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My employer often contacts me on chat and explains me what the next project is about. He does most of the talking, I just sometimes ask questions and throw in the occasional "okay" and "sure". These words get awkwardly repetitive in longer conversations and I'm looking for some other terms of acknowledgement.

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That's one of the problems of computer mediated communication. There's no paralanguage: no nodding of the head, no 'mmm', no gestures. I think you just have to carry on with your okays and sures and any variations you can think of. Emoticons are fine for informal use, but you probably don't want to use them with your employer. – Barrie England Dec 29 '11 at 22:35
This is more of a problem of the speaker, imo. He needs to learn to trust that you're listening. In fact, isn't it a bit insulting that he would assume you're not listening to him? I doubt you need to do this at all... – tenfour Dec 29 '11 at 22:38
They are called "Verbal Nods". It could be a simple hmmm to words like yes, got it,I understand and etc. – Apoorva Dec 30 '11 at 6:59
up vote 5 down vote accepted

Yes, right, I see, understood, yep, certainly, of course, definitely, ok, OK, indeed, quite, go on... or just nothing.

If this is all typed in IM and not spoken out loud, you might not need to acknowledge as much for longer chunks unless there's something you don't understand.

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