Virtual Communications Permeate Our World: Excel at Online Communication with these 10 Online Degree Tips

Do not write another email without reading our 10 Online Degree tips for virtual communications! You probably spend as much time writing email messages, texts or tweets as you do speaking live with people. This is one call sign of our new digital age, that we communicate in writing so much. However, this new communications (new in the last 10 years) comes at a price, sometimes, of effectiveness. Few of us have actually been trained to communicate effectively in this new medium. Following are 10 Online Degree tips to help you communicate effectively in your online course room, work arena and your personal life, making your communications more positive and effective.

1. Choose the right medium.

Email, text and tweets are all great tools, but each has its place; choose wisely. Avoid picking a communication medium just because it is convenient. For example, if you write someone, they write back for clarification, you reply and they are still confused, pick up the phone and call them, do not keep the email going.

2. Know your audience.

Understand who your audience is and use the proper tone. The words you choose will obviously be different for a teacher versus a friend. When uncertain, write on the side of being overly polite or formal.

3. Observe the pleasantries.

Too many people become so complacent (and rushed) with their email that they forget to be polite. Start messages with "Hi" and end with your name. This is particularly true in school and the workplace, but also nice even in your private email.

4. Avoid the pitfall of "Reply All."

"Reply all" is my biggest pet peeve in the workplace. Before you hit this button really consider whether every original recipient of that message needs to see your reply. Respect people's time and do not inundate their mail box unnecessarily.

5. Beware the dangers of forwarding messages.

People are far too quick to forward messages without thinking. Before you do this check to see that buried down in the message is not someone saying that this teacher is terrible or your boss is a slug.

6. Never write what you would not say or even what you would.

Email is forever. Unlike words that disappear with no evidence, email can be archived, printed, forwarded and even produced as evidence in court. Never write anything in an email that you would not say in person. This is particularly true of expressing anger; be very weary of this in email.

7. Be concise.

Always write in as brief a way as possible, while still being thorough and polite. This is to respect people's time, but also to ensure that they read your message. Too often people are in a hurry and skim emails. If you are long winded they may skip over information of value in an attempt to skip the fluff.

8. Be clear.

Write in a way that is very clear. Specifically, if you are requesting an action or response, say so and feel free to provide dates.

9. Emote with emoticons.

One of the biggest problems with virtual communications is that emotions and tone do not come through, thus things can seem harsh when you do not mean them that way. Feel free to use emoticons (smiley faces) to show humor or lightheartedness, but do not overuse them and stick to simple :)

10. Avoid slang and acronyms.

Avoid using excessive slang language that may not be understood by your audience, or acronyms such as LMFAO or BFF that are unclear or inappropriate.

Read these 10 Online Degree tips for virtual communications, and then read them again. Commit them to memory. Practice them. If you use these Online Degree tips consistently then your communications in school, work and your personal life will be more effective. You can prove that people who think online degrees are worthless are wrong, in that online degrees help you learn to communicate better in our virtual world!

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