Communication can be incredibly hard, and as technology improves, texting increases, and emails are more common than face-to-face conversations, so it’s really not getting any easier. Particularly when it comes to young students who have grown up being bombarded with technology, it can be challenging to learn how to effectively communicate with peers, parents, teachers, potential employers, and more.
Make Eye Contact
Teens are notorious for staring at their phones, tablets, or computers during conversations, so when they’re forced to make eye contact, it can feel kind of awkward. But think about how uncomfortable you are when someone isn’t making eye contact with you during a conversation, and be sure to look at the person when they’re talking to you and when you’re responding to them.
Be Present & Listen Actively
This goes along with the above point, but ensure that you’re actually paying attention to the person talking to you and are hearing and absorbing what they’re saying. If appropriate and necessary, take notes so that you can refer back to their comments later.
Be Clear & Concise
If you’re asking for something or are responding to someone else’s request, be clear and concise in what you’re saying. Be detailed in your expectations, or what you believe they expect of you, and confirm with them that what you’re hearing them say is correct. It’s always better to ask too many questions to ensure you understand something than to say you understand it but completely miss the point.
Avoid “Text Talk” and Online Lingo
When you’re emailing or texting a teacher, boss, potential employer, or another adult, avoid using texting language that you would use with your friends. Don’t use online lingo because they may not understand it and it tends to make you sound younger, less polite, and more unprofessional. Instead, use proper grammar, correct punctuation, and complete sentences.
Be Friendly, Yet Confident
Being polite and friendly goes a long way, so don’t underestimate the importance of being kind and cordial in your communication. At the same time, be sure you exude confidence to the best of your ability, of course without being too arrogant. Think about what you view as confident in other people and try to emulate that, and consider how you want to be treated and talked to, and treat others in that way.