Modern People Skills Reminders for Social Media Greatness #peopleskills

Modern People Skills: Great Tips for Social Media Communication

Social media presents many challenges in communication. Perhaps the greatest challenge is that we are communicating with millions of people who don’t know us.

As we express our opinion to strangers we run head on into the challenge of first — and lasting — impressions. A negative tweet never really disappears from people’s view of us. The good news is that modern people skills can easily handle these challenges.

Modern People Skills: Image is sign "Strangers Hall"

Modern People Skill for Social Media Greatness image by: ell brown on Flickr.

Grateful for image by ell brown via Flickr Creative Commons License.

Modern People Skills Reminders for Social Media Greatness

Modern people skills apply the value of traditional civility to modern day communication challenges.

Create and preserve a positive authentic image!

  1. If it sounds like an order, it can turn people off. When we add the word please, it becomes a request.
  2. If a connection’s general behavior is a bother, we have the choice to unfollow/unfriend them. This may be a better choice than issuing them an order that everyone sees. One Twitter connection tweeted at me, stop tweeting quotes about …! Everyone could see his command. What impression of him does it create and leave with all those who read it?
  3. Many people see sarcasm as a form of anger. The less they know us, the greater the chance they see it this way when it’s directed at them. This traditional belief applies to modern people skills: If we can’t say something in a civil way, don’t say it now.
  4. Questioning people’s motives — even with formality — can sound accusatory. “May I inquire as to why you are doing this?” sets a condescending tone requesting justification. A more relaxed question can get the same information while projecting a positive image, “I’d like to understand this better. Can we chat or email about it?” Easy does it! Modern people skills honor everyone’s need for care and consideration.
  5. Stating opinion as fact can leave a negative impression; stating opinion as opinion can invite a healthy positive exchange of opinions! Mutual respect is still a key part of modern people skills.
  6. We leave a positive impression by owning our own feelings instead of assigning them to others. Statements like, “You are trying to discredit my opinion” can come across as insecure and childish. In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt: “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.” If people are discussing and debating your opinion, engage in the discussion by creatively restating it and positively conversing with others.
  7. People see listening and discussing as a positive sign of strength and openness. Arguing, bashing, and condemning can leave scars on those bashed — and on our image — for a very long time.
  8. Take extra care in the early days of building relationships. Don’t assume that strangers will see complete frankness in a good light. It is actually a privilege others give us as we earn their trust.

    Relationships and the trust they build give interpersonal context to what is said. Without those preexisting relationships, raw authenticity can come across as rude, self-absorbed, boorish, rigid, disagreeable, and even bullying.

  9. Many would like to believe that authenticity — at any length — wins the day. Some go even further and claim that civility and authenticity are at odds. They aren’t. Modern people skills reminder: We can be authentic and civil at the same time!

Civility provides a cushion of respect that enables listening and acceptance of an authentic honest message. Bluntness provides no cushion and our image can come crashing down! Modern people skills reminder: Words can woo or wound; create bonds, not scars.

What modern people skills reminder will you add to this list?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
Honesty May Hurt but Blunt Burns Forever
7 Steps From Brutally Blunt to Helpfully Honest

©2012-2013 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results. Kate also invites you to connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter. She welcomes your interaction!

21 Responses to “Modern People Skills Reminders for Social Media Greatness #peopleskills”

  1. Kate,
    Thanks for this. It reminds me of the times I have so often fallen in to the same hole with emails that I have sent! It never ceases to surprise me how easily emails can be misinterpreted! I now hold back and pick up the phone rather than enter into an email thread that is clearly going to spiral downwards. I guess the difference with blog postings comes from the very fact that they are written for everyone to see and are not directed to any one person in particular.

    I particularly liked your comment about opinions. I value people that have strong opinions and that can articulate their reasoning behind the opinion. Stating an opinion as fact seems to me to show weakness in the position being taken due to a lack of ability to argue the point with sound reasoning.

    Looking forward to more on this subject,



    • Kate Nasser says:

      Hi Peter,
      That suggestion is one of my favs as well. It smoothes but doesn’t squelch and opens many doors.

      Thanks for your contribution here.

      Warmest wishes,

  2. Martina says:

    Good post Kate.

    We must own up to who we are to be taken seriously. It doesn’t take long to destroy your own credibility be childish, churlish or envious behavior. Take yourself and your actions seriously, and other will too.


    • Kate Nasser says:

      I like your slant on this Martina. Even when we make mistakes, if people see we are serious about the impact and sincerely sorry — it makes a big difference.

      Self-awareness and self-management speak highly of character.

  3. Khalid says:

    Hi Kate,

    Keep on inspiring me with your posts please 🙂

    You tackled a very important topic Kate!

    Verbal vs written expressions! Written tweets in social media lose what face to face communication have which is body language! I could easily say “do you really mean ….?” in a tweet and no one will know whether I’m angry of what happened or just confused and asking for clarification!

    Lucky to follow you Kate 🙂


  4. Hello Ms. Nasser (or may I call you Kate?),

    Excellent points – especially about how the same thing can be viewed very differently depending on whether the recipient knows the sender.

    Wrt Question #4: I understand some non-analytical personalities may find being asked why they did something problematic. On the other hand, as an ultra-analytical personality, I find it offensive to be expected not to ask why, when I’m trying to understand something…so in my view it’s a wash.

    I appreciate your suggestion about simply stating if you like something and want to understand the value of it. However, it can be putting the cart before the horse – sometimes, I can’t possibly know whether I like, hate or just don’t care about something until I know why it’s being done.

    IYHO, what’s the most polite way – or, failing that, the least impolite way – to ask someone who doesn’t know you well why they’re doing something?

    Thank you very much, and keep up the good work!

    Jeff Deutsch

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Dear Jeff,
      Excellent question and one that many analytics ask me.

      To answer it, I need to break it into situations:
      #1 When you are not being asked if you like it or what you think about it, the “why” question is the most problematic. Consider in this situation that the person doesn’t necessarily care what you think and therefore you are asking permission to intrude. In this case, something like: “May I learn from you? I am curious as to why you do it this way ….” Else the “why” question has no context and certainly no permission.

      #2 When someone you don’t know is impacting you and yet has not asked your opinion, it’s safe to first state how something is impacting you and then ask nicely to understand their purpose.

      Many analytics tell me that they are offended when they can’t ask “why”. I do understand it. Nonetheless, if you are initiating a why with someone you don’t know and who doesn’t know you, I respectfully state that it isn’t a wash.

      When someone on social media gets a “why” question out of the blue from someone they don’t know, the presumptuousness of the intrusion is something that will stick to the questioner’s online image and haunt all their future interaction.

      I hope the suggestions above will minimize this and thank you, sincerely, for asking such a substantive question.

      Warmest regards and thanks,

  5. Hello Kate,

    First off, thank you very much for your clear and detailed advice. I’ll put it to good use.

    You’re absolutely right in that people who want to ask questions should consider the feelings of those they want to ask. For example, people with analytic personalities need to understand that the people they’re asking questions of may have very different personalities.

    By the same token, you rightly pointed out that some people ask why because they’re analytics, and thus don’t mean to be presumptuous. Therefore, I respectfully state that people on the other end should in turn consider the feelings of the questioner and think about giving the benefit of the doubt before concluding that the question is presumptuous. The person asking may just be an analytic trying to better understand the situation.

    I’m sure you’ll agree that turnabout is fair play. Courtesy on one side and assuming courtesy on the other are two halves of a very good idea.

    Keep up the good work, Kate. I retweeted your tweet linking to here because I believe many of my readers desperately need the kind of advice you give.


    Jeff Deutsch

  6. Anne Egros says:

    Thank you Kate, I really like this post, it really points the issues and you give nice suggestions like stating it is your opinion only (IMHO works very well). Most people online completely forget that we cannot get clues from body language as in real in person situations. Some are just plain rude because they feel they can hide behind a pseudo but even with an “artist name”, people will turn their back to those who don’t care and all the efforts and time to try to build productive relationships will be destroyed.

  7. Tom Rhodes says:

    Great post. People use social media for business, learning and social interaction. Respect and civility go a long way in building positive lasting relationships. Unfortunately, there are those that have trouble understanding once you hit send you own it.
    I have followed a sports talk host for a year. Recently he has received a lot of uncivilized tweets. And retweeted them. I unfollowed because it didn’t interest me.
    In SM we control the dialogue.

  8. Jon Mertz says:

    Some great advice and guidance, Kate. Asking thoughtful and inquiring questions can help understand someone’s point of view and gain great insight into their position on an issue or principle. As Anne pointed out, with exchanges of words, we lose the body language so questions can help gain understanding. Our questions need to be open-ended and thoughtful inquiries. Thank you. Jon

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I echo your suggestion two times over Jon. Open-ended questions are a wellspring of possibilities for relationships and success. As we do the Twitter chats, we witness the power of open-ended questions. When we are working on teams, open-ended questions spark creativity and exchange.

      Thanks so much for high lighting this aspect of communication for great people skills!

  9. Very helpful ideas and practices. Thank you, Kate. To your question: what modern people skills reminder will you add to this list? – I’d add that today, having access to all the channels that facilitate conversations across the globe virtually, I remind myself to embrace the differences and diversity, and recognize what a privilege it is to experience this variety. Our conversations and interactions today can be absolutely generative and developmental in the blink of an eyelid. Something I appreciate enormously.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Wonderful addition Robyn. I love your focus on the positive and powerful side of social media — growth and development. Bravo!

      Best wishes and thanks,

KateNasser on Facebook KateNasser Blog KateNasser on Twitter KateNasser on LinkedIn KateNasser on Pinterest