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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

How to Motivate People Around You and Inspire Them

If I was a super hero I’d want my super power to be the ability to motivate everyone around me. Think of how many problems you could solve just by being able to motivate people towards their goals. You wouldn’t be frustrated by lazy co-workers. You wouldn’t be mad at your partner for wasting the weekend in front of the TV. Also, the more people around you are motivated toward their dreams, the more you can capitalize off their successes.

Being able to motivate people is key to your success at work, at home, and in the future because no one can achieve anything alone. We all need the help of others.

So, how to motivate people? Here are 7 ways to motivate others even you can do.

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1. Listen

Most people start out trying to motivate someone by giving them a lengthy speech, but this rarely works because motivation has to start inside others. The best way to motivate others is to start by listening to what they want to do. Find out what the person’s goals and dreams are. If it’s something you want to encourage, then continue through these steps.

2. Ask Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are the best way to figure out what someone’s dreams are. If you can’t think of anything to ask, start with, “What have you always wanted to do?”

“Why do you want to do that?”

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“What makes you so excited about it?”

“How long has that been your dream?”

You need this information the help you with the following steps.

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3. Encourage

This is the most important step, because starting a dream is scary. People are so scared they will fail or look stupid, many never try to reach their goals, so this is where you come in. You must encourage them. Say things like, “I think you will be great at that.” Better yet, say, “I think your skills in X will help you succeed.” For example if you have a friend who wants to own a pet store, say, “You are so great with animals, I think you will be excellent at running a pet store.”

4. Ask About What the First Step Will Be

After you’ve encouraged them, find how they will start. If they don’t know, you can make suggestions, but it’s better to let the person figure out the first step themselves so they can be committed to the process.

5. Dream

This is the most fun step, because you can dream about success. Say things like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your business took off, and you didn’t have to work at that job you hate?” By allowing others to dream, you solidify the motivation in place and connect their dreams to a future reality.

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6. Ask How You Can Help

Most of the time, others won’t need anything from you, but it’s always good to offer. Just letting the person know you’re there will help motivate them to start. And, who knows, maybe your skills can help.

7. Follow Up

Periodically, over the course of the next year, ask them how their goal is going. This way you can find out what progress has been made. You may need to do the seven steps again, or they may need motivation in another area of their life.

Final Thoughts

By following these seven steps, you’ll be able to encourage the people around you to achieve their dreams and goals. In return, you’ll be more passionate about getting to your goals, you’ll be surrounded by successful people, and others will want to help you reach your dreams …

Oh, and you’ll become a motivational super hero. Time to get a cape!

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