8 Habits to Communicate Better in a Social Media World


“Just because they build it, do we have to come?” Yes, technology know-how and social media savvy are essential for all of us who want to stay tuned with the times. But “No,” we don’t have to immerse ourselves in the bad habits modeled and created by others. We can communicate like the speaking pros we are. After all, we model excellence, right? As Aristotle said, “Excellence is not an act. It is a habit.”

Here are eight habits to communicate better in a Twitter/blog world.

  1. Be succinct. Use the subject line in your email or blog and keep it fresh. Don’t do more. Do less. How few words can you use? I learned this from my editors.
  2. Be curious “live.” The Web allows the most instant access to communication that we’ve ever had, yet we rarely ask good questions of the person we work next to.
  3. Get up. Get out of your box–physically. People are complaining everywhere about people hiding behind text messaging and voicemail. Go knock on a door.
  4. Write well. If your spelling, grammar and writing skills are out of date or sloppy, it shows now more than ever.
  5. Take bite-sized pieces. Don’t try to tackle more technology than your psyche can handle. Read your email at selected times of day. Give yourself a time limit on Web research. Put your phone out of sight.
  6. Don’t assume. Since the invention of the memo, senders have assumed that receivers have understood it. Not true! One-way messages are rarely interpreted as the sender intended. Communication clarity requires feedback.
  7. Be honest. Apologize readily. Everyone is busy. Our capacity to make mistakes is even greater. Deadlines get missed. Comments get misinterpreted.
  8. Find humor. Mark Twain had a challenging childhood and lost many loved ones, including children, to illness. Yet he lived a long life filled with philosophy, humor and wit.  There is humor in just about everything technology thrusts upon us.

If we work to engage these eight habits on a daily basis, we can take on technology without losing our humanity. If you’re wondering where to begin…how about simply getting out of your seat or picking up the phone and asking a colleague, “How’s it going?” or “Could I have your quick opinion on this?” Be sure to do this either on the phone or in person. It’s just not quite the same via email. Another simple start is to review every email you write today, and make it shorter before you send it. Review the list and find a few to focus on now!

Cyndi Maxey

Cyndi Maxey

Cyndi Maxey, MA, CSP, is a veteran speaker, coach and author of six books on communication. Her two “20-somethng” children and Labrador Retriever Max Maxey, add both chaos and balance to her life.
Cyndi Maxey
Cyndi Maxey
Cyndi Maxey
Cyndi Maxey

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