How to Communicate Effectively in the Age of Endless Digital Tools

“There’s an app for that!” is soon becoming the answer to everything and now with a large part of communication being done over devices, it’s hard to remember how we did it before, at least for those working from home. Let’s admit it, many of us have found that so much is being “lost in transmission”, ever since we are communicating virtually more than ever before. Of course, we would have all struggled without Zoom, Google Meet, etc, but they do have their shortcomings. When we compare these tools to face-to-face and eye-to-eye conversations, nothing comes close to the latter. The bottom line is, if you can’t talk to your coworkers or team members in a proper way, how can you be successful at work?

We not only want to respond in words we also want to respond with the way we feel

Communication is the foundation of all relationships and building relationships is key to make every workday fruitful. While science has revealed that only 7% of communications is about the words we use, 38% is about the tone we use, and 55% is connected to our body language, clearly, there’s a lot of work to be done. How many times have we misinterpreted an email or even a phone call? We not only want to respond in words we also want to respond with the way we feel. Moreover, when it comes to errors we make what is being called “attribution errors”; we explain the errors of others by blaming their character, but when we make mistakes, it’s due to circumstances. E.g. “She didn’t thank me, how rude.” “Oops, I forgot to thank her, but I had so many things on my mind.” 

Here’s how you can stay on top of effective communication.

Be considerate

Put yourself in the shoes of others and think about what sort of communication you would like to receive and do the same for others, whether it’s text messages, emails, phone calls. You can’t always communicate tone in messages and emails, so take time to consider how your words will be interpreted.

Give some space

People are going through stressful times during the pandemic, so extend some grace if people don’t reply immediately or if they would prefer to turn off their camera during a team meeting. 

Think before you click send

A lot of misunderstandings can take place due to messages and emails. Come back to an email or message after 10 minutes and read it aloud. Don’t be in a hurry to click send. You’ll catch errors better if you take a few minutes to read it again.

Forgive and move on

Aren’t we human after all? Hence, we are all likely to make mistakes. At a time when anxiety levels are on the rise, be forgiving if your coworkers or team members aren’t prompt or make a mistake.

Get more personal

When everything seems to revolve around work, we need to remember that everyone has a life outside of work. You’ll also be able to find it easier to be kind and understanding because you know others better. Have regular check-ins to be up to speed with each other’s hobbies, family, Netflix shows, movies, etc.

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