Great communicators are highly respected and trusted. To them, it is very important to first build relationships--both personal and professional--as a way to create successful communication. Great communicators appreciate all their relationships and all the interactions they have. They are successful people who become the go-to source for other people within an organization.

One of the advantages that great communicators have is the big opportunity to get promoted and recognized in their careers more frequently as a result of their great communication competencies. Below are five successful practices of great communicators:

1. They know what they are talking about

Great communicators are competent and have vast knowledge about their areas of expertise. They are prepared to show people that their communication is valuable. Great communicators appreciate the time people spend listening to them and interacting with them. Great communicators understand that people won't listen--nor respect them--if they don't know what they are talking about. They place high value on providing effective and authentic communication because they want to keep an environment of respect and engagement.

2. They listen more than they speak

Great communicators listen more than they speak. They won't dominate a discussion or a presentation. Great communicators frequently ask questions to give people an opportunity to share their knowledge and express their opinions. Great communicators give themselves permission to listen to others; in this way, they understand what people are thinking. They know how to balance speaking and listening effectively. This makes people feel that what they say truly matters.

3. They focus on understanding what people say

Great communicators don't spend time preparing brilliant answers in mind when someone is speaking. Instead, great communicators ask questions to clarify things and to make sure that people understand what others are saying. Great communicators focus intensely on understanding what people are communicating; otherwise, they find themselves arguing and losing focus. They continually check their understanding to avoid miscommunications, misunderstandings, and assumptions.

4. They pay attention to nonverbal communication

Great communicators are aware that what people say isn't the most important thing in their communication. Great communications acknowledge the power of nonverbal communication and keep an eye on the tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions of people. Great communicators know that nonverbal communication speaks louder than verbal communication; they listen with their eyes and ears, and pay attention to people's posture, hand movements, and eye contact because these also send very powerful messages.

5. They are aware of misunderstandings

Great communicators realize that in any communication the room for misunderstanding is always present. Great communicators watch differences in patterns (how a person usually reacts), inconsistencies (different reactions from a person), and consistencies (the expected from a person.) Great communicators also watch for alignment of words, message, tone of voice, and body language. If any of these verbal and nonverbal communication aspects lack consistency, communication becomes a disaster. This is generally an overlooked factor that can be easily prevented.