Being a great leader and doing great work are important, but to be truly successful you need to know how to be a great communicator.

What makes one person better at it than another is often a matter of a few little-known communication skills. Here are the 12 most valuable ones.

1. Connect with yourself.

To be a great communicator you must first know who you are and have confidence in yourself and your ability to connect with others.

2. Speak with sincerity.

Nothing is more effective than being sincere when you communicate, and nothing is more important. Sincerity is the cornerstone for making a connection.

3. Be consistent.

Live your message and practice what you preach -- you'll have a wider reach and can carry more influence. Your credibility comes from your consistency of character.

4. Meet people halfway.

When you communicate you naturally want people to understand what you're saying, but true communication involves meeting others halfway. You should be learning from others, not just talking at them.

5. Truly listen.

Make a point of listening to what the other person is saying. It not only gives you more insight into whatever's being discussed, it also shows respect and builds connection.

6. Look beyond the words.

Don't spend your time mentally preparing your next response. Instead, ask questions for clarification and to make certain you thoroughly understand what the other person is trying to say.

7. Show respect.

Everyone, no matter what position or role they're in, deserves to be treated with respect. By being respectful you will set the tone of what your leadership is about and how you like to be spoken to. Respect begets respect.

8. Connect to identify.

Try to genuinely connect with others and find a way to relate to them. Working with others is an effective way to develop a greater understanding.

9. Know how to ask.

One of the most effective forms of communication is to ask questions. The ability to ask skillful questions and listen carefully to the responses is a huge factor in being a great communicator.

10. Be genuine in your interest.

It is one thing to communicate with people because you believe you have something to say, but it's even better to communicate with them because you believe they have something to say.

11. Mind your unspoken language.

Your posture and tone of voice can also play a part in what you say. Our body speaks louder than our words, and sometimes can convey a message that we don't intend to communicate.

12. Two-way traffic only.

Communication should never be a monologue. The best leaders create a dialogue by listening and inviting others to express themselves.

When you adhere to the secrets of communication of great leaders you can begin to develop strong relationships, gather important information, and increase your understanding of yourself and those around you.