• Critiquing your performance. Set up a camera in the corner the next time you give a presentation or hold a meeting.
"Most people have no idea how they really come across," he says. Decker says one executive he coached was shocked by how he led meetings when he saw his videotape; he made changes.
Decker also suggests taping phone conferences or even listening to your own voice mail to judge for things like energy, friendliness or clarity of speech. Don't worry about a regional or international accent as long as you can be clearly understood.
"Accents add character," he says.
• Using more face-to-face interactions. Email and phone calls are a vital part of any business, but human interactions make a real difference, Decker says.
If you can't meet in person, use online tools such as webcams, he says.
"Get your face in front of people any way you can," he says. "You have to connect emotionally with people, and you can't do that through email or conference calls."
• Adding variety. Any conversation should have what Decker refers to as an "ebb and flow."
Even the most serious conversation should have some lighthearted moments to release tension in your listeners.
"People have to like you. You want them to appreciate you and like being in the room with you," he says. Telling relevant stories is a great way to engage listeners.
• Eliminating bad habits. Don't fall into the habit of saying "uh" or "like" or "actually" too much or you'll start to lose your audience, he says.
"Don't be afraid of pausing," he says. "It shows confidence." Decker also advises eliminating cliches such as "at the end of the day."
What are some other ways to improve communication?