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- 10 Tips to Avoid Misunderstanding in Online Interaction
Posted by : Amanda Stein Thursday, December 26, 2013
In this technological age, most communication happen online. Online interactions are usually conducted through written forms, and that results to a lot of misunderstanding. But it doesn't mean that you just have to accept that miscommunication takes place on a regular basis. As a user, you have the power to control the flow of communication.
It's necessary that you emphasize to get your message across clearly. That's the only way you can conduct a smooth business transaction online. Misunderstanding in online interactions can be avoided by following the tips below:
Think before reacting. Most of the offensive comments posted online are by users who react first before thinking what they're about to say. Messages have a way of quickly propagating online. So if you realize later on that what you posted can be taken wrongly by other people, you can delete it but there's a chance that someone has already read it or worse, spread it.
Understand the issue before joining the discussion. There's nothing wrong with joining online debates. What's wrong is joining one without fully understanding the issue first. Before making a stand, look at all the sides of the argument before you end up wanting to swallow what you said.
Ask before jumping to conclusions. If there are some things left unclear, learn to ask questions. Go to the direct source of information or ask someone who know the topic well. Before getting offended or raising the ire of someone, make sure that you understand the issue well. You'll only look silly if you get angry and post moody messages, only to learn that you misunderstood.
Don't overuse sarcasm. Not everyone gets it. If you can't be stopped from using sarcasm in your online posts, then use it sparingly. Even in writing, sarcasm can come off as witty but overusing it can wear off on the readers.
Choose your words carefully. Avoid using words you don't fully grasp the meaning. When writing, it's important that you phrase your words in the least offensive way possible. It's easy to be misinterpreted online since readers only see your words. They can't look at your facial expression nor body language to discern the tone of your message. They only rely on your words, so choose it well.
Have an open mind. Understand that some people can't express themselves well through writing. Open your mind to the possibility that there are words they might end up using in the wrong context, the same way you make mistakes, too. You'll meet people of different nationalities online, and you won't survive if you think that the only mindset that exists online is exactly like yours. You can't come from the same place, so accept that people interpret things differently.
Respect others' opinions. People won't always agree with you and it's best that you accept that now. It's not like you have to agree with everything you have to say. But just avoid personally attacking anyone due to their beliefs. You can't force your own beliefs on others if you want them to respect what you have to say and not twist your words.
Be critical, not cynical. It's good to give someone the benefit of a doubt. But don't just accept everything as facts. Always be critical when faced with information, but don't be cynical about it. You can't always expect for the worse. You can't think that others only aim to argue. It's not even good to think that they're only out to oppose everything you have to say.
Clear issues before it gets bigger. When misunderstandings do occur, repair the damage by clearing your side of the issue. There's a chance that others must have misinterpreted your words and before getting annoyed, try to clear it up first. To converse thoroughly is a lot better than getting mad for being misinterpreted.
Reread before hitting the send or enter button. Most importantly, reread everything you write before hitting the enter button. Most of the time, you can't take back what you say online. So before you cause any harm to anyone, say only what you mean to say in words that can't be twisted by others.
Miscommunication may be a natural occurrence online, but you can prevent it from happening. Or at the very least, you can minimize the damage it can cost you. It's necessary that you maintain good online communication, especially when it's in the internet that you network with clients and colleagues.
About the author: Robine Fisher took up English Studies as her bachelor's degree and left to wonder what she can do after graduation. She now offers dissertation assistance for a living. She plans to go to grad school by next year. Connect with her on Google+.