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Marketing / Communication skills

How to communicate effectively using technology

New technologies have the power to enhance or hinder our communication style. So how can we ensure we use them to our advantage?

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Technological advances now enable us to communicate in a huge variety of ways – from social media to mobile phone, email video and more.

But when communicating via these technologies, are you really delivering and receiving messages in the best possible way? The following tips will help you get the most out of some key communications technologies.


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Email

Emails are not always the most appropriate form of communication. Is it a potentially sensitive message that may be misunderstood if relayed through email? If you’re struggling to convey emotion or tone in your email, it might be better to pick up the phone.

"A person’s distraction can be heard in their voice. Set aside time to make phone calls so you can devote your whole attention to the conversation."

To help with managing your inbox, only check emails at certain times. Consider including a message in your email signature indicating when you check emails (e.g. “I check emails every two hours between 9am and 5pm). This makes it clear to people when you may respond.

Texting

In a business context, texting should be kept to a minimum. An acceptable use may be to send a short piece of information such as a change in meeting time to a colleague who may be away from the office.

Social media

Use social media to promote your business and brand, and to engage potential and existing customers. Share links to informative articles or posts on your blog, post updates about your product or service, or share any other tidbits that your audience will find helpful or inspiring.

For more tips on using social media to connect with your audience, read Sara Howard’s article, ‘Creating compelling social media content’.

Telephone

It’s not a new comminication technology, and you might be experienced at talking on the phone, but in addition to a peasant phone manner, practising good mobile phone etiquette will help you get more value out of conversations.

When speaking on the phone, ensure that you remain focused on the person on the other end. They will know if you are multitasking while talking – whether you’re checking emails or on your way from A to B. A person’s distraction can be heard in their voice. Set aside time to make phone calls so you can devote your whole attention to the conversation.

Manage your usage

Don’t let your communications take up more time than necessary. Many people try to justify the hours spent on social media, email and text as essential to ‘keep on top of things’. But there are ways to curb time spent communicating.

Creating standard messages for repeated enquiries; aggregating your social media pages into one platform, such as Hootsuite; and responding to emails/messages at set times help with this.

It’s also important to give yourself ‘time out’ from using technology. This will help you recharge and be more efficient when using it.

Face-to-face communication

People do business with people, not businesses. So no matter how often you communicate with technology, nothing beats the connections made through interacting with others in person.

Just remember when speaking with someone, minimise or eliminate technological distractions and listen actively.

No matter your preferred form of technology, by using it wisely, you will become more effective in your communication.

Is technology enhancing or hindering your communication style?

Maria Pantalone

works with individuals and teams in developing their business communication skills. Her company, Infinite Growth, provides training in presentation skills, business writing and leadership development. Armed with these skills, there is nothing a business person cannot achieve.

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