Advertising
Advertising

5 Surefire Ways to Avoid Communications Breakdowns Online

5 Surefire Ways to Avoid Communications Breakdowns Online

As our face-to-face interactions are increasingly replaced by online communications from email to social media, we lose the benefit of cues such as body language and tone of voice. In the absence of this additional information, it’s easy to misconstrue the meaning of an email or the tone intended for a social media update.

We’ve all been there. You check your email and there’s a message there that leaves you thinking “oh no, they did not just say that.” Or read a passive aggressive social media update that you quickly become convinced is directed at you.

Advertising

There’s no substitute for the power of face-to-face conversation, but here are five ways to help make your online communications stronger and avoid experiencing a communications breakdown.

1. Know Your Audience

As you sit down to prepare your email, quickly check in and get connected with who the email is actually going to. How you present information to your peer and to the CEO will vary greatly. The busier the person, the more concise your email should be. Outline what you are writing about and articulate what is in it for them as soon as possible. The clearer you can be the more apt you are to avoid people missing details or getting off track from your true intent.

Advertising

2. Check Your Tone

Tone is hands down, one of the most challenging areas of online communication, as it is largely absent. Instead of relying on emoticons to express your tone, focus on your word choice and the nuances of what you are saying. Take the time to re-read your email, and if necessary inject emotion words to convey your meaning. Saying you are happy, challenged or confused leaves little doubt as to your feelings.

3. Be Clear on Next Steps

Email is an amazing tool to help manage tasks, provide updates and more, but it is easy to assume that everyone is “on the same page.” Project manager Karen Sargeant recommends taking the time in your email to recap where you are so you conversation is in context, and then at the end outlining next steps. That way any issues or disconnects can be identified and dealt with quickly.

Advertising

4. Take a Breather

Every so often a message, email or text will get on your nerves or worse yet, leave you seeing red. Instead of dashing off a hasty reply, take a breather and step away. Come back to it later to assess how to best respond in a calm and rational way.

You may find it helpful to re-frame things and look at it from the sender’s point of view. What can be a simple request may simply have been articulated poorly. Think about the sender and if they actually meant to upset you and you’ll quickly find that you may be reading too much into the email.

Advertising

5. Pick up the Phone or Schedule Facetime

When online communications start to go off the rails, instead of continuing to try to hash things out by email, consider picking up the phone or scheduling some Facetime.  Make use of Skype or even a good old fashion coffee date to save yourself some time and energy instead of hiding behind the screen. Usually a 5 minute conversation can save hours of back and forth as as everyone tries to share their point of view or make their voice heard.

Giving more care and consideration to your online communications can help save time, energy and avoid hurt feelings in the long run.

What are some of your strategies that you help avoid communications breakdowns online? Comment below.

More by this author

What Jennifer Lawrence Has Taught Me About Marketing Strategies 5 Surefire Ways to Avoid Communications Breakdowns Online How to Be Productive and Stay Sane Working at Home: 7 Success Strategies

Trending in Communication

1 How to Be Patient and Take Charge of Your Life 2 What Is Self-Actualization? 13 Traits of Self-Actualized People 3 5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today 4 5 Warning Signs That You’re a People Pleaser 5 How to Think Positive Thoughts When Feeling Negative

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on December 10, 2019

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

Journal writing.

Advertising

Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

Consider this:

Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

Advertising

But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

Advertising

3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

Advertising

5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

Kickstart Journaling

How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

Read Next