In any professional environment, clear communication is vital. Effective communication with co-workers, clients or superiors promotes a more productive workplace.

One big key to effective communication is being able to concisely deliver your message. If you’re writing, keeping your message short will help your reader absorb all your main points. The same goes for speaking—if you drone on for minutes on end, chances are whomever you’re talking to will stop listening. Too much information can get lost in translation.

Speed is also key. Speaking too quickly may undermine your message—your listener may miss something important. It’s also counterproductive if you have to repeat yourself. Slow down, if need be, and you’ll lower the chances of missed information or having to deliver your message more than once.

Effective communication doesn’t only involve what you say. It also requires listening to what others are saying and understanding their message so you can respond or act accordingly. Successful collaboration is difficult when those involved aren’t on the same page—the more you can listen and understand others, the greater chance you’ll have of accomplishing your goals.