As technology evolves, so do we, and how we interact with one another. Communication has changed drastically in the digital age. And whether we like it or not, these changes are here to stay.
Although digital spaces make it very convenient to send information to one another quickly, communicating through a screen makes having a conversation less nuanced. Text messaging, direct messaging through social media, and even emailing one another have left us with some pretty serious holes in our communication skills. But how do we improve them?
Keep reading for some tips to improve your communication skills when everything is digital.
Be face-to-face when you can
We generally make associations between how people look and sound to how we feel about them. Due to this, when you are able to, make sure that you have conversations face-to-face. This makes it easier for other people to form a connection with you. Your voice and face can be associated with what you are saying through your phone.
In online work meetings, try to have your camera on as often as you can. Waking up early in the morning for a digital meeting is hard, and turning on the camera to see your bedhead is even harder. However, it shows your dedication to your job by going the extra mile to let everyone see your face.
If you cannot be face-to-face or camera-on for a meeting, try to make it a phone call. If you cannot have a conversation without a screen, using your voice and words is the next best thing.
Do not forget about nonverbal communication
Obviously, communicating through email does not allow the person you are speaking with to read your body language. This makes every face-to-face interaction you have much more important when it comes to nonverbal communication. When having an in-person conversation with someone, be sure you are practicing the following.
- Maintain eye contact
- Make affirming gestures, like nodding
- Do not check your phone when other people are talking
- Ask relevant questions
Close the loop
With so many different platforms to communicate on, it can be difficult to remember what you responded to. Be sure you are focusing on closing the loop! Being “ghosted” on one platform or ignoring an email but responding to a text message would not make you feel good. Therefore, try not to do that to other people.
If you find that maintaining several conversations on multiple platforms is difficult, there is no shame in consolidating your discussions. Instead of directly responding to an Instagram direct message, reply to the person who sent it to you on the text thread you have going. If someone asks you a question on Slack, respond to their chat in the email you are replying to.
Keep your communication friendly
When you are exclusively communicating online, it can be hard to pick up on how other people are feeling. This makes your verbiage in emails or texts incredibly important. Be sure to use positive and upbeat words to convey the friendly vibe you are trying to get across. Even if you do not intend for your two-word email to be taken as stern, that is likely how it will be interpreted. Be friendly, say please and thank you, and it will go a long way.
Navigating the digital waters can be hard. The good news is, you are not alone in any challenges you face! There are major discrepancies between talking online and talking in real life. Once you have implemented any of the above changes and still feel as if you are having a hard time in communicating through technology, seeking a professional may be a great way to get help. Take a look through my website and reach out if you think we would be a good match!