tips for good communication

5 Tips for Good Communication

Communication is key in times of change. Even though we can connect through email, text, social media, and video-chatting, quality communication takes skill and purpose.

This isn’t the time to go silent. When you’re texting, emailing, video conferencing, and calling about everything in life – some communication wires are bound to get crossed.

Follow these 5 tips to ensure that your communication about work and school is appropriate and helpful.

1. Follow the rules of business communication

Rule #1: Email about class; text about life. Emails are generally considered more formal than texts. Following this rule will prevent you from blurring the lines between your professional and personal communication.

That being said, always follow the instruction of your teachers if they desire a certain form of communication. 

Rule #2: Use proper grammar and punctuation. Do we even have to say this? If you miss a comma, you will be forgiven. But seriously, capitalize your sentences and use punctuation. Also, steer clear of text lingo except for very informal conversations. Spell out your words and use complete sentences. 

Rule #3: Put an actual subject in the subject line. It’s just the decent human being thing to do. Summarize the content of the email in a short phrase. If you have a short question, consider putting it directly in the subject line.

2. Communicate frequently

Frequent communication will fix a host of problems. If you have any questions, don’t wait for a misunderstanding to cause hurt feelings about grades or group projects. Communicate early and frequently.

Also, even though we are all working from home, classic 9-5 hours still apply in some ways. So, observe “office hours” when sending and responding to emails. 

Don’t expect your professor to respond to an email you sent after 5 p.m. until the next day. If you have a question about a quiz due tonight, ask that question first thing this morning. 

Similarly, respond to your emails within 24 hours. It is vital to observe proper email etiquette. Read ALL your emails ALL the way through. And if there is a question you need to answer, respond. Professors don’t send emails because they like to listen to themselves type. They send emails because they are trying to communicate valuable information that you need to succeed. 

3. Set up zoom study dates with friends

Even the most independent study expert can benefit from bouncing ideas off a friend. Set up a Skype call or zoom study session with a friend for some social interaction and quality study.

If group study isn’t really your thing, use this avenue as a form of accountability. FaceTime a friend and study in silence for an hour. At the end you can tell each other what you accomplished in that time.

4. Attend video class sessions

With limited social interaction these days, video class sessions are opportunities to see people already built into your schedule. Take advantage of them.

Also, your professor has important information to say. During a regular semester, skipping class means missing material. Don’t assume that the new online modality will excuse you from being responsible for information shared in class. You can’t complain that you don’t know what is going on in a class if you fail to come to video sessions.

5. Be kind

We’ve all heard it before. We are living in unprecedented times. Our lives look drastically different than they did a few months ago, and many families are struggling to transition, including your professors and classmates.

So give grace.

Your professors and classmates aren’t perfect and neither are you.

Therefore, be cautious when communicating through technology. It’s easy to miscommunicate tone or attitude over text or email, so be careful with your words. Maintain a pleasant tone, and say please and thank you. In moderation and in the right context, emojis can help as well.

In these days, it’s obvious how helpful technology can be for staying connected. However, we shouldn’t expect it to work as seamlessly as face-to-face conversations. So be intentional with your communication through this time of quarantine and after.