Building stronger online relationships

By | July 27, 2011

For all the technology wonders that we enjoy, how we use the technology to communicate varies wildly at all levels of business and in societies. However also at all levels many common sense practices are being overlooked. Technology used in a manner, rather than increasing productivity and enriching life as it should, instead reducing productivity, wasting time and damaging relationships.

It is ultimately the person that is the driving seat and this article shows how making some little changes to your communication could give you or your business a much needed boast.

I hope this article gives everyone some useful insight and tips when it comes to building stronger online relationships.

 

Demonstrating Patience

The world rapidly appears to be shrinking with technology developments, increased connectivity and cheaper costs. People no longer wait for a fax to come chugging through or often a letter via the post to discuss an agreement.

Often we will full into the traps of checking our emails too often, which can not only knock productivity, but also create unfair expectations upon others when expecting emails.

As editor of this blog I often receive an email one day, only to have someone expect a reply the same day when that isn’t required or asked for, but nevertheless chase me within a day. Also regularly I will receive an email with a guest post submission to review on a Friday afternoon, with a person chasing me on the Monday morning.

I already work too many hours and it is important you don’t allow someone else’s expectations to knock your productivity or indeed have you dealing with emails during your evenings and weekends.

 

The Tips: So the tip when waiting is to realise showing a degree of patience, factor in time zones, weekends, bank holidays etc and when in doubt wait extra time before chasing someone will show professionalism. It could mean the difference between a good outcome or grease the way for a smoother relationship.

Also reducing email checks yourself when possible if your business allows can help you with productivity and expectations. Allow yourself time to relax and this will not only increase happiness, but hopefully help deal with stress.

 

Keeping in contact

It is all too easy to get overloaded and to lose contact with someone. Life can seem too busy at times and keeping in touch with people can be a struggle for many.

I often find people appearing out of nowhere asking for favours and support, with enquiring how I am as a side consideration, with them trying to convey they’ve been too busy to communicate and that is acceptable. They are wrong, it isn’t acceptable.

However good strong working relationships don’t just involve communication when there is a requirement, a need or a problem, but because both parties want to build a strong working relationship.

 

The Tip: Send a person a quick email every so often touching base, asking how they are. Both parties should enjoy this level of communication and it will hopefully contribute to a stronger relationship. It is okay to move on from working relationships if your finances allow this. There will always be selfish people expecting your time on demand and personally I break those connections when possible. When they resurface the favours or time are not waiting as they expect.

 

Types of Communication

With online communication the ways in which we all can be contacted can spiral out of control. You could receive a facebook message one minute, then a skype call the next and find you have three emails waiting your response and all before you’ve actually produced any work.

Plus some people will try and force communication types onto others, whilst others will limit how you can communicate with them. It can be tricky trying to manage effective communication with a wide range of contacts across the world.

 

The Tip: It is best to communicate strongly via a smaller amount of connectivity technologies, rather than weakly by a wider range.

For instance for this blog I’ve limited how people can communicate with me. An email address for when people wish to write a guest post and naturally the blog comments. I choose not to have a contact page or an about / bio page with links etc. I set out what level of communication I desire for the blog and do the same elsewhere.

I am consistently trying to improve my communication through my preferred technologies and links, but at the same time limit or remove other technologies from my life.

 

Social Networks

People get too worried about losing touch with their social network connections, often impacting their productivity and other types of online relationships.

Over on my personal twitter account with roughly two thousand followers I’ve set it to private, told everyone I’ve turned off message notifications and I’ve gone on a twitter holiday for personal tweeting.

My Facebook & LinkedIn profiles are up-to-date, which is all I currently want from those social networks. Poking people? Playing games? Answering surveys? Reading about the best coffee in x,y or z locations? Saying No to event invites for locations across the globe? Reading who has done what, where and with whom? What is the point, I just don’t bother.

Yet my personal YouTube account has over three hundred videos, this blog has over ten thousand twitter followers and I’m active in a small selection of forums. My personal blog and this blog grow month on month in traffic due to the time I give them.

Basically I choose how I want to communicate, narrow my focus and rather than trying to handle a huge range of social networks daily, I limit my focus to smaller social network activities, resulting in increased social network productivity and enjoyment for myself.

 

The Tip: Build fewer stronger social network connections rather than trying to juggle multiple profiles that you don’t have time for. Be weary of social network habits or features that take time, but don’t actually provide value to you.

 

Conclusion

I could of written far more and provided more tips and insight. What works for me, might not work for you, but giving time and effort to building stronger online relationships will provide many benefits, hopefully including a stronger online presence as well, if that is a desire also.