In today’s digital world, effective online communication has become an essential skill for both personal and professional success. Working or going to school online has become more common than ever.
Navigating the world of social media, email, and video conferencing can be daunting, especially if you didn’t grow up with these tools. This shift to online platforms as remote work and virtual learning continue to become more prevalent, the importance of communication skills will only continue to increase.
Communicating online can be a bit tricky at times. You can’t rely on facial expressions and body language to convey your message, so it’s important to be mindful of your words and tone.
With these 4 easy tricks, you can master the art of online communication and communicate with confidence and ease. Whether you’re looking to connect with family and friends or collaborate with colleagues, these tips will help you make a lasting impression online.
Key Differences Between Online Work and Traditional Work
Whether you are a seasoned remote worker or distance education student or you about to start your first online job or class, you already know that working online is totally different than in-person.
Rather than seeing your colleagues, professors, or managers in person each day, you will have to make connections with them through Slack groups, discussion forums, emails, and live chat. This can be both good and bad.
The fact that you have the time to think before you respond makes offering ideas easier and less stressful. But, you also have to be careful how you come across in an online setting. It can be easy for misunderstandings to occur through written communication. Make sure you never rub anyone the wrong way, by improving your communication skills.
1. Respect People’s Time
Try to remember that other people have lives and obligations and be respectful of their time.
For example, professors have plenty of other courses to teach and students to communicate with, let alone personal lives to attend to. And your classmates are also most likely busy people with little time to spend helping you or chatting with you.
For remote jobs, keep the different time zones in mind when scheduling meetings. Better yet, could this meeting be an email instead?
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t reach out to ask questions or refrain from the friendly conversation, but always take a second to think about whether or not the specific question you are asking could be solved with a little effort on your part before you take up others’ time.
Related: 18 Easy Ways to Learn and Improve Your Interpersonal Skills
2. Be Polite and Professional
This is pretty obvious, but it can be easy to slip into a very informal mode of communication online. There is nothing wrong with using typical internet shorthand when chatting with coworkers and classmates, but make sure that you don’t take things too far. You need to stay professional.
Don’t assume you are friends with your professor or that you can address your peers in any way you choose. Begin emails with a proper salutation and keep things pleasant and respectful throughout. Then, modify your communication style depending on how they respond and the relationship develops.
Related: On Zoom? These 7 Facial Expressions Are Hurting Your Career
3. Proofread and Use Proper Grammar
Sure, there is nothing wrong with being a bit informal when you’re writing online, but make sure that what you write is actually coherent and sounds like it was written by a competent person.
Don’t use so many abbreviations that you sound incoherent or use acronyms like LOL and OMG to the extreme. In fact, avoid them when speaking with any executives or supervisors.
Do a spell check before you send out emails, use periods, and capitalize appropriately, and make sure to proofread before hitting that submit button. Taking the extra few minutes to review your messages will save you a lot of hassle.
4. Keep Your Personal Life Private
You will hopefully develop relationships and befriend some of your fellow classmates and teammates online. However, it is important to remember that everyone is here for a purpose – to work or to learn. Don’t start arguments or post unnecessary information about your personal life; this isn’t the time or the place for gossip or social drama. Instead, keep your online interactions professional and focused on the task at hand.
Online Communication Made Easy: 4 Habits to Enhance Your Digital Interactions
The digital age has brought us closer together than ever before, but it has also created new challenges that require us to develop new skills to thrive. With a little bit of effort and the right attitude, anyone can master the art of online communication and become a digital superstar.
So next time you find yourself typing away on your keyboard, remember these tips and tricks to make your online interactions a smashing success. And don’t forget to have some fun along the way! After all, online communication can be just as enjoyable as in-person interactions, especially when you’re armed with the right tools and a positive attitude.
Get out there and conquer the digital world, one message at a time!
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Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.