This week on #bufferchat, we explored ways to improve our interpersonal communication skills. We discussed tips for sharing thoughtful advice, effective ways to respond to negativity, strategies for bringing these skills to our online interactions, and much more.

Read on to discover all of the awesome insights that were shared during the chat!

Catch our weekly Twitter chat, #bufferchat, at TWO times every Wednesday for valuable industry insights and to meet hundreds of other smart marketers and social media enthusiasts. Same topic, same place, just at different times – feel free to join in to whichever chat time works best for you!

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Bufferchat on March 29, 2017 (Topic = Interpersonal Communication)

This week’s stats:
1st Bufferchat: 27 participants; 267 tweets; reach of 974,918
2nd Bufferchat: 170 participants; 1,344 tweets; reach of 1,756,340

Q1: How do you communicate with clarity?

From the community:

  • “Lead with why. The purpose. The context. People always seek that to better understand how to respond.” @matageli
  • “Consider what chapters of the story the audience has “read.” Sometimes I must start at the beginning, or the middle.” @JeremyDBond
  • “First, ban all the acronyms. No, not everyone “knows” them. :)” @dariasteigman
  • “By combining empathy + logic. Understand what your audience connects to + how they understand info. Plan around that.” @kiza_design
  • “Keep it kind and encouraging – you would be surprised how much clearer things are when people are happy to see/hear you!” @bradleebartlett

See all the great answers to question 1 here!

Q2: Do you tend to overcommunicate or undercommunicate?

From the community:

  • “It depends on the situation. I’ve done both. Now I make a conscious effort to say more with less words.” @devindcoleman
  • “Overcommunicate! In trying to make sure I communicate clearly, I can get a bit wordy. Twitter helps keep me grounded. 140. :)” @eloquentcontent
  • “I used to be over-communicating, esp in difficult and sensitive situations. Now I try to create a framework: how, why, what.” @ZalkaB
  • “I wouldn’t say that I undercommunicate but I like to keep things precise which is most of the times misinterpreted.” @sanchit_raina
  • “I overcommunicate, but appreciate undercommunicators. Nonverbal communication tells a lot…” @easttum

See all the great answers to question 2 here!

Q3: How would you recommend offering feedback or advice in a thoughtful way?

From the community:

  • “In question form. Ask questions that lead to thought provoking answers or discussions they might not have thought of.” @MichaelLindauer
  • “Make sure you’re not just REACTING. Come at it from the point of view of the person you’re giving feedback to.” @Lauchlin
  • “Think first, offer a different perspective. Recommend what to research but don’t necessarily answer the question for them.” @TimothyMohler
  • “Its much better to say someone is wrong with a new suggestion and a piece of advice, than just saying ‘you are wrong’.” @RE_Wertheimer
  • “Use, “what I’m hearing you say is…” and paraphrase the idea/question before offering feedback or advice.” @lkcalloway

See all the great answers to question 3 here!

Q4: How can you bring interpersonal communication skills to online interactions?

From the community:

  • “Understand that even when people are reaching out to your brand, they want to hear from a person, not a brand.” @natpapazian
  • “Listen and engage like a normal human being. The only difference is that you’re writing it, not speaking.” @trafficjammedia
  • “Definitely hard to get your personality across online, but I think emojis solve a little bit of that problem.” @Monicalnfelise
  • “Engagement! Do you reply to a person’s question/comment in person? Yes – so make sure you do that online.” @tfiend138
  • “Smile while typing/calling. Behave as if the person was right in front of you in your ‘shop’ b/c they are!” @WPBarista

See all the great answers to question 4 here!

Q5: What are effective ways to respond to negativity from coworkers/friends/etc?

From the community:

  • “Express #empathy and always be the bigger person. Just because you’re listening, doesn’t mean you have to agree.” @kaitlynuy_
  • “If they want to be negative, be positive and remain classy. Your day is yours after all. Don’t let them ruin it.” @Studio_Toulouse
  • “Begin by listening; evaluate, consider, recognize, and address in a positive way that brings value for all.” @Chris_Santiago_
  • “Remember that negativity from someone else is a reflection of the person projecting it, and not a reflection of you.” @Restaurant_wifi
  • “Respond instead of react. Listen and work it out in a calm and collected matter.” @funsized_jennyc

See all the great answers to question 5 here!

Q6: What is one mistake you notice that people make in how they communicate with others?

From the community:

  • “Communication can slip into a one-way street. Too much talking by one person and not enough listening.” @JKatzaman
  • “Big mistake I notice often is when people already go into defense mode & are 2-3 sentences ahead of you with zero listening.” @kbbonk
  • “Over-talking people is a huge mistake. Be respectful. Wait Your Turn.” @southbaysome
  • “Many are too busy thinking about what they want to say rather than listening to what is being said. B4 speaking, listen! :-)” @mbti_estj
  • “Starting a convo w/o bringing the person up to speed. We forget that no one can read our minds. Context is key.” @J_Rouser

See all the great answers to question 6 here!

Q7: What are ways to improve and/or practice our communication skills?

From the community:

  • “T.H.I.N.K. before you speak. T – True? H- Helpful? I – Interesting? N – Nice? K – Kind? Someone said that.” @SocialSMktg
  • “We can improve communication skills by seeking learning opportunities like this chat. Read others’ feedback to learn.” @luckylou
  • “I occasionally try not to speak, where I ordinarily lead conversations. Exercise listening + learn others styles.” @ARoberts021
  • “Professional organizations (, , etc.) help a lot! Practice makes perfect!” @ClockworkOps
  • “Learn from others. Surround yourself w/respected, wise, and well-liked people. If you’re lucky, it’ll rub off!” @griffinkelton

See all the great answers to question 7 here!


Thank you so much to everyone who participated and helped each other in this chat!

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

Image sources: UnSplash

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Written by Arielle Tannenbaum

Arielle is the community strategist at Buffer. In addition to spending her time building community and designing meaningful experiences, she also enjoys healthy cooking, practicing yoga, modern dancing, traveling with her husband, and living mindfully.