Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finding Your Online Voice

I have been on blogging hiatus, but I am going to try to be more intentional about adding posts here whenever I answer student questions. Here is that exact thing. A student asked about finding the right tone/voice when teaching online. My reply...

Have you ever talked with someone who was snippy and seemed short-tempered? Not fun, is it? Such conversations make us want to end the conversation as quickly as possible and move on, would you agree?

There is something about words on a page or a screen which come across with something akin to that kind of tone unless we work hard at softening the message. Obviously as an online facilitator the last thing we want is for our students to end conversations with us and move away as quickly as possible. So having a terse, or snippy tone in our communications is not what we want.

One way to note if your tone is too short-tempered is to imagine a f2f conversation with someone. What elements of a 'real' conversation are not part of your online communication? Add those into your text-based conversations. I am prone to short, almost snippy answers. As a busy person, I answer the question that is asked. However, I have learned to go back and re-read and picture myself in a f2f situation. What would I say in person that I haven't said here?

Finding your voice and adjusting your tone is a key part of being a successful facilitator.

Thanks for asking a great question!

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