How To Communicate Online Effectively: 14 Best Practices

In today’s article you’re going to learn everything you need to know about how to communicate online effectively.

The widespread use of the internet has made it incredibly simple to communicate with people anywhere in the world through instant messaging and chat. However, it is important to consider how to use these tools safely and effectively. In this guide, we will cover all the essential information you need to know so you can focus on what really matters – connecting and having fun with others online!

How To Communicate Online Effectively:

1. When you need to send more comprehensive or official messages, email is the way to go.

It is perfect for relaying substantial information to one person or a group of people and can be used as a substitute for traditional letter writing. For instance, you can use email to apply for a job or to coordinate with colleagues or classmates on a complex project.

There are two main ways to manage your email, either through a web-based email service like Gmail or through a desktop-based program like Outlook, depending on your preferences.

An additional benefit of email is the ability to attach and send large files, such as photos and text documents, which can be useful in many scenarios.

2. If you want to have fast and direct text-based conversations, then instant messaging is the solution for you.

With instant messaging apps, you can communicate in real-time by sending and receiving messages with another person who can respond immediately. This is ideal for chatting with a friend or exchanging short information with a colleague or classmate.

Some social media sites, like Facebook and Tumblr, have in-built instant messaging features, while some voice/video calling apps, like Skype, also offer text messaging.

Other apps such as WhatsApp and Wire also offer instant messaging services.

Chat rooms are another option for instant messaging that allow you to communicate with multiple people in a group or community setting. You can access chat rooms through websites like Mibbit, mIRC, and Discord.

3. If you want a more personal and face-to-face experience with others online, voice and video calling services are the way to go.

By using these services, you can have live voice and video conversations with other people, and see and hear each other.

Some well-known voice and video services are Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Google Hangouts, and Facebook Messenger.

These services are perfect for having intimate conversations with friends and family who are far away and are also practical tools for remote job interviews, work meetings, and virtual classes.

4. For more public conversations with people who share your interests, text-based communities, bulletin boards, discussion groups, and forums are great resources.

These platforms allow you to engage in group discussions at a more relaxed pace compared to live text chats.

Some websites already have in-built discussion forums, such as the community boards for parents.

Additionally, you can find discussion groups on social media sites like Facebook and older blogging platforms like LiveJournal.

SEE ALSO: How To Fix a Relationship You Ruined: 12-Step Guide

5. Mind your language.

Clarity is key in any form of communication to ensure that others understand your message effectively. Before sending a message or posting, take some time to carefully think about what you want to express. Once you’ve written it out, review it to make sure it:

  • Is clear and to the point
  • Includes everything you wanted to convey
  • Doesn’t include any extraneous information
  • Isn’t insensitive in any way

By following these steps, you can ensure that your message is well-received and understood by others.

6. Be mindful of humor and sarcasm when communicating online.

In person, body language and tone of voice help convey humor and sarcasm, but online text communication lacks these cues. Before sending a joke or a sarcastic comment, consider whether it will be easily understood by the recipient.

Using emojis, such as a winking smiley face, can help convey your intentions. Some online users also use “/s” to indicate sarcasm at the end of a comment.

However, humor and sarcasm can still be misinterpreted even with these clarifications. For instance, a statement like “I think eating wood chips is a great idea” could be taken seriously, leading to confusion and offense.

7. Keep it polite.

It’s important to remember that online conversations involve real people, so it’s crucial to stay respectful even if you disagree with someone. Avoid using harsh language, making personal attacks (1), or insulting others.

A good rule of thumb is to treat others online the way you would in person. When expressing your disagreement, focus on the argument instead of attacking the person.

For instance, instead of calling someone names, you could say, “I understand your point, but I don’t agree with it.”

8. Review your text before publishing or sending.

If you send a message or post content with a lot of typos, misspelled words, and grammar mistakes, the recipient may not take your words seriously. These mistakes also make it difficult for them to understand what you are saying. Carefully examine your text and correct any mistakes you find.

Many web browsers and email programs have inbuilt spell checking tools that can help identify spelling errors.

Be mindful of common errors that the spell checker may miss, such as confusing “your” and “you’re.”

9. Reserve casual language for casual environments.

When chatting with friends through instant messaging or participating in light-hearted conversations on social media, you don’t need to be too formal with your writing. However, in more formal online settings, such as emails or serious online discussions, it’s best to avoid using shorthand, emoticons, and casual language.

For instance, if you’re sending an email to a professor or posting on a professional discussion board, it’s more appropriate to close the message with a more professional sign-off, like “I hope to see you soon in class. Regards, Julie.”

SEE ALSO: How To Not Hold a Grudge Against Someone: 17 Practical Tips

10. Before participating in an online community, familiarize yourself with its guidelines and norms.

Different online groups may have unique expectations for the conduct of their members. Before you join a group, such as a Facebook group or a discussion forum, take a moment to read its rules.

You can also observe how established members interact to get an idea of what behavior is acceptable. Usually, being respectful and courteous to others is expected in most groups.

Additionally, some groups may have restrictions on the type of content that can be posted, such as prohibiting “not safe for work” (NSFW) material.

11. Examine the facts before passing them on.

People often spread news on the internet that can be intriguing, stunning, inspiring or even frightening. Sadly, much of it is not accurate.

Sharing false information online can have harmful effects, so always be cautious when reading things on the internet. Before sharing something, take a moment to research it and make sure it is verified by a trustworthy source.

12. When posting online, consider the audience it can reach.

Your online content can be seen by a wider audience than you may have intended, such as friends, family, strangers, or even employers. Before posting, think about whether you want anyone and everyone to have access to it.

A good practice is to not post anything online that you wouldn’t be comfortable sharing in public. Avoid posting explicit or sensitive content that could be harmful or embarrassing if it became public.

It is also important to note that, while social media platforms may have privacy settings (2) that limit the visibility of your posts, there is always a risk of your content being shared by others. Therefore, it is recommended to only share private information with people you trust.

13. Be cautious when sending personal information through electronic communication.

It’s important not to send sensitive information such as passwords, financial account details, or Social Security numbers via email, chat, or instant messaging, as these methods are not always secure. Instead, it’s safer to communicate this type of information over the phone.

Additionally, it’s crucial to avoid sharing private information with unknown people online. This includes details like your phone number or address that you wouldn’t want to give to a stranger.

14. Respect others’ privacy and get their consent before sharing information or photos of them.

Before posting anything related to others, make sure to obtain their permission. This includes photos, emails, or private details they may have shared with you.

Always be mindful of others’ privacy and avoid sharing anything that they may find compromising or damaging without their consent. Additionally, it’s important not to post or share others’ personal information without their permission.

Effective online communication involves being mindful of the way you express yourself, being respectful to others, and being cautious when sharing information.

Some tips include proofreading your writing, avoiding slang and abbreviations in formal settings, reviewing the rules and etiquette of online communities, verifying information before sharing it, being aware of who can see what you post online, avoiding sending sensitive information over chat or email, and asking permission before posting about others. By following these guidelines, you can maintain a positive and professional online presence and communicate effectively with others.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to communicate online effectively. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here