Picture this. You’re sat in your friends front room with a coffee and they are reminiscing on their recent holiday. Where they stayed, what they ate, who they met, what they liked and disliked. If you’re lucky enough, you may get to sit through a tirade of holiday snaps.
Smile cemented, eyes bright, cheeks slightly achy, you sound interested, ask an appropriate question every now and then and compliment them no end on what a lovely time they must have had. This doesn’t mean that your mind hasn’t wondered or you are not thinking about what you want for tea.
Online conversation is no different. Just because you are chatting online, it doesn’t mean that you can multi, multi, multi task. The person on the other end will know if you are smiling and interested. Fact. It’s so easy to answer quickly, without thinking, while you are answering a few emails, chatting to your colleague or reading your favourite blog. Next time you reply to a post, an email or comment on someone’s link, picture their face (if you know what they look like – and if you don’t picture your boss) and give them the time they deserve. Elaborate on what you would normally write and talk to them as if they were in the room with you.
Words are important. So are people. Make them feel like they’ve been listened to and understood. All the time.