Monday, April 30, 2007

Internet etiquette_How to practise listening while communicating online

Effective use of interpersonal skills in communicating online is an essential component in making and keeping the internet a positive and useful force, as technology ushers in newer features with each passing day.

Online communication is limited in its capacity to convey non-verbal meanings and relies on symbols, acronyms, abbreviations and formatting styles instead.

Active listening-
Listening is the process of receiving and constructing meaning from and responding to verbal, non-verbal or online communication.

In a typical imterpersonal interaction, Social Psychologists state that usually 40-50% of meaning is lost in the transmission of messages from sender to receivers.While Language, noise related issues, misinterpretation of body language, ineterpersonal issues along with receiver distortion, defensiveness and distorted perceptions can be identified as the common barriers to listening, the same multiply in the context of online communication in the absence of face to face contact.
Hence it becomes important to be very careful in communicating online and the first step in this direction can be identified as Effective Listening.

1.Paraphrase and summarise comments made by others.Simply responding to other people's messages by an 'i agree' creates a feeling that reading or listening in this context has not transpired.
2.If you need to quote from the sender's message for clarity, select only the most relevant statements foloowed by your comments.
3.Ask questions. Empathise.
4. Do not immediately interject your own thoughts and feelings, while listening to(reading) thoughts and opinions of others.
5.Use online abbreviations , contractions, emoticons and acronyms sparingly.While a smiley may soften a comment, too many are a clutter.
6. Avoid perceptual biasisand stereotyping.

Hence to be able to communicate effectively online , one must do away with self fulfilling prophecies and concentrate on seeking intent, focussing and trying to analyse the written matter-Because at the end of the day 'the most basic human need is to understand and be understood.The best way to understand people is to listen to them.'

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