Here's How to Improve Your Online Communication Skills

With the pandemic scenario, the people have shifted online; and so have our conversations. What was just an addition to our everyday conversations sometime before has become the norm now. For reference, you can look at the number of Zoom meetings you have attended since the lockdown started.

So, it raises a few questions - how to keep in sync with this shift in conversing? Are there any Dos and the Don’ts of online communication? How to make your thoughts get across?

This article will help you, especially if you have been part of a group before, and you either had no clue what to say or had a story to tell and things to add to the conversation, but it quickly shifted over. Think no further, and let’s get started.

1. Be Part of the Meme Culture

This might sound odd, but look back at it, how many times were the conversations just replied in forms of memes? Something funny, something silly, even at times, offensive; almost everything can be said in the way of memes.

The easiest way would be to keep up with Pop culture. What’s trending? Which series is hyped right now? Because meme culture is a rapidly transforming culture in a real sense.

With every new day, comes a lot of new memes. Don’t get overwhelmed. Get a sticker pack. Talk to your friends about what they are watching and indulge in the meme culture.

2. Understand the Natural Pause

More than enough, it might have happened that you had a point to speak, but you did not want to interrupt the speaker. 

With virtual meetings becoming the mode of communication, we all have come to a mental contract of not speaking together simultaneously, because unlike the conversation in the real world, this clutter of overlap does not make sense.

So, you wait, and wait, and wait, but then someone else picks up. It is hard to take cues or give cues in an online conversation initially, but all you have to look for is the natural pause.

When the speaker has said their point, there is a pause in the air, just grab the opportunity and speak.

3. Engage in the Conversation

The art of communication lies on the pillars of receiving words and then replying based on that. So, the trick is to be present in the conversation. Don’t just wait for your turn to speak.

Try to ask engaging questions and try to get to know the answer genuinely. People do love to share their experiences if they feel it is the right setting, so try to create an environment like that.

Always remember that it is not just one-sided, and people love to hear the other person too. This is why share when it seems right to you.

Making people comfortable is important. Don’t put people on the spot, and especially, don’t cold call people.

4. Be to the Point

Sometimes, being precise is the need of the hour. When you are talking to someone for the first time, they do not want to scroll through a really long-winded text, so start slow.

With our screen time increasing now more than ever, we have read a lot, including text messages. Try not to write a novel. It is hard for the message to get across with too many words in the buffer.

Also, it is social etiquette to not talk at lengths in virtual meetings, or it can very soon start sounding like a webinar. Try to engage people in the conversation.

5. Participate in Virtual Conversations

This might seem like a typical case of the author being the devil’s advocate. You are here to improve your skills, and the suggestion is to go ahead and partake in it. So be it.

Try to interact with as many people as you can. It might not be swift in the beginning. With as many people out there, many are the talking styles, and the virtual format might pose a challenge.

Look out for groups. You can do it based on common interests, or according to a new hobby you are getting into or skill you are learning. Interacting with people will help you understand things better.

You can find interest groups on Discord, Facebook and many more, or you can look for meetings online. Join webinars, group discussions, and ask questions.

6. Don’t Be Scared

The reason you clicked on this article might vary from person to person; maybe you find group discussions scary, or perhaps you don’t know how to reply to group texts, or maybe online classes are what is scaring you.

Just remember that just like you, the rest are learning too. Some are just a little ahead of the curve but don’t let that stop you. Just try to interact and learn along the way.

What works is what comes in flow. Words matter, so don’t take them too lightly. But at the same time, don’t let the thought of choosing the right words kill the conversation. Just dare.

Written by – Srishti Purohit

Edited by – Sandhya R

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