The key to exceptional communication is to understand who you are talking to. Each person you communicate with is different in background and personality, but they also have a unique relationship with you. Compare your best friend and your boss. They both play an essential role in your life and are people you communicate with regularly. However, you can be more casual and less guarded with your best friend. Your boss, on the other hand, has certain expectations of you and expects a certain level of professionalism at all times.

Understanding this difference is called knowing your audience, and it can be an incredibly helpful exercise when it comes to improved communication. Before you start talking to someone, examine what their relationship is to you. If they are family or friends, you can probably be freer and say what’s on your mind. However, if they are a co-worker or stranger, you may want to keep your personal opinions to yourself and stick to the facts.

It is also essential to understand the communication style of the person you are speaking too. If they do not enjoy talking, do not try to convert them. Respect this fact and always try to get straight to the point. If you are speaking to someone who is notoriously busy, it may be helpful to organize your thoughts before speaking to them. This will show you respect their time and improve your relationship with them.

Lastly, when it comes to voicing opinions, complaints, and concerns, it’s key to remember there is a time and place for everything. If you are in a team meeting with a lot to cover, your boss expects you to deliver your updates quickly to ensure everyone gets a turn. It’s advisable to wait until you are speaking in a private setting to voice these issues. When you do, remember to back everything up with facts and try and leave emotion out of it.