There are more ways to communicate now than ever before and it is only going to increase. That doesn’t necessarily mean people are communicating more effectively. Through putting my foot in my mouth several hundred thousand times I hope to save you some pain and some time. I hope that my lessons learned can be your problems avoided. Effective communication starts by listening, but also includes perceiving your audience correctly. Knowing your audience is as crucial as knowing what you want to say and why you want to say it and how you should say it. To effectively communicate sometimes we must say what we are not saying, so people can understand what we are saying. Also sometimes stating why you are saying what you are saying brings further clarity. Doing so can help build trust with your audience if they perceive that you are sincere in your motives and true in your content. Another thing to remember in your communication is to be gentle in tone but clear in your content. If there is any room to be misunderstood the communication was not effective or the audience was not attentive. Be inclusive when you talk and talk to people, not at them. People will be attentive as long as you are interesting. Remember to be clear and concise. After you have said what is necessary you must become observant to see if the listeners heard and understood what you have just stated. Sometimes to restate what you are saying in a different way is also very helpful. Here is an example of an initial statement, “the best way to protect your future is to guard your heart today.” Here is a similar reiteration, “the most strategic thing you can do for your future is guard your heart in the present.” Saying the same thing with different words increases the retention rate of your listeners. If they know and feel that you care they will pay attention and learn. They will learn as much as you care. So keeping caring and sharing so others can learn and grow.