Once social or professional connections are established, a way to communicate should be mutually identified between all parties. The type of communication channel (verbal, written or non-verbal) determines the success and sustainability of the connection. An effective communication channel helps to maintain a bi-directional exchange of information and ideas as well as to foster community building. While electronic mail (or email) is the most commonly used communication channel, the most effective way to communicate is determined by various factors such as usability, audience size (individual or group); demographic (age, gender, etc); content (type and size); and existing channels in use.

Scenario to avoid: “Two individuals meet and discover that they both want to start a focus group for youth. Ideas were shared; no follow-up plans shared. Months later, they meet again and had the following exchange… “I texted you!” with the response… “I don’t text! I did not know how to reach you!” An opportunity to collaborate was missed (or rather delayed) because an effective communication channel had not been mutually established.

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