Texting, emailing, twittering-it’s all the rage. But recently I got myself into trouble with a typed communication.
Let’s talk about communication. It’s a process of exchanging information to share knowledge, express feelings, state our positions, or share our skills. However, communication is more than words. It’s made up of verbal (words) and nonverbal (gestures, expressions, etc.) messages.
Researchers in communication suggest that only 7% of a message is sent through words and the rest is all nonverbal expressions. A lot of the time it is what the person is not saying, their inflection, their gestures, their expression, their tone, and most importantly-your gut reaction to what they’ve said-which speaks louder than words. With texting and emailing you only get the written word which definitely has its limitations, especially if you do not know the person well. (That was my faux pas.)
When you type your communication, it is difficult to express your feelings and intentions. Some emails have added emoticons, but watching a little smiley-face jump up and down is not quite the same thing. If someone sends you a smiley-face, what is their true emotion? Are they serious, lying, depressed, or being sarcastic?
When communicating with family and friends, you already know their intentions and feelings toward you. If they accidentally type something that sounds a little odd, you assume the best. That doesn’t always happen with acquaintances. With emails and texting, we don’t get the chance to stop the person and ask, “What was that you said?” All we see are those glaring words on the screen that we are enraged about and quickly respond to without thinking it through. People rarely text back and ask, “What did you mean?” or “Could you explain?”
For some reason with the written word, what you type is fact and not to be questioned. If someone typed it, they meant it. But how often in verbal communication does something come out wrong? In that case, we get the chance to quickly say, “I didn’t mean that the way it sounded.” Unfortunately, once the message is sent – it’s sent. And unfortunately, it might be sent to more people than you had planned. (Another one of my faux pas.)
The current estimate is that more than ten million texts and emails are sent each second and are rapidly replacing all other forms of communication. Sad to think about when you have something better to do with your time. It must be time to pause and consider all the possibilities portrayed in the above three examples.
It can be time to step back and consider your own role in creating this media pattern. Sending the above example to ten people one at a time can seem like a really productive use of your time. However, in this case, it will take longer to resolve one person’s actions and become incontestable proof that the message was sent because of you.
At the end of the day, it does not matter how fast you may lightning up a social media campaign if your message is not clear and direct. Even if you are certain about your message, there is always room for interpretation if the communication is not clear. Therefore, the best weapon is the amount of detail you can provide about yourself on your profile page. If people can read that detail, they will be excitedly consuming your messages.
So take the time to really think about what your profile indicates about you. If you have a blog or website, include that in your profile with a simple, relevant tag. You can also add photos and videos to your profile to further enhance your message. The idea is to make your visitors feel they are getting a sense of what you are like and trust you. This will open up more opportunities for you in following through with those opportunities.
Great communication and follow-up can go a long way both in obtaining new contacts as well as keeping in touch with old ones. Even for those that are currently keeping in touch, it is important to update and remain informed. Taking timely action allows you to be there for the new business and to ensure that it is someone that can come to their attention and trust that they need no longer.
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