The act previously known as reading

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Log on to listen

The act previously known as reading must evolve to a new competency: online listening. …

Online listening leverages many of the skills and behaviors that optimize face-to-face or voice-to-voice interactions — with a few twists that allow them to make the most of the electronic environment.

Respect: … technology-enabled communication [is] regarded as something to slip in among (or concurrent with) other tasks. Online listening demands a different mindset. It demands treating electronic communication more reverently, affording it the same level of respect and focused attention as if it was being delivered verbally.

Consideration: … we don’t consistently invest the same level of cognitive energy as we would if the other person was on the phone or across the table. … online listening requires that we think beyond the characters on the screen to identify with the sender and his or her purposes, intentions or emotions. …

Discerning: … We’ve all witnessed (or perhaps engaged in) the phenomenon known as e-mail escalation, where emotions intensify and the “CC” field explodes in a way that would likely not happen in real life. … It’s all about discerning when it’s time to kick the keyboard aside and pick up the phone or walk down the hallway to realize better results.”


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