from competing messages, a lack of clarity in the message or a flaw in the channel, and it poses a problem for all communication channels. Noise can be internal or external: psychological, physiological, or physical.

Feedback: communication is not complete unless feedback is received.

Guidelines for Interpersonal communication

Good communication is deliberate. Become more aware of yourself as a communicator. Delivering the message is only the first step; find ways for messages to be received well.

Think before speaking, especially when you disagree with someone. Voice, tone, pitch, speed, and volume are laden with emotion.

Pay attention to your body language: Non-verbal communication can be more significant than verbal communication, especially when emotions are involved or when individuals of different cultures, genders, or backgrounds interact.

Be aware of the barriers that impact or undermine good communication (emotional, physical,and cultural). Eye contact is important.

Be direct and honest, allowing the receiver to walk away with dignity. It builds trust and respect.

Show respect for other's point of view. Welcome feedback from others.

Make sure that the message is clear and easily understood. This may require active questioning and repetitive feedback. Just because it's clear to you doesn't mean that it is clear to the receiver(s).

Communicate in multiple ways and use the appropriate channel to transmit the message. Be it verbal or visual or both, the most important facet of encoding is not what is sent but rather what is received.

Allow for a feedback loop. The feedback loop allows the receiver to communicate with the sender and thereby informs the sender whether the message was received and decoded properly. Communication does not occur when it is one-sided. Without feedback, communication has not taken place and unintentional miscommunication can occur.

Guidelines for Communication in Work Groups:

Communicate, document, and share important information in multiple ways (meeting notes, email, phone, and in-person discussions).

Assign names and tentative deadlines to every task so that accountability is clearly defined and follow-up can occur.

Keep the big picture in mind and what's most important (the students and the college as a whole); don't sweat the small stuff.

Follow the email etiquette guidelines and be cautious in using mass "CVC" emails for personal commendations, opinions, or non-work related commentary.

When you have a concern with an individual or work group, talk with them first before sending an email to a larger group. Most problems are best clarified and solved with the individuals involved.

Take the time to investigate before you reach a conclusion or criticize a work group or committee. Allow others to finish their explanations before jumping to conclusions. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Recognize that they are many right ways of accomplishing work and many ways of looking at problems and solutions. Respect that others may have a unique perspective that would be helpful.

Keep meetings as informative, focused, and brief as possible.

CVC Meeting Ground Rules

The Purpose for Ground Rules

Establish written rules about what behaviors are acceptable and what behaviors are not acceptable for group members to demonstrate in order to prevent misunderstandings or disagreements and to manage meetings effectively.

Examples of Ground Rules to Consider

Participants are expected to attend all scheduled meetings.

If you cannot attend a meeting, agree to support decisions made by the rest of the team (submit thoughts or suggestions ahead of time).

Meetings will start and end on time.

Participants are expected to arrive on time.

Cell phones on silent (minimize outside interruptions).

All meetings will have an agenda. Agenda and any additional material should be distributed ahead of the meeting.

Confidential information will remain "confidential."

Please break as needed and re-join the meeting as soon as possible.

Only one person talking at a time (no side bar discussions while others are talking).

Practice active listening and do not interrupt each other.

Keep discussion on topic, and focused (avoid sidetracking).

Questions, ideas, and thoughts are shared with the whole team.

Respect each other.

Don't shoot down ideas – be open.

No finger pointing - address the process, not the individual.

Summarize decisions and assignments (include a timeline and distribute to all).

Cedar Valley College
Best Practices for Electronic Mail

In today's world of advancing technology, electronic mail or email has become a major source for communicating. This is due in part to the swift speed of message delivery and the informal nature of this communication style. However, we must not forget that email, like traditional written correspondence, is a permanent media and should apply the same rules.

There are many etiquette guides and many different etiquette rules. Some rules will differ according to the nature of the business and the corporate culture. "Netiquette" is a term that has been coined to define proper email and online etiquette.

First, decide if email is the appropriate method for communicating the message. When the information communicated is complex in nature, email may not be the best vehicle. If the message has the potential to create a need for further discussion, the best method of delivery may be face-to-face or by telephone.

If it is determined that email is the best method, follow these simple guidelines:

Guidelines for email Etiquette:

  1. Be concise and to the point - Do not make an email longer than it needs to be. Remember that reading an email is harder than reading printed communications and a long email can be very discouraging to read. An email reply should answer all questions, and pre-empt further questions. In addition, the subject line should be descriptive of the content.
  2. Use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation -This is not only important because improper spelling, grammar, and punctuation give a bad impression of your institution; it is also important for conveying the message properly. In addition, it is considered rude to type a message using all capital letters.
  3. Answer swiftly - emails are sent for swift responses. If the response can wait, it should be sent in the form of a letter or fax. Responding before the end of the next working day is suggested. Even if you only have time to send a brief acknowledgement, doing so removes any doubt in the mind of the sender that the message was received.
  4. Do not overuse URGENT or HIGH PRIORITY - Like the boy who cried "Wolf," overuse of this status will lose the effectiveness when you really need it.
  5. Read your email before you press SEND - Many times we press the send key without proofing our emails to determine how it will be interpreted by the receiver or checking for errors. Experts also advise waiting to fill in the "to" email address to avoid sending the message prematurely. These extra steps can save much frustration and the need to send further emails for clarification.
  6. Never send email when you are angry - email lacks communication clues such as facial expressions and body language and can be easily misunderstood. Face-to-face communication is always best in cases where conflict may arise.
  7. Avoid REPLY TO ALL unless necessary to do so – Unless the message transmitted is strictly for the purpose of informing, in most cases, an email that results in a response to all parties indicates that further conversation may be needed. In that case, the email conversation should be taken offline and handled face to face with the sender of the message.
  8. Exercise caution when sending unsolicited emails – Before sending unsolicited emails, make sure that there is value to the recipient. If you don't, the recipient may very well consider it SPAM and delete it. Gain permission or at least insure the receivers' notification of anticipated delivery. Remember, chain letters and spam are often the culprits for potential viruses.
  9. Keep your inbox clean – emails occupy a lot of space on servers. It is a good practice to regularly review your inbox to make sure that any emails requiring action have been handled and then filed in a separate folder or deleted.
  10. Nothing is private – Never forget that there is no such thing as a private email. emails are considered public information and as such, can be subpoenaed in a court of law. Before you click "send," consider the consequences of what may happen if the message is read by someone else. Never send personal or confidential emails including messages that disclose issues related to the personal health of individuals.

Rules regarding privacy of information can be found at the following link:


Specific information regarding e-mail guidelines for employees of DCCCD can be found at the following link:


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Page Modified: 2/20/2014 10:17 AM