How many times have you caught yourself saying, “But I thought you said…”? We spend so much of our time in our jobs communicating in one way or another, so it is easy to take for granted that communication is simple.

Sometimes we are precise and sometimes we are not, but a minor confusion can cause mistrust or at worse end a working relationship. With so much hanging on our exchanges it is important to get it right every time. So, how do you go about getting others to not only hear what you are saying but also understand?

Whether you are presenting, writing or speaking, as the one communicating, you need to make sure that you work through the clutter to grab your audience’s attention and keep it.

If you are presenting, keep you monologues short. If you are writing, define the structure, create concrete points and fresh starts to your sentences. And if you are speaking, create emphasis in your tone and highlight your points. Remember, people cannot or will not concentrate for long periods of time so make sure that you make your points are short, clear and as concise as possible.

And above all, don’t make assumptions. Take responsibility for your communication, make sure that you get input back and clarify any uncertain points. This will ensure that you are both being heard and understood.