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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 September 20, 2018

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

7 Powerful Questions To Find Out What You Want To Do With Your Life

What do I want to do with my life? It’s a question all of us think about at one point or another.

For some, the answer comes easily. For others, it takes a lifetime to figure out.

It’s easy to just go through the motions and continue to do what’s comfortable and familiar. But for those of you who seek fulfillment, who want to do more, these questions will help you paint a clearer picture of what you want to do with your life.

1. What are the things I’m most passionate about?

The first step to living a more fulfilling life is to think about the things that you’re passionate about.

What do you love? What fulfills you? What “work” do you do that doesn’t feel like work? Maybe you enjoy writing, maybe you love working with animals or maybe you have a knack for photography.

The point is, figure out what you love doing, then do more of it.

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2. What are my greatest accomplishments in life so far?

Think about your past experiences and the things in your life you’re most proud of.

How did those accomplishments make you feel? Pretty darn good, right? So why not try and emulate those experiences and feelings?

If you ran a marathon once and loved the feeling you had afterwards, start training for another one. If your child grew up to be a star athlete or musician because of your teachings, then be a coach or mentor for other kids.

Continue to do the things that have been most fulfilling for you.

3. If my life had absolutely no limits, what would I choose to have and what would I choose to do?

Here’s a cool exercise: Think about what you would do if you had no limits.

If you had all the money and time in the world, where would you go? What would you do? Who would you spend time with?

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These answers can help you figure out what you want to do with your life. It doesn’t mean you need millions of dollars to be happy though.

What it does mean is answering these questions will help you set goals to reach certain milestones and create a path toward happiness and fulfillment. Which leads to our next question …

4. What are my goals in life?

Goals are a necessary component to set you up for a happy future. So answer these questions:

Once you figure out the answers to each of these, you’ll have a much better idea of what you should do with your life.

5. Whom do I admire most in the world?

Following the path of successful people can set you up for success.

Think about the people you respect and admire most. What are their best qualities? Why do you respect them? What can you learn from them?

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You’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.[1] So don’t waste your time with people who hold you back from achieving your dreams.

Spend more time with happy, successful, optimistic people and you’ll become one of them.

6. What do I not like to do?

An important part of figuring out what you want to do with your life is honestly assessing what you don’t want to do.

What are the things you despise? What bugs you the most about your current job?

Maybe you hate meetings even though you sit through 6 hours of them every day. If that’s the case, find a job where you can work more independently.

The point is, if you want something to change in your life, you need to take action. Which leads to our final question …

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7. How hard am I willing to work to get what I want?

Great accomplishments never come easy. If you want to do great things with your life, you’re going to have to make a great effort. That will probably mean putting in more hours the average person, getting outside your comfort zone and learning as much as you can to achieve as much as you can.

But here’s the cool part: it’s often the journey that is the most fulfilling part. It’s during these seemingly small, insignificant moments that you’ll often find that “aha” moments that helps you answer the question,

“What do I want to do with my life?”

So take the first step toward improving your life. You won’t regret it.

Featured photo credit: Andrew Ly via unsplash.com

Reference

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