When asked what advice he would give to new college graduates, Warren Buffet, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway,Ome simply replied, “Invest in yourself.” He went on to say, “The one easy way to become worth 50 percent more than you are now, at least, is to hone your communication skills–both written and verbal.”

With the rise in employees working remotely, often in different time zones, and the escalating use of electronic communications tools in the office, being an ineffective communicator can influence the effectiveness of other employees, along with how they are perceived by their peers.

How can you follow Buffet’s advice and invest in your communications skills? Justin Bariso, author at EQ, Applied, shares four tips to improve your communication skills, which we’ll include in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

Listen first. Remember that communication is a two-way street and showing humility and a willingness to learn makes colleagues, clients and prospects feel they are valued. Ask for their options and perspectives and then pay attention while they are speaking, allows them to say what’s on their mind and to feel comfortable doing so. You don’t want to interrupt the flow of a potentially groundbreaking idea by not devoting your full attention, or by interrupting the employee with your own suggestions. Let them finish, then provide your constructive feedback.

It’s not only what you say; it’s also how you say it. Showing respect when communicating with others intensifies the power of your message. Addressing other people by their names, acknowledging their viewpoints, asking questions and gaining a full understanding of the context before jumping to conclusions seeds dignity in the communication and makes it more likely that others will listen to— and believe in— what you have to say.

Think before you speak (or write, text or e-mail). Business moves quickly today, and technology makes it possible to respond instantly. Unfortunately, this instant communication can cause people to respond out of emotion, without giving their message enough thought. Unless the message you’re sending is extremely urgent, take time to think about what you’re writing and the potential effect, and make sure your communication is both effective and aligns with your principles and values.

Strive for clarity. Rarely is the first draft perfect, especially if the subject is complex. Speaking face-to-face or via phone is often more effective than written communication because of the ability to interpret facial expressions and gestures, and to ask follow-up questions as needed. When you get around to responding via e-mail or text, always look over the first draft to ensure your message is as concise, clear and authentic as it can be.

Source: Justin Bariso is an author at EQ, Applied, a columnist for Inc. Magazine, a principle at INSIGHT, an advisory board member for Frontdoor and a top voice for LinkedIn. Bariso helps organizations think differently and communicate effectively.