Effective communication is vital for success in business and in personal interactions. Understanding how to convey the right message each time is critical, and becoming adept at communicating is a soft skill that many people have to work hard to perfect. The value of effective communication cannot be understated and can mean the difference between a long-lasting relationship and one that flounders before it starts.

Add Value

One way to communicate well is to add value to the conversation. When you are speaking are you delivering the information your receiver needs? Are you asking the right questions that probe deeply into the subject so that you both receive full understanding? Are you listening to the meaning behind the words? When you communicate, it is important to make every word count.

Listen for Understanding

One of the best ways to become an adept communicator is to listen to understand instead of listening to respond. Most people listen to only portions of a conversation and fill in the gaps with their own interpretations. Being an effective communicator means listening to the full content of the conversation, taking your speaker’s words at face value, and allowing the meaning to sink in before formulating a response.

Lean on Your Strengths

Maybe speaking is your strong suit. The thought of standing up to give a presentation excites you. Perhaps you find the prospect of speaking in front of a crowd terrifying but have no problem creating a visual aid like a slideshow or a video. Maybe you can’t always find the words in conversation but you can deliver a powerful message in your writing.

Build Trust

The more you communicate with others, the more likely you are to make errors that can change the meaning of what you are trying to convey. People are more forgiving of people that they trust, and you can build this trust by carrying through with your promises to your clients consistently over time. When you do make an error, your receiver is more likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.

When it comes to communicating effectively, you don’t need to be perfect. You simply have to communicate in a way your receiver can understand your message, build trust and practice active listening. Effective communication is a skill that is built over years of practice but is one that anyone can learn with the right effort.