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14.1: Introduction to Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) and Speaking Online

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    The world of technology is constantly evolving and reaching every aspect of our lives and public speaking is no different. We now communicate just as much online as we do in person. In the Communication discipline we refer to speaking through mediated platforms (Zoom, Instagram, online dating apps, texting, etc.) as “computer mediated communication” or CMC. It is important to differentiate between these channels and face-to-face (F2F) because of the difference in communicative skills needed for each channel. When communicating F2F, the message is richer; meaning, we can see the person’s body language, pick up subtle cues, and there is no delay in receiving messages. When communicating through mediated channels, we may miss out on body language, cues, and even through video messaging, there may be a delay or interruption. As a public speaker you need to be aware of how your presentation will change depending on the medium through which you are communicating.

    If you were a student during 2020, you were part of the huge shift to online learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only were students and educators forced to move their classes online, but many businesses and employees went remote and had to adapt to doing their job through a computer screen. Although communicating online is not new, it certainly gained more importance and became our main channel of communication during this time. Now that communication technologies like, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime, and many others, became the new norm for how students, teachers, and employees communicated during the pandemic, this technology shows no sign of leaving our communicative practices. Even though some classes and businesses transitioned or will transition back to face-to-face communication, many have opted to keep communicating through these technologies. Therefore, it is important for students to not only be comfortable presenting in-person but also across mediated platforms. These skills will not only help if you are in an online class, but also in the workforce, as this seems to be the future of doing business. In the following paragraphs, we will discuss the similarities and differences between public speaking F2F and through CMC and how to give a successful presentation via mediated technologies.

    14.1: Introduction to Computer Mediated Communication (CMC) and Speaking Online is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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