Communication is an extremely powerful tool, but what good is it if it is ineffective. The answer is it is not very good and it can be powerless. Everybody is not born with the best communication skill. Many people have to be taught how to communicate effectively, and so many people believe they are doing it well, but continue to feel unheard and misunderstood. These are 5 things you can do, starting today, to engage in more effective communication.

Learn to Listen

People think they are listening, but they are not. They are simply waiting for the person to stop speaking so they can continue. That is not listening. Once you learn to truly listen it will help the way you respond to what they are saying and provide more effective communication.

Speak Clearly and Concisely

Be clear in your thoughts, and get to the point. This will help the person listening to you understand what you are communicating. If you struggle to articulate the thoughts that are in your brain, practice saying what it is you are trying to communicate, and after some training, you will be able to communicate those thoughts in a concise and clear manner.

Tone and Body Language

Nonverbal communication makes up for about 80% of total communication, so your body language is very important to effective communication. If you are saying you are happy, but you are using a monotone, your face is frowned and your shoulders are slumped, what you are saying and what you are expressing are communicating to different things.

Never Assume

Never assume you know what the person is communicating. If it is not clear say so, or ask additional questions.

Consider Technology

Technology has added another level to communication and the chance it could be completely misunderstood especially with emojis and short-hand text messages. Consider that the way in which you are reading, or even hearing, something is not the spirit in which it was sent.

The more effectively you can communicate, the more understanding and successfulness you will receive out of your conversations, both personally and professionally.