Best Practices for Effective Communication Online

Best Practices for Effective Communication Online

In today’s world, almost everything is digital. Video calls replace in-person meetings, emails and chats replace face-to-face conversations, and even school is held virtually. With everything online, it’s important to know how to communicate online effectively. Here are some tips for communicating online.

Be Clear With What You Mean

A very important internet communication tip is to be clear with what you mean at all times. Much of online communication happens over email or chat systems. Unlike with face-to-face communication, you generally aren’t able to see other people when they are speaking, which can lead to misinterpretation.

Plainly state what you’re trying to communicate to the other person. If you’re discussing a touchy subject, make sure to communicate how you feel, and if you’re discussing something confusing, explain it in a way that the other person would understand.

Break Up What You Say

When you’re in person, it’s easy to carry a conversation or explain something with natural pauses, spaces for others to interject, or even adding other points. Online, however, it’s much different. Communication can feel one-sided or overwhelming.

To help break up the communication and make it have a more natural flow, consider:

  • Holding several different meetings or messages. If you have a topic you need to discuss that can be broken down into several different meetings or messages, try doing so. Breaking down material into more digestible, smaller sections can help you communicate your point more effectively.
  • Leaving space for others to speak up. In person, there’s natural pauses and breaks for others to speak up. When you’re holding a video call or live chat, it’s difficult for others to see a spot for them to interject with their own ideas or opinions. Try to leave natural breaks and pauses for others to speak up, so that the conversation is more natural and not one-sided.
  • Asking questions. One great way to break up what you’re saying and allow for others to speak up is to ask questions. If there’s any area of your conversation or topic that you can ask your audience or conversation partner a question, take time to do so. This can also help make sure the material or conversation isn’t misinterpreted.

Be An Active Listener

Being an active listener is not only important in in-person conversations, but also in learning how to communicate online as well. Being an active listener involves giving the speaker your undivided attention, showing that you’re listening, and responding as necessary.

If you’re on a video call, responding in the chat with emojis or with clear facial expressions is a great way to show you’re listening. Ask questions, and always respond to the material or conversation at hand without being prompted.

Use Video Call Apps

In the online world, it’s easy to just focus on faceless chat options. It’s easy to choose to email back-and-forth rather than hold a meeting. However, this can lead to a lot of confusion, lost messages, and misunderstandings.

Video call apps such as Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts are a great way to make sure there is no confusion. Take time to hold video calls when you have a lot to discuss or are talking about a tricky subject. It makes the conversation more personal, and seeing someone else talk can help you understand topics better.

Practice Good “Netiquette”

Just like during in-person conversations, it’s important to have good etiquette when communicating online. Good netiquette means that you’re following the appropriate etiquette for the situation you’re in. This maintains politeness and professionalism.

Good netiquette includes behaviors such as:
  • Being polite. Although being online can make everything feel impersonal, it’s important to still stay polite. Always be careful with what you’re saying, as the meaning can be taken in many different ways. Be careful to address people by the proper titles, and always make sure that your messages are appropriately professional.
  • Including everyone. Being online makes it easy to accidentally focus on communication with one person. If you’re talking to a group or classroom, however, it’s important that you address everyone equally. When you send chat messages, send it to the group, rather than just one specific person. The exception in this case would be anything needed to maintain privacy.
  • Following video and chat etiquette. Video and chat both dictate certain etiquette. For example, when participating in a video call, you should typically keep your video on and eye contact with the camera. In chats, you should make sure you aren’t dominating the conversation or “chat bombing” with sending too many messages at once.

Be Open to Feedback

Communicating online leaves a lot of room for improvement. No one is going to perfect at online communication, especially with the lack of most nonverbal communication. This means that there’s going to be a lot of feedback you may receive.

Feedback can be hard, and getting negative feedback can especially feel bad. If you keep an open mind, the feedback you receive from others will help you become a better communicator. You could even try asking for feedback about your online communication from your peers, coworkers, or students for more help.

Find What Works for You

Ultimately, communicating effectively online is reliant on finding what works best for you. Everyone is going to have different preferences for communication. This includes where you communicate, such as via Skype vs. Zoom, or the type of communication you do.

Figuring out what works best for you will help you communicate more effectively. While you don’t always have the choice for an online platform if someone else is hosting the conversation, you can still practice communication techniques that help you navigate conversations and understand material.

You’ll Be a Master of Online Communication in No Time!

With these tips and tricks, you can master online communication in no time. You have all of the tools needed to communicate effectively. For best online communication, get your internet through Nomad Internet. With Nomad Internet, you’ll never have to worry about an unstable connection!

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