Perception is the ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through your senses. Our personality and professional image represents and is part of how we are all perceived.
Words are what shape that ‘perception’ online. Your words are more powerful now than they have ever been. Did you know that there are over 171,464 words in the Oxford dictionary, each one with its very own special meaning?
Words create beautiful poetry and songs. We all understand how we can get completely lost in a magical book, or moved by a powerful speech. Words can make us laugh, cry, angry or happy – and perhaps all at once! In short, words are powerful. Speeches, poems and famous quotes, are powerful because they connect with us on an emotional level. They resonate or don’t, but one thing is for sure ‘words’ create change, whether that is for the greater good, or not.
In a world where real communication is drowning in online words, are we losing the ability to truly stop, listen and think before we start a conversation? One that is truly mindful, respectful and interesting?
People are human – not robots
We are always being told that robots will take over the world in the not-too-distant future. But for now, it is real people who are going to read and absorb the messages you share – often with no ‘delete’ button. Once your message is out, it’s out!
Technology has opened our eyes to many real world and life issues, and we are instantly updated on good and bad news. Technology also helps a positive movement go viral. It can be a way of sharing the truth, which of course is the first step towards change.
On the flip side, technology has exposed us to mindless statements and fake news that is influencing the way we now perceive everything that happens around us.
So are we less able to make up our minds on what is right and what is wrong, because so many faceless people have already decided for us?
Why your perception doesn’t matter that much!
You can communicate a statement on social media intended in jest, that will then be interpreted by millions of individual users. We don’t own the words we share, the reader does.
This means that as an individual or a business, once you have made a statement about a situation it is no longer your choice whether, or how, you want the world to hear it. You are instantly exposed to the interpretation of each individual.
So I wonder: would you deliver exactly the same message to a room full of people in person as you would from behind a keyboard?
If you’re feeling doubtful that you would (personally, I don’t think many people would!) – then maybe the next time you are about to share a message online, simply ask yourself: would I stand up and deliver this exact same message face-to-face?
If we consciously try, I believe the online world can be a force for good, and we can all control – and harness – the power of online words. So let’s start now.
Top tips for communicating with purpose:
Ask yourself these five questions each time you are about to communicate online and you will
- Who is going to receive your message? Would you be happy for the receiver to share that same message with your boss or for it to be posted on social media? If the answer is no, rewrite your message and share only what you would feel comfortable with this message going viral?
- What is the purpose of your message? Is this a message that needs to be sent online? Sometimes it is not, but due to time pressures, we are compelled to communicate online. Sometimes a difficult message is better delivered face to face, where you are truly able to read the person in front of you.
- How do you want to make the reader feel? Have you stopped to think what you want the message to convey? Sometimes we are busy, and we simply want to send that message without thinking how the reader will feel when they read your words. Start with how do I want the reader to feel? Are you trying to make the reader feel, ‘informed,’ ‘motivated,’ or ‘supported.’
- How do you sound? authentic and professional. Authentic and professional are not opposites, and that is something I hear very often. Authentic to me is speaking with integrity, honestly and professionally. Your tone of voice is ‘yours’; you own it and play a part in how you are perceived.
- When your message is out, it is out and you don’t control those words anymore. You cannot erase your online history, if you change your mind or viewpoint. Make sure it is a message worth sharing.
About the author
Nandip Aulak is a blogger and creative marketing expert with over 10 years experience in managing global brands. She blends her authentic writing style with her passion to bring diversity, equality, and cultural issues to life and to the forefront. Her mission is to create stories that provoke, motivate, and inspire her readers to connect with real life issues, to help change the culture so, that the world is inclusive, kinder and equal for all.