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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 June 13, 2019

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

How to Quit Your Boring Life and Start Living an Interesting One

Think you have a boring life?

The definition of boring is dull or not interesting. Maybe you’ve been doing the same thing and living the same life for too long, or maybe your daily routine is limiting your growth and happiness. Whatever your reason is, the following list of 20 things can definitely make any day more interesting. Some of them are silly, while some are more meaningful, so hopefully just reading the list makes your life less boring and sparks your creativity.

Let’s dive in the list to quit your boring life and start living an interesting (and meaning) one!

1. Channel Your 7-Year-Old Self

What would he or she want to do right now? Color? Paint? Run around outside? Play dress up? Eat with your hands? Play that instrument hiding in the back of your closet that you haven’t touched in years?

Just because you’re a grown up doesn’t mean any of this stuff will be less enjoyable than you remember it. Give yourself permission to play.

2. Go Play with Kids

Speaking of little kids, if you have your own or access to any (in a non-creepy way, like they’re your niece or your best friend’s kid, you get the idea) go play with them!

They didn’t create an entire show called Kids Say The Darndest Things because kids aren’t hilarious. They also keep things so simple, and we can really stand to be reminded of this and stop allowing ourselves to get bogged down in boring details.

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3. Order a Hot Dog

While you’re eating it, Google: “What’s in a hot dog?” You decide whether or not you want to finish it.

4. For the Ladies: Wear Your Sexiest Lingerie Under Your Work Clothes

Your “little secret” will leave you feeling anything but boring all day!

5. Play Cell Phone Roulette

You’ll need at least one buddy for this. Scroll through the contacts in your phone, stop on a random one and call the person.

You could spark an incredible catch up session or be incredibly awkward. Neither are boring.

6. Fill out a Pack of Thank-You Cards

Give them to random people who probably don’t get thanked too often for doing what they do ever day.

Ideas: police officers, librarians, servers, baristas, cab drivers, sanitation workers, teachers, people behind any check out counter, receptionists, your friends, the guy at the falafel stand, etc.

7. Sign up for a Class in Something You’ve “Always Wanted to Do”, or Something That Makes You Really Uncomfortable

Ideas: pole dancing, salsa lessons, improv, pottery, cooking, knitting (yup, there are classes for this, too!), karate, boxing, something techy like the workshops they run in Apple stores, get Rosetta Stone and learn that language you’ve always wanted to speak, etc.

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What’s good about joining an interest class is that you will also meet new people!

8. Interview Your Grandparents About Their Lives

You can bet they’ve had some crazy experiences you probably never knew about.

9. Get up on Stage at an Open Mic Night

Whether you’re funny or not, get up on stage and just talk funny. And if you’re not, memorize a few of your favorite jokes and tell those!

10. Do Something for Someone Else That You Wish Someone Would Do for You

We all have a few ideas on this list. I promise you will feel amazing after and anything but bored.

11. Start a DIY Project in Your Home

It doesn’t have to be super complicated. If you need ideas, there’re plenty on Pinterest. Or you can also check out these 30 Awesome DIY Projects that You’ve Never Heard of.

12. Plan a Weekend Trip or an All-Out Vacation

This will give you something to look forward to.

Even if you don’t have the time or money to go on a vacation, plan for a staycation, which is same fun and relaxing!

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13. People Watch

Find a bench in a crowded area (centers of transportation like airports, bus stops and train stations are great for this!) and just observe.

People are infinitely interesting.

14. Eat Something You’ve Never Eaten Before

Bonus points if it’s a random fruit or veggie.

15. Dance

You can get your friends together for a night on the town or just pull up a video on YouTube and bust a move from your own living room.

If you’re feeling extra brave, you can even dance in public and get other people involved.

16. Go to YOUTUBE and Search “Funny Pets” or “Funny Babies”

This is also a great quickie ab workout as you will be laughing hysterically.

17. Pick up a Book and Start Reading

Check out the NY Times Best Sellers lists and grab a new book you can get lost in.

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18. Step Away from the Computer and Go Get Some Time with People You Care About in Real Life

Facebook stalking doesn’t count as real social interaction. You can even share this post with your friends and vote on which one you’d like to do together!

19. Check out a Museum You’ve Never Been to Before

OK, depending on your interests, this one might actually be boring. If you love learning, art or different cultures though, this one is for you!

20. Write a List of Things You Desire and Truly Want

This is a great way to help you figure out the real reason why you’re feeling bored about your life. Maybe you haven’t really done things that you truly enjoy? Maybe what you’ve wanted to do all the time has been left behind?

Think about the list of things you really want to do, and ask yourself why you aren’t doing these things (yet). Then start taking your first step to make what you want happen.

Now go make your life interesting and live your dream life!

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Featured photo credit: Kev Costello via unsplash.com

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