Tips for online communication

by UAA Office of Equity and Compliance  |   

As online communication becomes our primary mode, it is important to be armed with tips on etiquette to prevent any misperceptions that may cause offense. We’ve all heard of Dr. Albert Mehrabian’s 7-38-55% Rule, indicating that words, tone of voice and body language respectively account for 7%, 38% and 55% of personal communication. Whether you believe those percentages or not, when talking to someone in person you see facial expressions and hear the tone of their voice, which is missed when sending an email or posting on Blackboard. So, just some reminders to keep in mind as our computers become our primary voice.

  1. Always use a greeting and a closing – This communicates respect, and without it, the communication can be perceived as more pointed than intended.
  2. Read before sending – Often, emails are responded to reactively, which could be perceived as defensive or not listening. Read the email sent to you thoroughly, and read your response thoroughly to assess for tone before sending.
  3. Avoid email banter – When emails bounce back and forth, it may be easier to pick up the phone and have a conversation, which minimizes misunderstanding.
  4. Please and thank you – No matter who you are communicating with, your message has a higher likelihood of being heard and considered if given in kindness and respect.

Overall, we are all responsible for creating a safe and healthy campus environment, and every interaction that we have creates an impact.

To report any concern of discrimination or harassment, please contact the Office of Equity and Compliance at or 907-786-6086.

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