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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies. How about you?
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I'm the only person responsible for its content and the views and opinions expressed here are solely mines.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

The rocket science of a good Skype conversation, or how not to forget the human being on the other side of the line...

To me, Skype is one of the best inventions ever.
It makes it possible to communicate with everyone provided with an Internet-connection almost everywhere in the world in a very convenient, easy and pleasant way. In real-time. At almost no cost. With a webcam, if needed or desired. Just awesome, right?

Yes. And yet, communication via Skype can also be a thorn in one's side.

Let's imagine a pretty mundane scenario: you are online, logged in on Skype, you are maybe working or reading an article or listening to a wonderful playlist or doing something else and at the same time you are chatting with someone, and then...

The conversation slows down. The other person needs more and more time to get back to you, the answers become shorter and maybe sloppier and then... the person just stops to reply. At all. Let's say... for hours.
And suddenly the person goes offline without saying a word.

Neither a "Have a nice day", nor an "I am leaving", or even just a "Good night" or "Bye". Or whatever. Nothing. Nix. Rien. Nada. Nichts. Niente di niente.
How would you react?

[Historic Skype Purple image in rétro style...
Version 0.90, so loooong time ago!]

Please don't get me wrong, let's be clear about the matter.
Of course, something can go wrong. Of course, the person can experience some kind of problem or they can suddenly need to go away or to get focused on something/someone else.
Emergencies happen, as well. And for sure each of us has a bad day or got attitude, once in a while, right?
But what if this is the "normal" scenario? What if this happens on a regular basis, if not almost every time, while talking to that person?

What if the other person does it without even noticing it?
Would you keep talking to them, if you are free to decide for yourself about this matter? (while meaning that the person is not a colleague, or even worse your boss or your landlord or your teacher)

Maybe I am a little bit old-fashioned, but I consider a Skype conversation being like an "in-person" conversation.
This means that, while talking on Skype, I will be nice and polite. I will pay attention to my language and above all to what the other person is saying/writing. I will take the time to say/write the name of the person properly.

I will inform the person if I am going to be away from keyboard for longer than 15 minutes and for sure I will say that I am leaving when I am going to leave.
At the end, I will thank my interlocutor for their time or say that I enjoyed the conversation, if this is the case. I will appreciate the good tips I got or think about the suggestions induced by the conversation and will let the person know about this, afterward.

I don't consider it rocket science.
I consider it part of a respectful human interaction between people happy to talk each other and aware of the fact that someone's time is a wonderful gift and that a good conversation is priceless. Something to be thankful for.

I like to treat people how I want to be treated on my part.
I like to make people feel good while talking to me.
I like to enjoy the time together and to make the best out of it, it doesn't matter if the conversation is about work or it is a private one.
It doesn't matter if it is in person, or via Skype or via another communication channel.

The secret of a respectful conversation? To me, it is very easy.
While communicating, one should never forget that each time, for each conversation, there is another human being on the other side of the table or of the computer screen or of the phone or of the "Skype line". With needs, expectations, and dreams. With feelings and fears.

What about you?
How strict are you about Skype netiquette?

Tags: Skype, Skype conversation, Skype netiquette, Virtual communication

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Slices of farinata, flirting in another language and grammatical uncertainty, or being happy to living as an expat while missing 7 things about Italy

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