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Building confidence in using online forums
Building confidence in using online forums

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6 Keeping the conversation going – replying to other people

So far, in Session 3, you have considered:

  • planning your own initial post
  • starting a new discussion yourself.

Next, you will look at strategies to help you reply to other people effectively. This is an important part of keeping the conversation going. As with the other two aspects, it usually needs some pre-planning and thought. The next activity looks at how this is done in a face-to-face context.

Activity 5 Identifying ‘signals’ in face-to-face conversation

Timing: Allow about 5 minutes

A key part of any face-to-face conversation is listening. People often use verbal and non-verbal ‘signals’ to show that they are listening to the other speaker in a conversation. Read the short conversation below and highlight any examples of verbal or non-verbal ‘signals’.

  • Identify verbal signals in yellow
  • Identify non-verbal signals in green
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You might have noticed the following signals:

  • monosyllabic responses (‘Hmm’)
  • short phrases (‘I guess so’)
  • non-verbal signals (nodding)
  • facial gestures (raises eyebrows).

These types of behaviour can tell you something about the feelings and views of both the speaker and the listener. But, of course, this is more problematic if the conversation isn’t face-to-face. In this case, you have to think carefully about how you use written language in response to other people.

In the next section, you will look at strategies which can help to keep online conversations going. First, you will look at an example of how using ‘yes, and …’ works on an online learning forum.