Tucson, Arizona (NAPSI) - Experts agree that communication is key to success, no matter what your line of work. One of the first steps to becoming a better communicator is being more self-aware so that you can better understand the situation, your audience and your role in the conversation.

That’s the word according to Dr. Annie Shibata, faculty member inWaldenUniversity’s B.S. in Communication program. In order to become more conscious of what you are trying to communicate and how you are going about it, Dr. Shibata suggests reflecting on the following questions:

• What is my communication goal? Consider your short- and long-term goals as well as what action, information or commitment you want as a result of your communication--both now and in the future.

• Am I deliberate and conscious in how I communicate? Be conscious of both your oral and written communication. Remember, when speaking, it’s estimated that the total impact of a message is about 7 percent verbal (words only), 38 percent vocal (including tone of voice, inflection and other sounds) and 55 percent nonverbal.

• Do I know who my audience is? Try to be aware of various factors, such as cultural differences, that may exist within your audience and can play a role in how the message is received.

• Am I aware of my emotions when I communicate? Think about your emotions and how appropriate they are for the situation to determine if you’re prepared. In situations such as asking for a raise from your supervisor, it’s important to be clear and unemotional and focus on communicating what you’ve been doing well.

• What nonverbal message am I communicating? Consider how you sit or stand, your facial expressions and how you’re dressed. Most of the messages we send other people when communicating are nonverbal.

• Am I an honest communicator? Do you state your needs and desires clearly? Do you communicate with integrity? The answer to all of these should be “yes.”

• Am I listener focused? Do you often use slang, idioms, acronyms or technical jargon? Such language can exclude some or all of your audience. Be clear and concise in your communication and consider how the listener is following and understanding your message.

For more tips on becoming an effective communicator, visit