What Is “concreteness” in Communication?

“Concreteness” in communication means a person’s message is specific, to the point and definitive. It is the opposite of being vague or non-specific. Concrete communication is important in both personal and professional interactions to ensure the recipient of a message has a clear sense of the sender’s intent.

Offering facts and figures is one way to make a message more concrete. Rather than saying, “John isn’t the greatest at customer service,” for instance, a person might say, “John has the worst customer satisfaction rating in the division at just 84 percent.” The concrete facts in this example make it certain what John’s level of service is in terms of the ratings index.

The use of action verbs and vivid imagery also contribute to concreteness in messages. Saying, “You must deliver the package before 8 p.m. tonight,” is more concrete than saying, “delivering the package by 8 p.m. is an important element of success.”

In a work setting, concrete messages reduce the potential for uncertainty, confusion or misinterpretation. Specific, concrete directions from a boss, for instance, minimize the likelihood of employees failing to understand the tasks, standards and deadlines presented to them. In the same way, concrete messages from employees to supervisors regarding performance improve monitoring of ongoing progress.