The online work world is new to most of us, and there are a lot of wrinkles that still need to be ironed out. When we are mainly communicating via text and email, things can get lost in the translation. Whether you are a buyer or a seller in an online marketplace, it can pay off to take some time and get the basics of good online communication practices under your belt! When it comes to effective digital communication, it’s important to remember to stay calm, remember that context can get lost via the written word and that attention to details really matters.
Online Communication Tip #1: Don’t Make Assumptions
It’s important to not make assumptions when you are a remote worker or employer. Always make sure that your seller or buyer understands what is expected of them and that they have a clear idea of what you will deliver. A battle about who said what and when is unpleasant for everyone: try to avoid miscommunications by being sure you’ve spelled out just what you expect.
Online Communication Tip #2: Respond to Questions Quickly
No one likes being made to wait. When it comes to digital communication, buyers and sellers alike can experience stress not knowing if an email went through or if you read it. It’s a great practice to check your messages frequently and to respond right away. Even a short response such as, “I received your message and will respond this evening,” is a great idea for keeping others in the loop.
Online Communication Tip #3: When in Doubt, Ask Questions
Sometimes in the online marketplace, wires get crossed. If you are confused about something or need guidance – go ahead and ask for help. It’s always best to double check the specs on a project before doing work that needs to be redone. If you are unsure a seller understood your request, it’s not annoying to reach out and ask. Asking questions stops misunderstandings from happening, and everyone benefits in the end!
Online Communication Tip #4: Always Be Clear
If you have a vision for what a project will look like, do your absolute best to convey this to your buyer or seller. It’s the best way to get the results that you want or to give your buyer the results they are looking for. A great way to get extra insight on what an end result will be is to find similar projects online and send out links to show what you are imagining. When you have a visual focus to discuss, the details can become a lot more clear and the results will be more accurate.
Online Communication Tip #5: Don’t Over Extend
It’s easy to take on a lot of jobs or hire a lot of micro-workers at once. It’s key, however, to not over-extend yourself so that you don’t leave your team disappointed and holding an empty bag. Take on only what you can handle and work at a manageable pace as you learn to navigate the online working world. Remember that slow and steady almost always wins the race.
Online Communication Tip #6: There’s an App for That
Sometimes messaging just isn’t the best way to effectively communicate. Just as online work is changing, so too is the way in which we communicate online. Apps for collaborative writing (Google Docs) and work management (Trello) can be real help when messaging back and forth is too time-consuming or cumbersome. Another fantastic choice for online communication is Skype, which allows for voice and text chatting back and forth.
To sum it up, basic communication skills are key. Keep in mind that without tone of voice or facial expressions, things can get lost in translation. Side step making jokes that could be misinterpreted out of context and always err on the side of over-explaining. Ask questions, keep correspondences friendly and try to be as prompt as possible!