5 Tips for Communicating Better Online

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With the advent of social networking, sites like Facebook and Twitter have made it that much easier to keep in touch with people from all areas of your life and also meet new acquaintances. Knowing how to effectively communicate online is becoming an increasingly important skill for maintaining both personal and professional relationships.

  1. Be Ready for Small Talk

    Whether you are conversing online or in person, it is a good idea to be prepared for small talk. Having conversation starters up your sleeve is a great way to alleviate any awkwardness during the "get-to-know-you" stage. When thinking about small talk topics, focus on areas that you have in common with someone else, or ways in which you are similar.

  1. Be Clear and Direct

    The problem with text communication is that there is a lot of room for misunderstanding. Whether you are communicating by email, on Facebook, or through text messaging, it is best to be clear and direct. Sarcasm and humor do not always translate in the way that you anticipate.

  2. Make Other People Comfortable

    A key rapport-building skill is knowing how to make other people comfortable. This is true whether you are interacting in person or online. There are several ways to make others feel at ease, such as using their names frequently in conversation, noticing how they like to receive information (the big picture or small details), and using their favorite words or phrases in your own speech.

  3. Don't Fight Online

    Disagreements are best resolved in person. If you find yourself taking a long time wording and rewording an email or text, it is probably a signal that you should be talking on the phone or in person instead. Remember, also, that you do not have to agree with everyone to build rapport. Learning how to respectfully disagree or say no shows others that you stand up for what you believe in.

  1. Don't Communicate Under the Influence

    If you suffer with social anxiety disorder (SAD), alcohol can become an attractive coping strategy. Be sure not to use alcohol to help you communicate online. Never text, post on Facebook or Twitter, or send emails while intoxicated. Poor judgment could lead you to post status updates or send messages that you later regret.

    Sources:

    Get in Front Communications. 10 Ways to Build Rapport with People. Accessed June 3, 2011.

    Write, Change, Grow. Being Yourself Online: Let People Know the Real You. Accessed June 3, 2011.

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