And as the research indicates, younger people are four times more likely than Baby Boomers to prefer having these emotionally charged conversations over social media, so the need to learn to effectively communicate online is increasing.
"Social media platforms aren't the problem, it's how people are using them that is causing a degradation of dialogue that has potential to destroy our most meaningful personal relationships," says Grenny.
Grenny offers tips for communicating both candidly and respectfully on social media:
1. Check your motives. Social media hasn't only changed the way we communicate, it has modified our motives. Ask yourself, "Is my goal to get lots of 'likes' (or even provoke controversy)?" or "Do I want healthy dialogue?"
2. Replace hot words. If your goal is to make a point rather than score a point, replace "hot" words that provoke offense with words that help others understand your position. For example, replace "that is idiotic" with "I disagree for the following reasons..."
3. Pause to put emotions in check. Never post a comment when you're feeling emotionally triggered. Never! If you wait four hours you're likely to respond differently.
4. Agree before you disagree. It's fine to disagree, but don't point out your disagreement until you acknowledge areas where you agree. Often, arguers agree on 80 percent of the topic but create a false sense of conflict when they spend all their time arguing over the other 20 percent.
5. Trust your gut. When reading a response to your post and you feel the conversation is getting too emotional for an online exchange -- you're right! Stop. Take it offline. Or better yet, face-to-face.
About VitalSmarts: An innovator in corporate training and organizational performance, VitalSmarts is home to multiple training offerings, including the award-winning Crucial Conversations®, Crucial Confrontations®, Influencer®, and Change Anything Training. Each course improves key organizational outcomes by focusing on high-leverage skills and behavior-change strategies. The Company also has four New York Times best-selling books: "Crucial Conversations," "Crucial Confrontations," "Influencer," and "Change Anything." VitalSmarts has consulted with more than 300 of the Fortune 500 companies, trained more than 900,000 people worldwide and been named by Inc. magazine as one of the fastest-growing companies in America for eight consecutive years. www.vitalsmarts.com
Note to editor: Author Joseph Grenny is available for interviews. Copies of "Crucial Conversations" are available upon request.
About the research: The study collected responses via an online survey tool from 2,698 individuals in February of 2013. Margin of error is approximately 2 percent.
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