And no, it’s not nearly as dark as you may be thinking.
When I started my writing online about 5 months ago, I had no idea what I was in for. It was just an experiment that I always wanted to try, so I went for it.
And so far, it’s been great. I’ve made significant progress and I truly believe I’m getting a little bit better with every post I make.
However, in the process of developing this highly valuable skill, I’ve back-doored my way into developing another skill that I’ve always lacked and wanted to improve. And that skill is communication.
You may be thinking, “Well writing is a form of communication… So… Is this really that different?” Fair point, but let me explain.
Because yes, communication is a broad term. What I’m specifically referring to is communication with strangers – primarily one on one in the form of comments.
Before I had any sort of blog, I rarely had such interactions with strangers. When I first started writing online, dealing with comments was a bit strange. I appreciate them. I mean I really appreciate them. But I wasn’t prepared for how thoughtful some of them would be. I don’t mean to make that sound like a bad thing because it’s not. But to be honest, at first, it was slightly overwhelming.
I would get a notification and think oh look I got a comment. Then I come to find that it’s 300 words, very personal, and I would just kind of freeze up. I just wouldn’t know what to say right away, but I wanted to reciprocate with a thoughtful response. So I would wait a while and think about it. I always try to respond to comments, but back then it may have taken a while.
These days I’m still not the best at responding, but I’m better. I try to check for stats and notifications (at least) a couple of times per day and I still get a little anxious when a big batch of them come in. But again, it’s a good sort of anxious. I guess most people would call that excitement. Because I do love hearing from people.
So what’s changed?
After months of slowly progressing, I can safely say now that I’ve improved dramatically at this sort of communication. And I’m glad because it’s something I desperately needed work at.
The effects of this skill are not only felt online but have helped with in-person communication too. Small talk, crafting replies, and communicating with strangers. Little stuff that used to make me a bit nervous or anxious is becoming no big deal.
Also, it’s already proven useful for other things such as writing emails. I don’t write a ton of emails, but the ones I’ve done recently seem noticeably better than ones I’ve sent in the past. I’m more comfortable writing them now and it shows. The practice and consistency is paying off and now I write much more clearly.
Like I said, it’s come in useful.
How to develop communication skills through writing online
It’s simple, but it’s not always easy. Start trying to communicate with people more. Find excuses to do it. Here are some tips:
- Leave thoughtful comments. Everybody loves getting a positive comment. “Great post,” is a nice thing to say, but if you want to level up your comment game and leave a lasting impression on the author, be original. Reference their article. Quote them. Ask them a question. Show them that you read their work.
- Always respond to comments. This one is a freebie. Responding to comments is polite. There are many instances where the author won’t be able to respond and you by no means have to do it. But if you’re looking to improve at communication, it’s the perfect opportunity to start with.
- Reach out to more people. A good exercise that I’ve been using lately is reaching out to people even if I know they probably won’t respond. My go-to is tweeting at CEOs or other people I admire. It may be a little uncomfortable and or feel a bit silly, but who cares? It’s good practice and it’s worth a shot. And there’s always a chance that you might even get a response!
- Practice makes perfect. Just like any other skill, you’ll get better with time and practice. There’s no reason to take it too seriously, but no way around just doing it.
So here’s the thing. I didn’t set out with the intention of developing this skill.
It’s been a byproduct of my blog – something that started as a hobby. But now my blog is evolving. It’s helping me develop valuable skills like writing, communication, and networking.
It’s helping me meet new people and communicate in ways that I’ve never done before. And it’s also helping me share my thoughts with the world and open myself up to opportunities I never imagined.
And it all started with posting my writings online.
I’ve improved my communication skills as a result of engaging with comments which are a result of posting articles. It’s something that I never thought about, but in hindsight, it makes a lot of sense.
The decision to write online has helped me in a variety of ways. I have an article called “5 Reasons to Write” where I explain some of the other reasons that I think writing online is awesome if you want to check that out.
But accidentally improving my communication is especially cool to me precisely because it just kind of happened.
That’s all for this one!
Are you a writer? Did you ever struggle with communication? And how have these sort of interactions affected you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below!
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