Strong written and verbal skills are a must in today’s business world. Communication is the wellspring of an effectively run business. Even a small miscommunication can mean the loss of productivity, time or business. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Concision. Keep messages brief. Brevity and clarity in memos, emails or presentations will lessen confusion between you and your clients or coworkers.

Tone. Adopt a voice that represents your business and persona. Speak in a way that is respectful to your audience. It is important to convey intelligible messages without sounding pretentious.

Style. Different mediums call for different styles of communication. Don’t write an email, blog post and business presentation in the same voice. Learn how to differentiate your message for each medium.

Timing. Communicate in a timely manner. Reply to messages and voicemails promptly. If you leave a large window of time between communications, you risk creating uncertainty, which can reflect poorly on yourself or your business.

Listen. Don’t forget to listen. What is it exactly that your client or coworker wants? Messages that become lost in translation can hurt productivity. Plus, it looks bad when you do something other than what was asked of you. Be sure to show interest and avoid interrupting the speaker.