Why do online communication skills matter and how can you improve them?

Published on in Advice / Tips & Tricks

With people communicating more and more over the internet as opposed to in person, online communication skills are paramount to ensuring effective relationships – both in our personal and professional lives.

Most people have heard the quote that over 90% of communication is non-verbal, and that the true meaning of words are mainly understood throughout body language, tone of voice and facial expressions. Although these statistics are a useful way to remember the importance of face-to-face communication skills, when it comes to online communication there are ways to increase the effectiveness of the delivery of our words. 

Here we take a look at the importance of fine tuning online communication skills and some helpful tips for doing so. 

Clarity and vocabulary

It’s very important to be clear when communicating online, as the way in which we phrase our messages has a big impact on the way people understand them. Correctly using words and grammar can also change the meaning of a sentence, which can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your message. 

Using the correct vocabulary is essential for avoiding misinterpretations, which can lead to people making mistakes or spending extra time clarifying information. When sending online communications, be sure to check that the wording you’ve used clearly portrays your message. 

The vocabulary we use also varies depending on the person we’re talking with, but even with close coworkers it’s best not to assume someone will read between the lines. When sending online communications, be sure to cover the most important points such as who, what, why, where and when, so that your colleague doesn’t have to come back to you for clarification. Although it may seem redundant, be sure to also sign your name when replying to emails just to provide clarity and ease of communication for your reader. 

Etiquette and professionalism

The permanence of online communication is something that is often overlooked. When something is on the internet, it is there eternally. When it comes to workplace messaging, emails and chats, it’s important to remember to stay professional. Avoid using slang, casual language and derogatory terms to avoid looking unprofessional and causing offence to your teammates or coworkers. 

Learning the correct way to send professional emails is a vital skill for anyone in this day and age, whether you are dealing with clients or applying for job roles. Especially for those working in remote roles, upskilling yourself with soft skills and knowledge of formal vocabulary will set you apart from those unskilled with online communication. 

By using clear, concise communication you will be able to build a favourable online persona which will enhance your workplace reputation. Be sure to double check your messages and emails before you hit send, to ensure they contain all the necessary information and are easy to understand. Using a tone that matches your intended audience and changing it accordingly will also give you the best chance of forming solid relationships with the different people in your team. 

Best words forward

Ultimately, the way you communicate with people online matters a lot. Whether sending emails to a new employer or your manager, or just enjoying virtual water-cooler chat with your coworkers, it's important to be mindful of how you communicate online. By brushing up on your communication skills and learning the correct way to use grammar and punctuation, you’ll reduce the chances of miscommunication and be able to portray a professional and favourable online persona. 

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About the Author

John Bramer
John Bramer is the Digital Relations Consultant at The Sixth Degree Media.

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