Use the following methods to improve your interpersonal interactions. After all, what is more important than having your business colleagues want to hear you, respond to you, and even quote you?

1. Be specific.

Did you know our attention span is even less than that of a goldfish. Kind of scary. We used to be able to keep our attention on a subject for 12 seconds. Now we are down to eight before our minds wander to the next new, shiny idea. Cut to the chase. When you are giving a speech or leading a meeting, first decide what the one main concept is you want everyone to leave with. Then make it into a sentence of no more than nine words.

2. Be personal.

Tell a short story (no more than 50 words) about the "why" of what you are doing. After the why you can tell the how and the what. Why works wonders for guiding people to stay with you and support you fully.

3. Listen and ask.

We all grew up being told what to do, when to do it, and often, how to do it. So if you are a "teller," know you will be only mildly listened to. No lecture, no monologue. Find ways to create an interactive dialogue and ask for suggestions. No, you don't have to take the suggestions. Yes, you do have to listen with respect.

4. Interpret.

That's right. Listen for the silences, for what is not said. Bring these often uncomfortable issues to light and even if you are also uncomfortable, simply ask for the elephant in the room to come forward. Then just wait. There will be both relief and appreciation that you have the courage to stand for the truth that is ready to emerge.

5. It's not about you. 

Nope, not really about you, your opinions, your problems, your possibilities. It's about them. It's about meeting their needs and helping to fulfill their hopes while adding value to what matters to them. Remember, meet people where they are NOT where you want them to be.

If you want successful communication, you need to work on asking yourself if you want to be respected, appreciated, loved, or challenged. This is where most of the hard work of communication goes internal. You need to check your ego. If you need to be right all the time, you will lose. If you need to be loved all the time, you will lose. The hardest part of powerful communication is saying what you mean and then doing what you say without the fanfare of being told how great you are.

Communication is really taking who you are on the inside and showing the inner you to the world.