Speakers must learn to articulate their message in a way the listener can understand, delivering it in a manner that is consistent with the message itself. Serious issues are best delivered in a serious tone, but with regard to the known or potential reaction of the listener. The reaction of the listener to both good or bad news can be directly controlled by the speaker, as long as the word choice and delivery are carefully considered. One part of effective speaking is knowing your listeners and how they may react, or delivering your message in a generic fashion if the listeners are not known.
Active listening is practiced by both the speaker and listener in effective communication. Active listening on the listener's part involves eye contact, nods, gestures and brief comments to show understanding. On the speaker's part, these gestures and comments are clues to the listener's reaction and comprehension. If the listener seems confused, the speaker may re-evaluate the wording or delivery of the message, and listeners must take it upon themselves to ask questions, validate what is being said and provide input if necessary.