Without a Nod or a Wink: Workplace Skills in Interpersonal Computer-Mediated Communication

Pamela Weatherill, Edith Cowan University Part of CW12

Interpersonal communication as a central workplace skill is well established. The skills required to effectively create and maintain these relationships shift however, when the communication takes place via computers (including tablets, laptops and smart phones). Workplaces often struggle with issues around digital communication technology, simply due to a lack of reflective skills building in areas such as evaluation of messages, paralinguistic text construction, reading non-linear messages and more simply developing an effective online voice. In many workplaces relationships are created and maintained with staff, virtual teams, customers, management and suppliers almost solely with text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC). While the use of SMS, chat software, email, discussion boards, wikis and social media are common place for relationship building in both personal and professional settings, there has been little reflection regarding the micro skills required to do this effectively in the workplace. This presentation focuses particularly on the skills sets and micro skills of interpersonal CMC required of tertiary graduates when they enter the workforce.

As part of a larger research project, this presentation focuses on feedback from employers of tertiary graduates across the 17 ANZSIC industry codes, and a review of relevant literature, to establish a model outlining the skills, and micro skills required for effective interpersonal CMC. With the intention being for use by online curriculum developers, the research has culminated in a comprehensive review of the generic graduate employability skills, and parallel skills required by graduate students – or indeed any professional in the workplace.

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