Effective communication involves a whole lot more than just exchanging information between parties. It's about having a clear understanding of the emotion and intention behind sharing information. There's no recipe for becoming a great communicator, but being an active listener is a great way to start. In conversations we often listen to respond instead of listening to understand. Other times, we're not listening at all and we're distracted. Participating in engaged listening is how you pick up on intonations and emotions in the other person's voice when they're communicating. When you do this, you're better able to understand the other person and they'll feel understood. Being able to verbally convey your message is the second half of communication. The most effective way to communicate is by being assertive. Being an assertive communicator doesn't mean being aggressive and hostile, but being open, honest, and direct in how you share your thoughts and emotions.